So, what did we learn from the Holocaust? Nothing.

Israel is the only country that hasn’t learnt a single lesson from Nazism and its implications. On the very day it was born, the state of the banished and dispossessed became a dispossessing thieving state. Those discriminated against became the discriminators; victims of pogroms became the perpetrators of more pogroms. Those who survived being trampled because they weren’t the master race became those who trampled others who weren’t the chosen people.

The Palestine Project

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By B MichaelTranslated by Keren Rubinstein

What have we learned? We’ve learnt nothing, not a thing. Not one humane value, not a single moral or ethical principle, not one legislative insight. Nothing.

Of all the countries that self-define as enlightened democracies, Israel is the only one that hasn’t learnt a single lesson from Nazism and its implications. Except, of course, for a deep understanding of being the victim, being hard done by, as well as condescending, whiney and self-righteous. Other countries learned before the Holocaust, and more so in its aftermath, about what a country ought to do: consolidate human rights, prohibit racism, enforce equality, legislate to protect democracy, erect an iron wall between religious institutions and the state (and more).

Even those dictating the rules of war took away some lessons from the horrors of WWII and Nazism: having to define the debt owed to the occupied by the occupier. Passing laws to protect the uninvolved population. Establish courts dedicated to trying war crimes. New crimes were also defined. For instance, after Nazis built settlements in occupied Poland for the dispossession, looting, and eventually annexation of the territory by the Reich, it was finally determined that settlement in occupied territory is a war crime. Apartheid also became a crime against humanity (once again, there are more examples).

Only in Israel: nada. Nothing. Zilch. Such principles and values, the absence of which created the Nazi monster and its empowerment, are deemed redundant nonsense in Israel. Equality? Goodness no. An explicit prohibition on racism? Not needed. It’s enough to forbid incitement to racism, but we won’t forbid racism itself. We hold it dear to our hearts. Equal rights for all humans without discrimination on the grounds of religion, gender and background? No way. Equal marriage rights for all? God forbid! Even the Nuremberg Laws are too vanilla for us. We will dig infinitely into your heritage if you want to build a family, or come knocking at our gates. Laws to protect democracy? Separation of state from religion? A progressive democratic constitution? No thanks. This will just disrupt the coalition.

And so, unburdened by any lesson it may have learned from its own calamity, the banished folk erected a state, and set out immediately to banish hundreds of thousands of people from their land and take away all their worldly possessions. On the very day it was born, the state of the banished and dispossessed became a dispossessing thieving state. The hunted became the hunters. Those discriminated against became the discriminators; victims of pogroms became the perpetrators of more pogroms. Those who survived being trampled because they weren’t the master race became those who trampled others who weren’t the chosen people. And those persecuted for their faith became persecutors in the name of their faith.

Nowadays, as everyone is outraged by nearly 40,000 people whose blood has been shed like it’s water, the state of refugees keeps mum. It gasps at those who are angry, and doesn’t understand why it is so. Offended, it asks, ”what did we do?”

And then, as though especially for Holocaust Day, one particularly despicable minister calls for ”total annihilation ” of two cities and a refugee camp that currently house over a million people. It is as though this comes just in time to highlight that we’ve learnt absolutely nothing from the Holocaust.

Yesterday we took time to think about the victims. We shed a warm tear and complained bitterly about our longstanding ally, antisemitism, which again has reared its ugly head, ready to be deployed to justify any and all cruel conduct, and to hide all the corpses in our wake. And just as the commemoration day concluded, we hastened to go right back to dispossess and disinherit, racially oppress and discriminate, carry out pogroms, and defile lands. And so it will be until next year’s Holocaust Day.

No, we haven’t really left the shtetl. We just changed our roles in it. This time we’re not the Jews. We’re the boss.

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