Sunday, August 22, 2010

Arafat at the Holocaust Museum

Aaron Miller revisits the idea of inviting Arafat to visit the USHMM, the Holocaust museum in Washington:
How I could have believed such an invitation would head any way but south is beyond me. Yes, the museum was a living memorial to combating racism, hatred and genocide. But did I fully grasp that I was using hallowed memory and narrative for purposes that could affront the very people I was trying to persuade? For millions, the museum was a positive and powerful symbol of not forgetting -- just as, for so many, Arafat was a symbol of anti-Semitism, violence and insensitivity. The potential conflict and misunderstanding overwhelmed any opportunity for dialogue and understanding.

And even if the visit had taken place, what would Arafat have said afterward? That he better understood the Israeli and Jewish sensibility but that they would have to understood Palestinian dispossession and suffering, too? That Israelis were perpetuating a genocide against Palestinians and demand equal time and space? The possibilities for disaster were too numerous to identify.

At the time he saw none of these obstacles. Full of best intentions, he and his bosses ran headlong into a fiasco. Not because they were stupid, but because the world is a complicated place. Making predictions is always hard, but especially about the future.


Anonymous said...

from all I've read about "park51" the most amazing to me is that what Necla Kelek keeps telling us about mosques doesn't seem to have reached the US. That she is right to warn is vindicated by the style of demo which originated from our Duisburg Mosque in connection with the flotilla.

here's a list of articles by her in English:


AKUS said...

I read this with some wry amusement when he published it. Of course, that doesn't stop him from appearing and publishing wherever he can now. Still, he has to earn a living somehow, and 20 years of this sort of thing leaves you somewhat unqualified for real work.

No wonder his old boss, Dennis Ross can't stand the guy.

Sérgio said...

I think a better idea would have been taking Arafart to the "Lazaret", a fake hospital in Treblinka where people were shot and fell on a burning pit. That would have been the appropriate "sonderbehandlung" for that jerk.