And yet more musings on Israel, Holocaust, Zionism, and world peace

So I think that I might be loosing my sensitivity about the Holocaust.  I need to check that, because I do not want to come across as someone who doesn’t understand how truly awful the deliberate and scientific persecution of Jews (and gypsys and gays) was.

But, I keep thinking about trying to value all life equally, and that the way we (the generations since the Holocaust) think about the Holocaust is too singular. Meaning, that we need to be more angry about current genocidal practices than past ones. When I say we should move towards forgiveness, I by no means think that we should forget the Holocaust. I mean, I am a historian so I obviously think it is incredibly important to remember our shared past, which includes some of the darkest acts possible by fellow human beings. In stead of talking about the politics of how we remember the Holocaust, maybe we should learn from it. And by learning from it I don’t mean perpetuating the idea that there is evil in this world and that Jews are not safe unless they are armed with nuclear weapons. I don’t mean that Anti-Semitism in our  (global) history is too omnipresent for there ever to be an era of newfound good feelings and mutual respect among religions and ethnicities. I just am looking towards the perhaps unrealistic idea that there can be a new world order with mutual respect amongst everyone. 


The situation in the Middle East is intolerable, just as the situation in Germany and greater Europe in the 1930s and 40s. We (global community) did not do enough then. Maybe back then the answer would have been more public outcry, less appeasement and isolationism, and yes perhaps more military action against Nazi aggression. Today, I do not think that the answer is in military action. The threat of nuclear and biochemical weapons is too great, we cannot afford to use violence to solve any problems anymore. 

So what does that leave us? Diplomacy, World Courts and International Laws, and Education. I think the lesson of Vietnam can be that you cannot win over hearts and minds with nepalm. The lesson of Iraq is that preemptive war does not bring peace, and the lesson of Iran is that interventionism has blowback effects and that when there are countries that have paternalistic and imperialistic ideas on how to run the world, the people of the world suffer.

The situation in Gaza right now is a tragedy, and not just for those living there, but for Jews all over the world. The Jewish identity is being dragged into a war that MANY do not support. By doing research, one can find countless groups of Jews who organize with each other and with Muslim groups to advocate for the end of the occupation. By doing even more research one can find evidence of the contraversy over the Zionist state in Israel. It was not supported by all Jews and a incredible propaganda movement was unleashed to convert American Jews to the idea that there had to be a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

The history of the modern world has unfolded often tragically, especially for the Jewish people. But now that Jews have a degree of political and economic power, it is time to show the world what good they can do for world peace. 

May an era of forgiveness, justice, and peace be in our future.


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    littleriver said,

    Good comments but I don’t think one can really say they have covered this topic in depth unless they’ve gone back to the battle of Beth Horon and it’s aftermath and reveal who coined the phrase “Palestine”. One then needs to bring in relevant information related to the fall of the Roman Empire, the Rise of Islam, the specific battles that stopped Islamic expansionism (e.g. Tours, Battle of Vienna 1529, Baghdad 1257, etc., etc.), the Turkish occupation (e.g. the Ottoman Empire), the coining of the word “holocaust” (it happened in London during the reign of King Richard the Lionhear), and then the final fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rebirth of Islam in the 50’s and 60’s as it learned the value of it’s petroleum.

    What you’ve covered here is shallow and unconvincing. Go back to about 66AD and work through relevant history from there on and I think you can make this blog a lot more interesting.

  2. 2

    Lynn said,

    Becky, this is absolutely wonderful. It made me cry! So well thought out and written. I am very proud of you! LV

  3. 3

    beckyluz said,

    um…littleriver… why don’t you go back to 66 AD? I’m doing fine where I am thank you very much

    and mom- thank you, I am trying really hard to challenge my beliefs and synthesize what it is i do believe

  4. 4

    mickyuback said,

    Hi Becky.

    I appreciated your blog and I think the remarks of “littleriver” were out of line and condescending. I live in Jerusalem.. have for a long time and have many friends in the IDF, many who were in Gaza.

    You are so right, this is a horrible situation.. a no-win one for Israel in the sense that no matter how it comes out, people die, lives are devastated and they get blamed for it all in the end. It’s so hard to get a handle on all this from a human perspective.

    I listened to an Israeli officer.. we sat together last week in Shiloh. His men were preparing for a mission.. he told me of the deep concern the normal Israeli soldier had and compared the invasion of Russia into Georgia. There were thousands slaughtered.. left homeless.. women were raped men were tortured.. yet, little was said in the media.. certainly not to the magnitude Israel is condemned. He said that contrary to what the world thinks, an Israeli soldier would not do such things. In fact, they are always striving to protect the innocent, as much as possible in a war.

    It has to be said over and over or it gets lost… Hamas is to blame! They are a ruthless terrorist organization, full of hatred, using the innocent women and children of Gaza as a shield. They are singularly and totally to blame for this past horror and devastation in Gaze. Not many have considered what they did to their own people.. killing, torturing and maiming over 120 Fatah members.. adding them to the casualty list, blaming Israel. They are masterminds at turning the media attention away from themselves and against Israel, blaming and constantly lying.

    So, what are people to think… many don’t know.. they don’t live here, they haven’t gone through it.. they glean from the media and formulate opinions based on bias… sadly, Israel is terrible with public relations. Has Israel made mistakes.. sure.. many! However, people need to remember, Israel left Gaza… uprooted hundreds of Jewish families, many who are still struggling to this day to just live here.

    The only reason Israel went back there is the intolerable shelling (6000 rockets in 3 years) that has totally disrupted the lives of the tens of thousands of Israelis in cities around Gaza. People who just want to live a peaceful existence. I just wonder what the US would do if 6000 rockets came flying from Canada onto their soil. We know really… yet, Israel isn’t allowed to protect her citizens, according to world opinion, that is.

    Hamas is to blame and they won’t stop till they kill every Israeli possible, therefore, Israel must protect its citizens, despite world opinion.

    Anyway, my dear Becky.. I see you are struggling with all this, just like me… just keep an open heart and don’t be too swayed at what you hear. May Ha Shem watch over you.


  5. 5

    littleriver said,

    If you aren’t interested in history Becky then you shouldn’t use the category.

    Sadly those who don’t take time to learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat it and that’s kind of what’s happening in your article and in the Middle East right now.

    If you really think the problems in the middle east are due to the “rest of the world” (which means the United States) not doing enough then you should be using a category like “Calling all Islamo Jihadis” or something like that.

    Your readership would then start expanding with the kind of people who agree with your observations.

  6. 6

    beckyluz said,

    Micky- Thank you for your comment. I appreciate so much people who talk openly, honestly, and earnestly about their beliefs and experiences.

    It is amazing how someone can make the argument that Israel has to defend itself in a way that pushes people away, and someone can make the same argument but with a degree of compassion and self-reflection and it makes the argument all the more compelling.

    I really want to go to Israel this summer and see for myself what it is people are talking about and experiencing in Israel, and Palestine.

    I think that Hamas needs to be dissolved, I just don’t think violence is going to be the solution with this one. I could be wrong. We all could be wrong, who knows….

    But I would say this, Israel left Palestine but still had for all practical purposes not relenquished any real control with the blockade.

    This is my question for you Micky, what are your thoughts and feelings on the upcoming election? What do you think it will mean for Gazans if Netanyahu gets elected? For Israelis?

    And LittleRiver… I am obviously interested in History, and yes I suppose I am more concerned with modern history, maybe you should start a blog on ancient history because you obviously feel a void in that department. The learning of history is a lifelong process, I could hardly be done at 26. People cannot ‘learn the lessons of history’ in a sitting, it is a endeavor that can never be completed, and I would say that those who believe that it can be learned in a finite amount of time, are not really taking the time to truly understand the complexities of the past. I am not a historian to know trivia, I am a historian to explore the past so that I may better find value and understanding of today. And perhaps some day my inquiry will shift to the more distant past, but right now my scholarly pursuits are in the long 20th century.

  7. 7

    mickyuback said,

    Dear Becky:

    I certainly hope you can come to Israel. There is more “history” here per square inch, I suppose, than any place on earth. To me, the best history book is the Bible, I do hope you bring that along with you.

    Your question is a difficult one to answer regarding the coming elections. Mr. Netanyahu is one of the more articulate leaders this country has seen. He came to prominence during the first Gulf War as the Governmental Spokesman. As the scuds were flying over head, you can imagine the turmoil and fear in the country. He had such a calming effect and was able to get to the center of the subjects he was describing at the time.

    for Gazans, if Mr. Netanyahu becomes PM again, and fulfills his promise to take Hamas down, it will be something like cancer surgery, invasive and painful. Sadly, in the process of removing Hamas, there will be people, innocent people, who will lose their lives. But, if they are not removed.. the people there and in Israel will continue to suffer terribly for a long period of time.

    I must say again, the fault for all of this mayhem lies at the doorstep of Hamas. They are a blight on Gaza. Just this past week they ambushed a UN convoy of aid, and raided one the the UNs warehouses… stealing aid that was to go to over 500 people. Finally, the UN has stated they will not send any more aid into Gaza. Israel has known that aid coming into Gaza would only fall into the hands of Hamas who sells what the steal on a black market there. These murderers are nothing more than a mob holding the people of Gaza hostage, whatever their “religious” claim.

    Yet, Israel, knowing what Hamas would do, has stopped some of the so-called aid shipments in the open sea. As a consequence they are presented by the Media as ruthless, blood-thirsty and unmoved by human suffering. To the contrary, Israel desires to free the people of Gaza.

    If Netanyahu becomes the Prime Minister and does take Hamas down… you will see, the Israel troops will withdraw and let Gaza rule Gaza once the accomplish the task of removing these terrorists.

    Becky, it is such a complicated issue and heart rending to say the least. Sadly, the options have narrowed, political compromise has been swept from the table by Hamas. When your opponent has one goal, to kill you or die trying to kill you… what do you do with that?

    Thank you for your comments and the discussion.

    One more final comment to “littleriver,” I’m puzzled that you feel the necessity to comment at all. Apparently you are a historian in your own right… and that is fine, however, as an educator your position should be one of leading and not chiding. Perhaps you don’t mean to come across as arrogant, but your words to Becky have that air about them. We all can certainly learn from each other… if we will listen more than talk. If I am wrong about your presentation here, please forgive me.


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