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Living with the Holocaust « Previous | |Next »
November 26, 2006

Sara Roy, a Senior Research Scholar at the Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies, gave the Second Annual Holocaust Remembrance Lecture at Baylor University on April 8, 2002. It was entitled Living With The Holocaust: The journey of a child of holocaust survivors. In it she makes a comment that is not widely acknowledged in the commentary spaces of the Australian corporate media. Roy says:

Israel's occupation of the Palestinians is the crux of the problem between the two peoples, and it will remain so until it ends. For the last thirty-five years, occupation has meant dislocation and dispersion; the separation of families; the denial of human, civil, legal, political, and economic rights imposed by a system of military rule; the torture of thousands; the confiscation of tens of thousands of acres of land and the uprooting of tens of thousands of trees; the destruction of more than 7,000 Palestinian homes; the building of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands and the doubling of the settler population over the last ten years; first the undermining of the Palestinian economy and now its destruction; closure; curfew; geographic fragmentation; demographic isolation; and collective punishment.

Roy comments on the significance of this damage-- the de-development of Palestine --by a colonial kind of occupation thus:

Israel's occupation of the Palestinians is not the moral equivalent of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. But it does not have to be. No, this is not genocide, but it is repression, and it is brutal. And it has become frighteningly natural. Occupation is about the domination and dispossession of one people by another. It is about the destruction of their property and the destruction of their soul. Occupation aims, at its core, to deny Palestinians their humanity by denying them the right to determine their existence, to live normal lives in their own homes. Occupation is humiliation. It is despair and desperation. And just as there is no moral equivalence or symmetry between the Holocaust and the occupation, so there is no moral equivalence or symmetry between the occupier and the occupied, no matter how much we as Jews regard ourselves as victims.
We do not often hear this kind of voice in Australia. When we do hear these voices, as with Hanan Ashrwai giving the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize, then we have political campaigns to silence them in the name of being anti-Israel, anti Zionist and anti-Semitic. The relationship between Israel's hardline supporters and the 'Arab professoriat' in Australia is very tense.

As Anthony Lowenstein argues there is a pressing need to open up the debate on the conflict so that Palestinian as well as Jewish voices can be heard in our liberal democracy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:19 AM | | Comments (0)