What would a young upstanding Israeli think listening to the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Auschwitz concentration camp last week? At the dedication of the permanent exhibit at the camp's Block 27, Netanyahu mentioned how during his term as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations he had exposed the Second World War archives locked away in the UN, through which it became clear that the Western powers had known about the Nazi annihilation industry but had chosen not to disrupt it.
"The lesson for us, for the Jews, is clear," said Netanyahu during his speech at Auschwitz. "We cannot be complacent in the face of threats of our annihilation. We cannot bury our heads in the sand or assume that others will do the work for us. We must issue a warning and attempt to mobilize the world against these intentions for destruction, but above all we cannot be helpless and surrender our fate to other's hands. We identify the danger ahead of time and are prepared to defend ourselves by ourselves."
Citizens of this country, young and old, who listen to their prime minister's words are guided to the inescapable conclusion that their vulnerability in June 2013 is similar to Europeans Jews' exposure to the Nazi threat in the '40s of the previous century. The threat that hangs over them in identical: annihilation. However, Netanyahu reassures, we are now prepared to defend ourselves by ourselves, but the proportions of the threat aren't different.On the contrary, 70 years ago the apparatus of annihilation that was at the disposal of the Nazi regime was primitive (gas chambers ) while those who ready to destroy us today are equipped with nuclear weapons.
In Netanyahu's mental and conceptual outlook, the world of the 21st century isn't different from the world of 1940-1945. Listen to his words: "There are those who say that the attitude towards the Jews has changed since the Holocaust. I ask you, what has really changed?
"Hatred of the Jews has changed form but it still remains. If not racial superiority, then religious superiority is the order of the day. The world's indifference in light of this hatred has also remained. The world has very quickly become accustomed to hearing declarations only 65 years after the Holocaust, declarations of intent to annihilate millions of Jews - and the world continues to act in the same manner. The hesitancy of enlightened countries to act against extreme regimes which threaten us and threaten world peace - this too has not changed."
One asks oneself, if this is reality according to Netanyahu what conclusion does it dictate? To where will Israeli citizens flee from this fate of annihilation to which they have been sentenced? For in the prime minister's worldview the axiom that the State of Israel has no choice but to live by the sword is built in. There is no reason or justification to alter its relations with its neighbors and the one means at its disposal to escape its bitter fate is to rely on its military capabilities. Within this deterministic and stereotypical worldview hides the cloaked intention that was recklessly brandished recently by Likud MK Danny Danon: Netanyahu doesn't really intend to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu's belief doesn't provide hope to the country's young. It decrees that they live in constant anxiety unless they decide not to take Netanyahu's words seriously and see them as only a rhetorical trick meant to serve tactical goals (for example, to pressure the United States and the European Union to escalate sanctions against Iran ).
Ariel Sharon, for example, behaved this way in October 2001 during his first term as premier. He delivered his "Czechoslovakia speech" in which he compared the way Western countries were treating Israel to their treatment of Czechoslovakia on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. This forceful man, a symbol of Israel steadfastness and daring, chose to be depicted (for a moment ) as a scared Jew who believed that the world was about to betray his people in order to appease the Arab countries. The speech did its job and pushed the Bush administration to reassure Israel and meet its expectations.
However, Netanyahu actually appears and sounds like he really and truly believes in this tangible, immediate existential threat hanging over Israel and he projects his fears onto the Israeli public and also onto the international arena.
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