An ironic thing happened at Thursday's Knesset session on "conclusions from the Holocaust" - the memorial siren couldn't be heard, perhaps due to a technical problem. The surprised organizer looked at the clock, stood us all up and then sat us back down.
But in general, the connection between Thursday's conference - organized by the "Holocaust Lessons Caucus," led by National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari - and the Holocaust of record was weak at best.
One would think a discussion of that period would focus on Germany, Nazism, fascism, concentration camps and the like. But these were barely mentioned. Adolf Hitler was spoken of almost tangentially, as a takeoff point for talking about the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and the Oslo Accords. Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini was mentioned far more often than Hitler, and the ignorant might have believed that the Arabs killed the Six Million.
In fact, one speaker, right-wing journalist David Bedein, went so far as to say that without the mufti, there would have been no mass killings of Jews. But we were later to learn that the "anarchists" are even bigger Nazis than the Arabs.
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, didn't use the term Judenrat (the Jewish councils appointed to carry out Nazi policies ), but he quickly compared them to the left and the Israel Defense Forces which supposedly does its bidding.
"Jews participated in the Holocaust by informing and other ugly things," he said. "This process is happening here, too. ... We took a trace of this sickness with us."
Referring to Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, who lost his command this week after hitting an unarmed pro-Palestinian demonstrator with his rifle, Ariel told the committee: "Here we have a Jewish officer, and then come the anarchists. Look at what they're doing to him because he touched some Norwegian. You're an officer? You're nothing. And the Norwegian? He's king.
"Today the state isn't ours," the rabbi continued. "This is a mental illness and we must be healed. The solution is to know that the Land of Israel is ours."
Bedein, who followed, was described as an investigative journalist, and he offered up a journalistic scoop: "There's a lab in El-Bireh that is reinserting threats of murder into Jordanian and Palestinian textbooks. The supreme value in the Palestinian educational system is to permit the killing of Jews."
And so it went. MK Aryeh Eldad quoted from Uri Zvi Greenberg's "Streets of the River," and explained that Greenberg's conclusion from the Holocaust was that the Jews need a strong army with rifles. Eldad apparently didn't notice that the Palestinians had just been condemned for wanting the same thing.
For Yonatan Yosef, a Jewish resident of Sheikh Jarrah, the Holocaust's lesson was that the anarchists protesting against him are the new Nazis, because "they are calling for ethnic cleansing of the area."
Itzik Magrefta, who has been busy writing talkbacks all over the Internet accusing leftists of raping babies and such, at least condemned the comparison of Palestinians to Nazis. ("They never put us in Auschwitz." ) But he did take pains to explain why there is no such thing as Palestinians.
One of the lessons the Knesset itself was thought to have learned from the Holocaust was that racist parties like Kach should not be allowed to run in elections. Less than 24 years after that decision, Ben-Ari, a former Kach member who remains a proud Kahanist, is teaching the Knesset his idea of what the Holocaust really meant.