Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Persecution, Revenge, and Morality

Jonathan Freedland has apparently written a novel based upon the story of those Jews who tried to punish Nazis after the Shoah; his paper has helpfully given him space to write about the subject, here.

You can quibble with his contention that almost no-one was punished for murdering Jews. The Soviets hung quite a large number of Nazis, though not in Western-style trials. In the 1960s the (West) Germans began a process of identifying Nazi criminals and investigating their crimes with an eye towards bringing them to justice. Well over 130,000 pf them were investigated, and in the process the documentary evidence was vastly expanded; most serious historical research of Nazism would be far poorer if it hadn't been for those efforts. Sadly, somewhere on the road from investigations to convictions almost all of the suspects managed to get off and wander back home, where they died in their beds.

The (East) Germans occasionally meted out justice to an old Nazi, but mostly they didn't.

Freedland's story, however, is about the survivors and some British-uniformed Jews from Mandatory Palestine who tracked down specific Nazis and executed them. Probably hundreds, though the documentation, obviously, is sparse, and the executioners themselves mostly never told.

Critics of Israel and apologists of Arab terror love to tell about the suffering that preceded the terror, thereby explaining it and in many tales even justifying it. They also love to tell that Israel's actions are equally evil, except that since they're state-sanctioned, they're worse. The poor Arab terrorists don't have a government and a big army, you see, so they engage in the poor man's version of violence, while the Israelis get to engage in the rich man's version. Finally, they tend to add, the Israelis insist on talking about the Holocaust all the time because they are trying to monopolize the victim status, since - as the previous two points demonstrate - being a victim is a higher moral status than anything else, and even lets you engage in all sorts of horrible actions without being fully tainted by them.

The real story of the Jewish avengers, somewhat unmentioned by Freedland, is that it disproves all those themes.

1. Over the past 1500 years or so the Jews were persecuted more than any other group (not all the time, mind you, but again and again and again). Yet they never resorted to violence against their oppressors. (OK, I can't vouch for "never", but if it happened it was extremely rare and isn't in the history books).

2. Until very recently, the Jews didn't have armies or governments or other vehicles of letting off steam as such, and they still didn't engage in violence.

3. The previous comments were true for at least 1500 years, long before the Nazis. The Nazi persecution, however, dwarfed anything that preceded it - but even it did not call forth Jewish revenge in the primary use of the term, not under the Nazis before 1945, and not in Germany after 1945. The stories that Freedland has uncovered were of rough justice and were aimed at specific German men. In one case they were aimed at a camp of captured SS men. They were never committed against the general German populace - even though the general German populace had heartily supported the Nazis, and mostly knew that the Jews were being horribly tormented by them.

All of which demonstrates that the decision to murder or not is a decision, not an irresistible and uncontrollable urge. Jews who were persecuted over the centuries figured out ways to get on with life. If they did, anyone could; if others don't, it's because of their decisions, not their circumstances.


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Several mistakes, as usual.

Over the past 1500 years or so the Jews were persecuted more than any other group

Any factual evidence to back this? In my country, the Pampas and the Tehuelches were wiped out during the Desert Campaign of then-president Julio Argentino Roca, back in the 1880s. Now exterminating a whole people sounds like a worse persecution than just making them wear a badge or inflicting an occasional pogrom on them, doesn't it?

Until very recently, the Jews didn't have armies or governments or other vehicles of letting off steam as such, and they still didn't engage in violence.

They didn't engage in violence because they had no "vehicles of letting off setam." The Jews didn't have armies, but, fundamentally, they didn't have a territory from where to operate. When they began to have something remotely ressembling an army and a territory, they also began to engage in vengeful violence. Do the names Raziel and Stern ring a bell?

The stories that Freedland has uncovered were of rough justice and were aimed at specific German men. In one case they were aimed at a camp of captured SS men. They were never committed against the general German populace

The Jews did react against the "general German populace."

In 1945, Solomon Morel, a Polish Jew, took charge of a concentration camp for Germans in Zgoda, Poland, with a fully-Jewish decision-making staff. There, he tortured, starved and murdered up to 1,538 people -- not SS officers, not card-carrying Nazis, but mostly ordinary Germans, mainly from the German-speaking regions of Poland. See here for a brief summary.

But it was an individual Jew, and his actions are repudiated by the Jewish community, right?


In 1993, as Polish justice authorities launched a criminal investigation against him, Morel fled and found refuge in -- guess what country? I won't tell you, I'm afraid of being charged with something.

OK, let's be antisemitic. Morel was given sanctuary by Israel, and when the Israeli authorities were asked to extradite him, they refused. The whole Israeli people is complicit in allowing a man sought for crimes against humanity to evade justice.

Face it, Yaacov. The Jews are not different from other peoples -- not worse, but not better either. No chosenness.

Anonymous said...


What's trying to be sold here?

It's now known that rabbis, in the towns the german's controlled, were the first ones who told the germans "which Jews they could pick for transportation." And, then? They got picked, too.

We know, also, that Freud, having friends who weren't Jewish, but who were in top places, was able to make it out of Vienna "in time" ... so he could live out his days in England. All this means is that there were people who were NOT Jews who helped some Jews escape.

Perhaps, now, we're discussing PAST HISTORY, where everyone then is now dead, with a look-see to find unidentified heroes. Stop it already. You've got Shindler's List.

And, you've been waving the Holocaust banner for so many years, there are dedicated museums to the past. How many different stories can they muster to tell? It ain't hollywood. It's a single topic.

And, the world, today, sees Israel; instead of Jews "who couldn't defend themselves."

You want to take a look, however, at the Pentagon? Or the State Department?

Have you the guts to point to Conid Rice and show in how many instances she has hurt Israel? Heck, I'm not even calling her an anti-Semite.

But I blame her, and her stinking state department for a lot of stuff. Including Bush's real agenda; which was set up for the saud's. The saud's. Who on 9/12 had Bandar on the family quarter's patio at the White House; making deals for Saud's to fly; while every other American was grounded. Because every other American, not Saud, couldn't board a plane for departure out of the USA.

So, you want to know what happened to the ground planners? There was an attempt to blame the Israelis.

Press went with it. But it died.

The truth about 9/11 is so overwhelming, you've got to wonder how the story doesn't surface accurately.

But, today, in the Jerusalem Post there is an article; that Rice's fury at Israel for stopping the Fullbright Scholars from leaving gaza; hit a brick wall.

How come? The state department (obtaining new information, which must have smelled bad enough to reach Rice's nose), CANCELLED the visas. One gaza resident had even borded a plane in Jordan; thinking he'd land in the USA. And, he does. But he can't clear customs. Because his visa was revoked.

Ya know what? I'd bet there are goyim involved in this story, now ... who are laughing their heads off at the incompent Rice.

While Livni, bless her, threatens to jump ship and leave Kadima, if she's not elected it's new-new head.

Livni doesn't want to be fly-paper, attracting votes to a party where she's hung up there like wallpaper.

I think its time to let reality checks take hold.

Part of Israel's bad, bad press days, are still self-inflicted story telling. As if the world needs another story about how Jews can live without proper representation in all sorts of governments.

For 1500 years!

Well, for most of those 1500 years the catholic church told aristocrats they couldn't hold power, IF they didn't give the church all the peasants, and all the land. So, sometimes, ya gotta look at how the money flows through time.

It's a veritable river of survival. Where Jews survived unwilling to believe God, himself, left semen inside a woman, so "he could have a son."

Talk about make-believe.

Talk about people actually believing that they're buying "living" space in another world, separated from the one we have here. All because they can all "fly" (but first they have to die.)

Oh, yeah. Not to be outdone, the current Israeli Supreme Court just ruled that concentual sex, between a cookie factory manager and an imployee was "rape. No, not rape, where the woman didn't consent. But "rape of her soul."

Why are all religious nutters allowed to gain valid points over nonsense that like? Folks, you don't have souls that are subject to getting holes, like the bottoms of an old, overworn pair of shoes.

The truth belongs to everyone.

And, you'd be surprised just how many people recognize bullshit. Even when it's offered with pomp and circumstance.