Posted by: Subway Conductor | August 17, 2009

July 2009

President Obama, in his Cairo speech, spoke eloquently about the Holocaust.  He stated emphatically that those who deny the Holocaust are wrong.  But, I find the president’s remarks troubling.  His argument is that the Jews have a right to a state because six million Jews were exterminated in Europe.

What is the harm in the President’s claim? The problem is that it is the position of our enemies. When Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University, he was questioned about his denial of the Holocaust.  He responded that even if there were a Holocaust, why should the Palestinians pay the price for a European sin? We might ask ourselves, why is Ahmadinejad interested in the question of whether the Holocaust is a fact or not.  His concern for this question is premised precisely on his understanding that the Holocaust is the source of the legitimization of the State of Israel in the minds of some people.  There have been other anti-Semites over the years who have claimed that the Holocaust was a hoax perpetrated by the Jews in order to secure the sympathy of the world for the establishment of Israel.

But I do not believe that any Israeli or Jew would make the claim that the Holocaust is the reason for the existence of Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to the President’s remarks in a speech of his own.  He stated emphatically that the Jewish People have a historic right to the Land of Israel because it is the land of our forefathers.  It is where we were formed as a people and it is where the greatest events in our history took place.  Netanyahu brilliantly said, “It is not true that were it not for the Holocaust the State of Israel wouldn’t exist. But, if the State of Israel had existed, there would not have been a Holocaust.”  The president is also incorrect in his history.  The Zionist movement began in the 1880’s and 90’s well before World War II. The Jews had established many of the institutions of Israel in the 1920?s and 30?s.

The president has bought the argument that it is only Jewish suffering that gives us a right to a state of our own.  But the words of “Hatikvah?” the national anthem of Israel, put the case succinctly; “Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost: To be a free people in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

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