Inhumanity

Okay, I have no idea why suing Caterpillar makes any sense, even in context, but this makes me mad. When the Israeli Justice Minister Tommy Lapid attacked home demolitions being conducted by the army, what did his opponents do? They complained that he was comparing the Israeli Army to the Nazis.

“The demolition of houses in Rafah must stop,” he said. “It is not humane, not Jewish, and causes us grave damage in the world. At the end of the day, they’ll kick us out of the United Nations, try those responsible in the international court in The Hague, and no one will want to speak to us.”

The sad thing is, he’s right. Most of the world thinks this is illegal and criminal; if Israel hasn’t noticed, its own friend in the world is America. This is not simply because the Jews are a persecuted people—after all, the bulk of global anti-Semitism is anti-Arab, except (of course) among Arabs.

To me, this sounds suspiciously like playing the Holocaust card. The Holocaust was perhaps (as far as I can recall) both quantitatively and qualitatively the worst horror ever perpetrated on humans by other humans. Worse than slavery, worse than other oppression, and numerically exponentially worse than other (recorded) genocides.

Now, there’s something else to consider. Lapid is the only Holocaust survivor who is a part of the current Israeli government, states the article. The man saw what the rest of the government only talks about, or uses politically.

As for me, it looks as if the Holocaust is being used, as a diversion enabling a lesser evil to continue, which sickens me even further. I’m not an expert in Israeli politics, but I know that I’m wary of any repeated mention of past sufferings when discussing the legality or morality of an action in the present, especially when it seems tangential as it does here.

It’s not as if the Israeli Army, like any army, could never descend to horrific inhumanity in some situations. Canadian soldiers in Rwanda Somalia (Thanks for the correction, Jean-Louis, I can’t believe it I was that mixed up this afternoon), anyone? And Canada isn’t even an ethnic/religious state! So, well, good for the Israelis: they’re not shoveling Palestinians into the ovens and gassing them. Is that the watermark for just, ethical conduct, then? “As long as it’s not as bad as Hitler, it’s okay”?

UPDATE: Note to self: I need to blog less, and check my posts over.

4 thoughts on “Inhumanity

  1. Hi Gord,

    As far as I know there were none or very few Canadian soldiers in Rwanda, apart from General Dallaire and a couple of aides. Also, those who were in Rwanda during the genocide did all they could with no ressources (Bosnia being more important). Did you by any chance mean Somalia? If you did , please edit your post, because whatever evil Canadian individual soldiers did in Somalia, I don’t like seeing it associated to the organised atrocities commited in Rwanda.

  2. Thanks for the correction, Jean-Louis. It was a silly mistake. I’ve been thinking a lot about genocides and “organized atrocities” and I suspect that’s why Rwanda popped out. But it’s as stupid as claiming that the Boxers’ Rebellion happened in Vietnam. Glad you caught what I didn’t…

  3. Yeah, well I’ve been reading Dallaire’s “I Shook Hands With the Devil”. It’s depressing, but at least the Canadians that were there did their best to prevent the genocide.

  4. I’m sure it’s deeply depressing.

    Sometimes I wish that John Brunner’s solution to hatred in Stand on Zanzibar were possible: if only there were a gene for cooperativeness, a synthesizable pheremone for being decent to one another.

    Though I suppose it would not be used on all of us. The military uses would be scary. I don’t know the Dallaire book, but I think I shall have to do some more research online on the subject.

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