Mahmoud Abbas and Olaf Scholz during the press conference in Berlin. Photograph: Wolfgang Kumm/AP

Olaf Scholz, I am disgusted by your words

NOTE: Most Hebrew Haaretz regular columnists get translated and published in the English edition, week in week out. But the paper has chosen to make an exception and not publish an English version of this important article by Odeh Bisharat. Its importance is also being a Palestinian voice regarding the recent Holocaust comment by Abbas, which was covered extensively from one side in the Israeli media.

By Odeh Bisharat (Translated by Sol Salbe)

29 August 2022

Why am I disgusted by the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz? Because he is a coward. Scholz knows, more than most people, the history of his country and is intimately familiar with what the former Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff [Yair Golan] called “the horrific processes that took place in Germany 70–80 years ago, the remnants of which are now taking place in the State of Israel”. Scholtz forebears carried out the Holocaust but instead of uttering even one true word about the “horrific processes” now taking place in the state of Israel, he shuts his eyes and gets caught by an unfortunate statement by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

If Scholz had not been fainthearted, he would have said to the leaders of Israel: It is my duty as a friend and as a scion of the nation that has unleashed a terrible Holocaust on you to ring the bells with all my might, otherwise it will be too late. And it is already starting to be too late. I turn to you as a member of a nation with overabundance of bitter experience, unfortunately, a nation that in the ‘thirties lost its brakes, and instead pressed as hard as it could on the accelerator of blind nationalism, murderous racism and feelings of superiority. At first it was exciting, but the end it turned out to be a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, when rivers of blood flowed in Europe and the world; The blood of our sons and daughters and the blood of many peoples, chief among them the Jewish people.

And he would go on to say: Recently I heard a wise saying in Arabic, yes the Arabs — your brother Arabs, the descendants of Shem, which goes: A good friend is the one who tells you the truth, not what you want to hear. And the truth is, you are in a very bad situation. Haven’t you noticed that you already have a fascist party for which the polls predict about nine seats, a party that advocates the expulsion of Arabs and carries the banner of racial supremacy, and even worse — the leader of the largest party in your country, Benjamin Netanyahu, expresses sympathy and even worked for the unification of its factions into a single electoral formation. Pay attention, you are degenerating into fascism at record speed, and you are already deeply immersed in the swamp of Apartheid.

And what begins with others continues within. Your country is moving into an era of the destruction of the rule of law. Gangs have already taken over public space in the Occupied Territories and especially in Area C, and slowly they are also taking over the public space in the cities inside Israel. Look at what is happening in the centre of Jerusalem, and the police are not lifting a finger. Doesn’t that remind you of something? I have to tell you: we had already been in this movie.

And he would add: God forbid that I should compare what is happening in any country in the world today with what happened in our country back then. After all, there is no crime that compares to the crimes of Nazism. But without comparisons, even if they are feeble, we don’t learn from history. And when we said “never again”, we didn’t just mean crimes on the scale that the Nazis committed, because there is no such thing today, and I hope there won’t be in the future either. The intention was to uproot the roots of the evil of that poison tree that sprouted in our country.

That’s why I have to tell you, without comparing, that we also had a tiny cuckoo party, and many laughed and said that it was a caricature that should be ignored. But a few years later — we copped it.

And Scholz would conclude: I object to Abbas’s outrageous comparison, when he said that the Palestinians have experienced 50 holocausts. But the obvious question here is, why does a moderate leader, like Abbas, who strongly opposed the armed struggle, come to such a statement? You must ask yourself: what has been your contribution to this? A wise person looks for the causes before they talk about the results. And the reasons all point to Israel’s conduct: Its arrogance, the blindness that afflicts its leaders. Look there for the roots of Abbas’s statement that his people, following the Nakba, are scattered around the world, and are suffocating from your siege in Gaza and the Occupied Territories. By the way, you should learn and memorise the saying: “Don’t blame the victim”.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store