Ayoon Wa Azan (They Are All Victims of the West )
Jihad el-Khazen Al-Hayat - 26/12/06//
Yesterday, I objected to the organization of the Holocaust Conference in Tehran because the issue has already been settled. Six million Jews lost their lives in the Nazi Holocaust, and history should not be denied under the pretext of studying it. It's completely illogical for the Arabs and Muslims to attempt to discharge the West of the crimes committed against the Jews. They are all victims of the West from a thousand years ago until today, including the Jews of the Holocaust.
I live in London, and I've been working for 30 years. I don't need to go back to 1976 or 1986 to introduce to the reader a news item that is continuously repeated in one way or another; I will suffice with what I have at hand. There is a piece of news saying that attacks on Muslims have significantly increased since the eruption of the controversy over the veil in Britain. There is another piece of news that says that attacks on Jews are four times the attacks on Muslims. The recent attacks on Muslims included removing a Muslim woman's veil, besides humiliating and threatening her. On the other hand, attacks on Jews usually include the desecration of their cemeteries, the destruction of their tombstones, and drawing swastikas on their places of worship.
The common denominator between anti-Semitist and racist attacks on Muslims and Jews is that they are usually instigated by white racist extremists. They are certainly a minority that does not represent the majority of British people, who preserve their deep-rooted democratic traditions.
Last month, there was a famous incident in France. After an Israeli football team defeated a French team, some supporters of the French team demonstrated in the street, chanting death to the Jews. When a black police officer tried to break them up, they began chanting against blacks. Had they found a Muslim distinguished by his clothes, they would have attacked him too.
Arabs, Muslims and Jews equally suffer this situation. There is no need to add more fuel to the fire. There are moderates on both sides who want peace, and some of them are actively working on this. But we only hear about the extremists on both sides.
Arabs and Muslims are not terrorists affiliated to al-Qaeda, as Jews are not terrorists affiliated to Ehud Olmert's government. I could list the names of a thousand distinguished Arab politicians, academics, writers, intellectuals and others who are all advocates of peace. I could also list as many Jewish names as Arabs and Muslims that would like to agree on peace as soon as possible.
There's Ehud Olmert and Avigdor Lieberman, and before them there was Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin. No less important are Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Louis Lippie, David Wurmser, Elliott Abrams, and the rest of the war cabal on Iraq inside and outside the administration. Some of them have inherited extremism from their fathers: Daniel Pipes has taken after his father, Richard Pipes; William Kristol has followed his father, Irving Kristol; Douglas Feith is just like his father, Dalck Feith; and Robert and his brother Frederick take after their father, Donald Kagan - to say nothing of marital connections. But I say that every member of the Israeli war cabal must be tried on the charge of participating in the killing of more than half a million Iraqis, about 4000 Americans, and hundreds of others of different nationalities. These, and many others whose names are not mentioned here, have committed proven war crimes.
Still, for every Jewish or Israeli extremist, I can name two moderate peace advocates whose efforts should never be ignored, and who should be given their due rights.
Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University wrote a documented book on ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1947 and 1948. Professor Rachel Giora of Tel Aviv University called for boycotting Israeli academics in protest of the Israeli government's policy. Prior to this, the Jewish British Professor Stephen Rose of the Open University, along with his wife, has organized a boycott of Israeli academics that comprised thousands of professors. After the eruption of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 29, 2000, some Jewish journalists have made the best possible coverage. The Israeli Amira Hass was clearly sympathetic with the Palestinians to the extent that she moved to Gaza. The Jewish British Susan Goldenberg wrote in 'The Guardian' with extreme objectivity and humanity. Equally objective was the Jewish American Debra Sontag who wrote in 'The New York Times'. I add to these, the Jewish American-Canadian Naomi Klein, whose comments were the best among what has been written. I should not forget to mention Uri Avnery, who served in the Israeli army and who used to be a member of the Knesset. He was a peace advocate par excellence.
As Ilan Pappe amends for a thousand like Lieberman, James Wolfensohn amends for a thousand Wolfowitz who he succeeded in the presidency of the World Bank. Wolfensohn moved to the Palestinian territories to help its people and left frustrated with the American policy.
The names mentioned above are just individuals; however, there are thousands of anonymous soldiers who belong to Jewish Israeli organizations and bodies that defend Palestinians. These include:
• 'Peace Now' recently revealed Israeli government maps that prove that 39% of the settlements in the West Bank are owned by Palestinians.
• 'B'Tselem' or the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, carefully and patiently records the numbers of casualties and the destruction news, day after day.
• The 'Israeli Committee against House Demolitions' tries to prevent the Israeli army from demolishing Palestinian houses.
• 'Rabbis for Human Rights' helps the Palestinians to harvest their crops and tries to prevent soldiers and settlers from attacking them.
Finally, what made me write yesterday and today is my rejection of the Holocaust Conference and my belief, not shared by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that compared to the extremist Wolfowitz, there are hundreds of Wolfensohn's who are ready to work for peace.