By Khalil Nazzal
The seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, set up by the German occupiers in Poland during WWII, is approaching. The camp was liberated on 27 January 1945 at the hands of the Soviet forces as they pursued Hitler's retreating armies towards their inevitable fate. The world was appalled by the horrible crimes committed against thousands of European citizens in this large camp, foremost of whom were Jews of various nationalities. This occurred in the context of a systematic Nazi policy that was aimed at the extermination of the Jews using a variety of hideous methods, including the use of toxic gas as an effective method of mass killing.
One can find no tiny justification to mitigate the impact of the crimes that the people of Europe and the world were subjected to during WWII. These crimes targeted the Jews in particular, yet did not exclude anyone. Hence, throwing atomic bombs on Japan is a crime, the destruction of Warsaw and the killing of hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 a crime, and the rape of thousands of German women by soldiers of the armies invading Berlin is a crime. We reject all these crimes, and we reject the crime of persecuting the Jews just because they are Jews, and the first reason we do so is that it is a crime against humanity. We simply cannot tolerate the persecution and killing of innocent people because of their religion, national identity or the color of their skin. We have learned that human beings are born free, whose right to life may not be violated, nor can their dignity be undermined under any pretext.
Accounts vary regarding the number of Jewish victims who were killed as a result of the Nazi crimes during WWII. While some historians say the number reaches six million, others reduce it to hundreds of thousands. Despite our conviction that the unlawful killing of a single human being amounts to the annihilation of mankind, it seems that the debate over the number of the victims of the Holocaust has nothing to do with logic and morality. In this context we should emphasize the following issues:
First, the Zionist settler-colonial state of Israel is not a baby of the pain and suffering of the Jewish people. It is a state based on racist ideology that despises human life and practices racial discrimination against our Palestinian people for no reason other than being Palestinians. This ideology is what led to the great Palestinian catastrophe, the Nakba of 1948, a crime from whose consequences our people are still suffering. This way, the ideology that led to the Nakba practically aligns with the ideology that led to the Holocaust, and the thoughts of tyrants are identical and timeless, while the pains of the victims are similar, whether in Auschwitz or in Deir Yassin.
Second, we know that the official Western regime which defrauds history has sought to make advantage of the suffering of the Jewish people in favor of the Zionist racist project, established by the colonial West as an attempt to atone for the crime of the Holocaust. Yet the West added to its record a new crime, that is the Nakba of 1948 which saw the theft of historical Palestine and handing it over to the terrorist Zionist movement as a gift. While the atrocious massacre against the Jews in Europe lasted six years, the Nakba and the Zionist crimes against Palestine and its people have been up and running for decades. Additionally, Western leaders are shamefully silent when it comes to Palestine while we see them flocking as school students when the settler-colonial Israeli government calls them to participate in commemorating the victims of WWII, without bothering to look a bit above the Israeli Segregation Barrier to see the victims of the ongoing Israeli crimes. These crimes have been going on since the West planted this entity which professes nothing but killing, terrorism, racial discrimination and daily ethnic cleansing.
Third, no matter how large the number of Jewish victims is, this does not give anyone the right to practice racial discrimination and ethnic persecution against our people, as a crime does not justify another, and the tendency to exaggerate the number of Jewish victims cannot be a cover for the daily Israeli crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine. This exaggeration has been an attempt to label all those who possess the courage to reject the occupation’s policies and stand in solidarity with the just struggle of our people as “anti-Semitic”. Just as courage and justice in WWII meant saving the Jews from the threat of genocide, today it means standing on the side of the Palestinian right and rejecting the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation’s army and settlers against the Palestinian people. Real “anti-Semites" and “anti-humans” are those who support the policies and crimes of the occupying power.
Fourth, the number of the Holocaust victims cannot be reduced without referring to studies and research that only seek the truth. It should be noted here that those who practice the hobby of reducing numbers will definitely fall into the trap of Zionism. That is, they think that the "small" number of victims weakens the Israeli propaganda which uses intimidation to blackmail the world and force it to accept the occupation’s racist policies. "Exaggeration" does not justify the crimes of the occupation, as "underestimation" does not beautify the ugliness of the crimes committed against the Jews of Europe!
Fifth, our people were not a party to WWII, so why is it being responsible for the consequences of the crimes perpetrated by Europe against its citizens of different ethnicities and religions, especially Jews? Everybody knows that during that war, Palestine was subject to the British occupation which was seeking to establish a state for the Jews of the world at the expense of our people and at the ruins of our homeland. The efforts of our people at that time were focused on resisting the Zionist project and were restricted to the historic borders of Palestine, although our people have been on the side of all the oppressed wherever they are.
Jews have the full right to flee the pains that the Nazi crimes have left in their memory. And because we are a victim of Zionist racism, we are biased without hesitation to the sufferings of the victims, Jews and others, and we refuse that those pains be a justification for the continued historical injustice affecting our people to date. We are on the side of the victims, but the state of occupation and settlements is a malignant plant that poisons our lives and smears the memory of the Auschwitz victims with the stigma of racism, persecution and killing of the innocent people of Palestine.