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First they came for the communists,
but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists
and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they
came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
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|The Final Solution to the Middle East Question? - Monday, August 22, 2005
Gaza Is Now "Judenrein"
The Final Solution to the Middle East Question?
Nazis used two terms to describe the complete elimination of Jews from a place. The first was "judenfrei," or "free of Jews." The second was "judenrein," which is often translated the same, but really means "cleansed of Jews." This implies that Jews are filth that must be scrubbed away – or rubbed out.
When Palestinians object that the territory of their proposed state contains Jews, what they are really saying is that Palestine must be "judenrein," and they will continue to bomb pizzerias and school buses until they achieve their aim. And then they'll persecute and expel Christians, as they have already begun to do.
One may ask why 1.25 million Arabs, mainly Muslims, reside among 5.1 million Jews in Israel – many are citizens, and some serve in parliament. But at the same time, it is intolerable that roughly 8000 Jews remain among 1.4 million Arabs in the Gaza Strip. One may ask why Israeli Jews accept about 20 percent of Arabs living among them, while Palestinian Arabs can’t bear to have even 0.6 percent of Jews living among them.
But this is nothing new. From 1948 to 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip, and Jordan controlled the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. During these 19 years, no Jew was allowed to live in either of these areas. Residents were expelled, homes and businesses were seized, and synagogues and cemeteries were destroyed or desecrated. But the world remained silent. Again, one may ask why these areas had to be "judenrein."
One may also ask why Jordanians who moved to the West Bank during those 19 years, and Egyptians who moved to Gaza, were never called "settlers," and so-called "peace" groups never charged that they had done something "illegal." But Israeli Jews who have lived in those areas for 38 years are still "illegal settlers."
Yes, one may ask, but the answer is all too obvious: Extremist Muslims insist that the entire area of Israel must become "judenrein." When extremist Muslims, as well as the far Right and far Left in America and Europe, talk about the "occupied territories," they mean the whole State of Israel. When anti-Semites claim "the Jews stole the land," they mean all the land.
And what if the 5.1 million Jews in Israel were forced to leave? Where could they go? Would the Jews who fled persecution in Muslim lands of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or Iran be welcomed back to their ancestral homes? Are you joking?
In 1948 there were about 990,000 Jews in these nations. Now there are only about 18,700. That is, roughly 971,300 Jewish refugees were forced to flee Muslim lands, not counting their descendants. Why do critics never mention them, but complain only about Arab refugees who were displaced by Jews?
But if Muslim nations wouldn’t welcome Israeli refugees, what about Europe? Would the children of Jews who fled the Holocaust be given back their parents’ homes and businesses in France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary or Poland? Yes, you must be joking. Or would Canada, Australia or even America receive 5.1 million Jews with open arms? Not likely.
Many of these nations now have relatively open borders. Europeans complain about North Africans, Turks and Pakistanis. Americans complain about Latinos. Yet nobody does anything. But if 5.1 million Jews came knocking at the door, you would be amazed at how fast proponents of open immigration would change their minds. You would be shocked at how business and labor would come together, and Right and Left suddenly would find common ground. Algerians and Turks? Mexicans and Salvadoreans? Yes, even if reluctantly. But Jews? No way!
Is this too cynical? It happened before. At first, Hitler allowed the Jews to leave. He stated that for all he cared, they could leave on luxury liners. But with few exceptions, nobody wanted them. An international conference on refugees was held in 1938 at Evian, the source of the famous French mineral water. But the conferees failed to accomplish anything – except for drinking mineral water. And Nazi newspapers carried the accurate headline, "Nobody Wants Them."
Of course, if someone had wanted them, there would have been no Holocaust, and probably no Israel. If European Jews had been given refuge, there would now be more Jews in America, Canada, Britain, Australia and elsewhere, and fewer in the Middle East. Those who refused to take in refugees are in a poor position to complain if the remnant settled elsewhere. Those who failed to prevent a massacre are in a poor position to blame the survivors for being the source of the problem. Israel is the result of the problem, not the source.
For Muslim extremists, and for their anti-Semitic supporters in Europe and America, the answer to the Middle East question is the same as Hitler’s Final Solution to the Jewish question: the extermination of five to six million men, women and children. He wanted Europe to be "judenrein" and almost achieved his goal. They want the same result for the Middle East.
This is exemplified by the fact that Jordan and Saudi Arabia have allowed no Jews to reside there, other than diplomatic or military personnel, since these nations were founded. Imagine the cries of racism if, for example, Holland allowed no blacks, or Italy allowed no Asians. Yet here the world is silent. Apparently the concept of "judenrein" has achieved respectability.
So why is Prime Minister Sharon forcibly removing all the Jews from the Gaza Strip? Is he evacuating indefensible positions that have lost their strategic importance? Is he removing obstacles to peace? Is he giving the Palestinians a chance to show the world what kind of state they will build?
Or is Sharon calling the Palestinians’ bluff? Is he saying, "Now that you’ve got your own state, will it be peaceful and encourage us to give you land from the West Bank? Or will you fire rockets at Israel from Gaza? Will Gaza be turned into a training camp for terrorists bound for Europe and America? In that case, watch out – we’ll come for you, and world opinion can take a flying leap."
No one can read Sharon’s mind. No one can see the future. But judging by the past, making Gaza "judenrein" will only increase the terrorism, and whet the appetite of Israel’s enemies to extend "judenrein" to the entire Middle East and beyond. To paraphrase Hitler: Today Gaza, tomorrow the whole world.
If you want to understand the basis of the Middle East problem, you first have to understand the implications of the term "judenrein."
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. He may be contacted at email@example.com.