The trains, the cattle cars, rolling down the tracks towards Auschwitz and the other camps did not have separate quarters. The same place setting in hell saw right and left, religious and secular.People like Matisse’s wife, Catholic converts like Jacob Frank, and old pious jews were all going up the same smokestack. When you see Jewish religious settlers in the West bank attacked by the army and anti-globalists being beaten by riot police it becomes apparent that there are fewer contradictions in unity through diversity than seems ostensibly apparent.
There was something written once by martin Buber on the the absurdity of hearing German children singing anti-semitic songs outside his house in sweet voices as if in church reciting psalms to the harp of King David. It was incomprehensible. How an advanced society could become so pathologically twisted. Its Holocaust remembrance day, and like all the war memorials the West had erected after WWI it did little to blunt the force of part II. which invokes the possibility of jews getting a second shit kicking to finish what the first chapter failed to conclude. You never know.
As Norman Finkelstein wrote, there is no shortage of holocaust literature. He is correct in stating that the unscrupulous have made it an industry, but nonetheless it informs the survivors and their descendents and the Jewish nation with a trauma that will endure much longer. What what value is there really to pontificate on finding lessons in this event? In thinking about it, we tend to take it to a place that is comfortable which is part of the problem. Articulation as palliative. The only simple and irrefutable lesson is that the West has turned off the gas, but the structure still remains. And it may even indirectly maintain them. After all ,the recognition of Israel had no practical implications. Basically attacked from day one. It seemed the West was waiting for the Arabs to take over the heavy lifting and finish the dirty deed, but the developing IDF almost miraculously stopped the stronger and better equipped Arab armies. The commander Yigal Alon pulled off some brilliant moves and ended up chasing the Egyptian army across the desert.
Despite my bias against Zionism which is basically a catastrophe, credit is due to keeping the nation together and defeating superior forces in the face of immense challenges. After the 1948 war, Britain menaced that if the IDF would not retreat, it would consider an invasion.America under Truman put the screws to use and that has been the essential template since. When Jews are in danger drag your feet and when they are winning as in 1973 pressure them to stop. Sad but true. They are beholden to Western values, but somehow there has been a disconnect and as Slavoj Zizek made clear, the old hoary phantoms of Heidegger and Hannah Arendt are still poking at Jewish corpses with a hot iron to see if the jaws of the dead reflex still function; a deep fear of resurrection on their behalf:
( see link at end) …in realizing their goal without disobeying the letter of the Law, they do not feel any guilt.” Typically for Zizek, after stating this malignant anti-Jewish stereotype, he performs a dialectical reversal–not by denying that it is true, which would be the decent and accurate response, but by advising Christians to imitate this Jewish inability to feel guilt (“far from being ‘the religion of guilt,’ the Jewish religion precisely enables us to avoid guilt–it is Christianity that manipulates guilt much more effectively”).
Zizek’s most repellent expression of this idea is the one I quoted from In Defense of Lost Causes, where Zizek writes, “The only true solution to the ‘Jewish question’ is the ‘final solution’ (their annihilation), because Jews qua objet a are the ultimate obstacle to the ‘final solution’ of History itself.” Now he says that I have misunderstood his text, that in this passage he is not explicating Alain Badiou (to whom the book is dedicated). I understand that for a man who writes as much as Zizek, it may be hard to keep track of everything one has written; but if he would consult page 5 of In Defense of Lost Causes, he will find that what he actually says is this: Read More:http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/disputations-still-the-most-dangerous-philosopher-the-west?page=1
Maybe the time is approaching when Jews will have to choose whether they are willing to put their eggs into the basket of enlightenment, the same West as Zizek shills for from the Left, happy to discard the Jewish problem subsumed into the larger Israel problem. Pressuring Israel into giving up land in exchange for terror, at least to this point. The pullout from Gush Katif ( Gaza) also meant the sacrifice of other towns such as Sderot which has become a target range for weapons smuggled in from Egypt in violation of that peace agreement. So why should Jews trust their fate to the West, even though they view themselves as an inseparable part of the world, there is an intrinsic awkwardness with the pagan and Hellenic circus so central to its culture. Today Israel is stronger than in 1948, and so are the Jewish people; the six million now in Israel is a symbolic watershed, a Zizekian less than vacant signifier that rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated. The problem is that today, Israel’s mental softness invites invasion. We can pooh-pah Israel’s insecurity about Iran, but their dream, the core value, imperialistic of a greater Islam, to reconquer Europe is probably not idle chatter. Sam Huntington’s clash of civilizations, is probably closer to reality than we care to acknowledge.
Ultimately though, we have to reject all the endless theological explanations for the Holocaust. Maybe its just ego and cruelty, sadism, to posit some form of reason for the death of millions. Its downright idiotic to engage in the pretense of hacking away at an explanation cute and tidy enough to fit inside the limited boundaries of human reason to explain a horror of such proportions.there are subjects that lie outside the finite capacity of the individual.The atheists can rationalize the event to death, and he religious will say its not their duty to justify god on what happened, only god can answer for it. The most fundamental Jewish belief in this, the only acceptable answer, would be an immediate and total redemption that would eternally banish evil from our realm and bring to light all the goodness and perfection of god’s creation. Should they be killed off slowly until they produce the goods?
Evidently, plenty have argued with much success that the Holocaust disproved god’s existence and any providential nature he may have harbored. The contrarian argument is that the Holocaust has clearly disproven and discredited any possible faith in human created and based morality. They have a point. And dying with shema Y’isroel, the lord our god the lord is one on their lips speaks of a deep conviction even though a Chris Hitchens might be cramped over from laughing so hard. In the early twentieth-century, Europe, it was the German nation who were the standard bearers for culture, science and philosophy yet were the dupes perpetuating the atrocities. Go figure. If nothing else, the Holocaust reaffirmed to the authentically religious that a moral and civilized society is an actualized potential only through belief and acceptance of Divine authority., since secular authority is so capricious and uncertain.
But what of the anger and outrage, the vehemence to god over what transpired? The atheistic claim is also an attestation to belief and faith in the goodness that did not manifest itself; a faith that if not possessed would not give rise to the outrage. More blind fate than faith, and a frustration at not comprehending the seemingly random arrangement of quirks and quarks that constitute the universe. Maybe it comes down to a conviction that right must and will ultimately be victorious although the proverbial wheels of justice turn slow indeed, humankind despite its efforts, has progressed, but Moses’s cry is still an echo in the ear of all the freedom seekers, those striving for emancipation and release from slavery, ” Why my god have you done such evil to your people?”
( see link at end)…Even here, I would suggest a logical progression, one which came to fruition in what might be called “closure.” Because from the earliest days, from the 4th century, 5th century, 6th century, the missionaries of Christianity had said, in effect, to the Jews, “You may not live among us as Jews.” The secular rulers who followed them from the late Middle Ages had then decided “You may not live among us.” And the Nazis finally decreed, “You may not live.”
Lanzman: And the three steps were – the first one was conversion . . .
Lanzmann: Followed by ghettoization?Christmas in the Death Camps
Hilberg: Expulsion. Expulsion. And the third was the “territorial solution,” which was, of course, the solution carried out within the territories under German command. (pause) Excluding immigration – death. Final Solution. And the “Final Solution, you see is really final because people who are converted can yet be, in secret, Jews; people who are expelled can yet return. But people who are dead will not reappear.
Lanzmann: In a social aspect – the last state – they were really pioneers on the … inventive …?
Hilberg: This was something unprecedented, and this was something new.Read More:http://www.beitshemtov.org/memoriam_main.html