Editor's note: The end of this article, posted several hours before the news of Bin Laden's death was publicized, seems eerily prescient now that the news has broken. R. S.
On the eve of Holocaust and Resistance Remembrance Day, I would like to call to the attention of the Jewish public in Israel a
Israelis are not the reason for the hatred but are its object.
unique and special book entitled A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism, Encounter Books, New York-London .
Half a year ago the book was published in English by a young Italian journalist, Giulio Meotti, a righteous Gentile, who has since become a weekly columnist for Arutz Sheva's English site and appears in many other forums. No book of this kind has been written in Hebrew as yet, nor has any book of its kind been written by a Jew.
This is a personal campaign, the product of a sense of moral mission, a book which is trying as best it can to establish a memorial, a personality and a name for each and every one of those slain by terrorists. The author feels intuitively that every name in Israel is connected to the name of God, and he is faithful to the Jewish concept of Kiddush Hashem [the sanctification of God's name through martyrdom].
Meotti has created a compelling and soul-wrenching memorial to the victims of Arab terror in the Land of Israel and outside of it, particularly since the beginning of the “peace process” and for the most part during the last decade. Meotti clearly identifies the continuum leading from Hitler’s Holocaust to the holocaust that is bubbling, brewing and ever ready to burst forth like a tsunami and take its daily toll of victims.
From the articles which he publishes in various venues, one can see that he is not a naïve Christian who is involved with the victimhood of the Jewish people. He recognizes the crimes of the nations of the world and of Islam against the Jewish people and is not ashamed to castigate those who deserve it.
Meotti is fighting a losing yet heroic battle against the daily grind of forgetfulness, forgetting the victims of a week ago and certainly those of ten years ago, in some part a deliberate forgetfulness driven by the horror. He tries to piece together the names of each and every victim of each terror attack and to tell their story.
It is only right that the reader pause here and navigate through the search engines, seeking names such as Samir Quntar and the Haran family of 1979 and make what sense he will of later terrorist exchange deals like the Jibril deal, the story of Ron Arad, up to the current handling of the case of Gilad Shalit, the Second Lebanon War, and ‘Operation Cast Lead’.
Let the reader refresh his memory about names such as the Schijveschuurder family killed in the Sbarrao restaurant, Dr. David Appelbaum and his daughter Noa who were murdered in Café Hillel in 2001 the night before her wedding, and let him understand how this has evolved into the recent massacre of the Fogel Family and Ben-Yosef Livnat HY”D.
Now that a decade has passed since the Oslo War, infamously known by its Arabic name ‘the al-Aqsa Intifada’, it is only right that Meotti’s book be translated into Hebrew so that the open wound, the suffering and tragedy will not heal. This will not allow anyone to continue to use the Holocaust as an excuse for being reconciled with Jewish victimhood nor to revel in Zionist heroism which has proved itself empty and which was revealed in its full disgrace.
Do the names of those murdered young people at the Dolphinarium and the 150 other terror attacks in which over one thousand five hundred Jews were murdered, Jews who were termed ‘Israelis’ by the spin doctors, just as local Arabs are mainly called ‘Palestinians’, still come to memory?
Indeed, what is the purpose of memory if not in order to fulfill the obligation ‘to wipe out Amalek’.
Public enterprises such as reading out the name of every Holocaust victim [“Every person had a name”] would have great value of their own if we were not content to use them merely as a kind of conscience-purifying ritual. Though not the author’s intent, Meotti’s book casts guilt and responsibility both for forgetting and trying to make others forget, as well as for making do with commemoration as a substitute for war.
He himself takes no political stance apart from unconstrained admiration for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
One of the most prominent and well-remembered figures in the endless list of names and the circumstances of their murder is that of the Jewish-American journalist, Daniel Pearl, writer for the Wall Street Journal, who was decapitated in what amounted to a live broadcast The video clip was circulated around the world by al-Quaeda , showing that the last words he spoke were “I am a Jew”. Daniel Pearl was commemorated – rightly- by the people of his community on the wall of remembrance for Holocaust victims, and he apparently is the only Jew who has been added to this list of the murdered.
There is nothing more important than the knowledge that the Holocaust continues til this very moment and that there is no escape from it. Perhaps this knowledge will help our capability to judge the struggle between the Jewish people and its oppressors.
The motif that stirs Meotti is the Jewish people’s choice of life in every situation. To continue at all costs. As one conspicuous example out of many, he brings David Hatuel whose wife and four daughters were murdered on their way to a demonstration against the expulsion from Gaza, the place where they lived.
Meotti is astounded by the Holocaust survivors who lost their entire families and went on to build new families if they could; by others who found different ways to continue Jewish life at all costs and in all circumstances even if they personally had no one remaining alive and would leave no biological survivor.
The carpet of blood woven in the state of Israel is too closely woven. At times there were several terror attacks on one day. This carpet could obliterate any attempt to retain the individuality of the personalities who were caught up in the wholesale death, but Meotti, using a special technique in his book, proves that it is certainly possible to restore the names and the life stories of these people to the consciousness of the reader.
The book contains several chapters devoted to the history of the city of Hebron, as well as the city of Sderot which is still threatened by the shellfire that it suffered for ten years. He dedicates two chapters to the story of the expulsion from Gaza without taking a judgmental position, but using it as evidence that the State of Israel was prepared to do everything for peace, while the other side was not willing to yield its main objective, the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of every Jew it could find.
Regarding the 1929 massacre in Hebron, Meotti wonders: In those days there were no territories “occupied” by Israel; indeed, there was no state of Israel...
“How many Jews did your mother murder?” is a question that was asked on a Hamas-sponsored television program of the five-year old son of Rim Riashi who blew herself up next to soldiers at the Erez checkpoint. The child spread out the fingers of his hand and said proudly, ”Five”.
Meotti notes that for years after the Oslo Accords, Israel presented itself as a peace-loving nation, thoroughly normal and involved in post-modern society. The dream of peace seemed so close, so accessible, but then fell apart so terribly under the barbaric, racist warfare of Islam, and a temporary episode in the history of the Jewish people came to an end.
Meotti ends his book with a description of Israel’s 9/11, Israel being the first country that suffered suicide terrorists coming en masse. There were more than 150 terror attacks and another 500 which were aborted in a short period. “This was a black hole over the last 15 years which swallowed 1557 murder victims and 17 thousand wounded. In ratio to the population of America, it would be as if there were 53,573 dead and 664,331 wounded.”
The acts of murder were initiated by the Arabs, who were willing to destroy themselves for the sake of murdering as many Jews as possible. This is a mental state expressed in the past by the “father of peace” Anwar Sadaat, president of Egypt before the Yom Kippur War. He said that the price of one million dead Egyptian soldiers for a victory over Israel was a reasonable price to pay; Ahmedinijad has concurred, saying that dealing a mighty blow to Israel is worth any cost, even the cost of destroying Iran.
“Let me die together with the Jews” has become the norm. The intensity of unbounded hatred with no calculation of cost stands in diametric opposition to the Jewish ethos which is most regrettably guilt-ridden – either mistakenly or deliberately - by the false idea that the Jewish people have conquered a foreign land. Those who believe that act more Christian than the Christians, even developing a kind of auto-Anti-Semitism.
Meotti investigated the nature, personality, and biography of each of the terror victims in Israel as well as their social background, and the circumstances of their murder.
His study reveals family, social, and national contexts which portray "a metaphysical family", as defined by Roger Scruton, who wrote a foreword to the book. He shows the connection of the slain to their families, some of them Holocaust survivors, some refugees of previous pogroms such as the Hebron massacre of 1929, others whose family members gave up their lives as martyrs al kiddush Hashem or in defense of the country over generations. Some were attracted to the unique character of the Jewish people, converted, and paid the greatest price a person can pay, while others were Righteous Gentiles.
In Guilio Meotti’s way of looking from the most recent past to the most remote spheres, he confers significance and reflected glory upon the victims of the Holocaust as part of the bloody history of the Jewish people, echoing the psalm: “For because of You we are killed relentlessly, all the days”.
The reader is astounded at the self-sacrificing dedication of the victims and of their families, how they accept what has occurred and realize the profound significance of their mission; this was their response in the face of the unrestrained, hate and envy-driven barbarity of local primitive pseudo-intellectual Arabs, who have no meaning to their lives apart from the ideology of murder and the mendacious myth of occupation. Self-fulfillment through shahidism based on murder and suicide.
The more the descriptions of the nobility of the victims, the greater grows one’s sense of the hopelessness of seeking peace where it cannot be found.
Meotti reminds us that the Israelis are not the reason for the hatred but are its object. There can be no solution in the Middle East that does not assign blame to those who are inspired by hatred and live in it. These are people who have nothing to offer but destruction.
Epilogue/ On Remembering and Forgetting
The months of Nissan and Sivan include major memorials in the Jewish state:
The 27th of Nissan, commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and its suppression, chosen as Holocaust and Heroism Day and the 4th of Iyar, Memorial Day for fallen IDF Soldiers leading into Israel Independence Day.
Howver, there is also one that has been forgotten: The 20thof Sivan, a memorial day for communities which were massacred as martyrs al Kiddush Hashem. It began with the martyrdom of the Jews of Blois in France in 1171 during the Crusades and peaked especially in the pogrom of the Cossack Chmielnitzky [l648-9], when according to various estimates, the lowest number of Jews massacred was 100 thousand while some put the number at 600 thousand. This was approximately one quarter of the Jewish population in the world at that time.
The surviving remnant of Hungarian Jewry, 800,000 of whom were murdered in the Holocaust, preferred to commemorate the 20th of Sivan as a memorial day but could not overcome the Zionist pride which focused on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, as though it represented a typical mode of behavior for the Jewish people.
What survived of that Zionist pride is conspicuous today principally in the official policy which resembles not the partisans and dissenters but rather the Judenrat and decision-makers. What has survived from the slogan “Never again” is only “Ever again, and again”.
It is hard to know what will happen until Islam and the 70 nations are eventually vanquished directly by God’s mighty sword: “I, and not an angel, I and not a messenger”