Adam Beach, an Eastern University student who has spent a great deal of time in the Middle East documenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sent out this recent letter comparing the Nazi attack on the Jewish gehetto in Warsaw, Poland during WWII and the current attack on Gaza by the Israeli forces. The similarities are chilling, and remind me how easily and quickly the oppressed can become an oppressor. I print Adam’s letter here in its entirety without comment. (I would encourage you to follow Adam’s blog, Yallah Handala
On January 18th 1943 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, surrounded by walls, and living under crippling restrictions imposed by Nazi forces engaged themselves in an uprising that would last until May 16th in the same year. The poorly armed and ill-supplied Jewish forces staged heavy resistance against the modern war machines of the SS. While the Nazi SS claims to have suffered only 16 casualties; history has surmised that in reality SS casualties were much higher. In the end the courageous Jewish resistance was deflated as the Nazi troops resorted to indiscriminate burning of houses. Of the nearly 13,000 Jews that were killed in just three months of fighting at least 6,000 died in the house fires or from smoke inhalation. Thus, over %40 percent of those killed in the Ghetto uprising were not killed because they were engaged in resistance but rather by nature of the fact that they happened to be in or around the houses that the Nazis were indiscriminately fire bombing in order to root out the “sub-human” Jewish resistance forces. Considering that the Nazis’ claim that they suffered just 16 casualties is suspected to be a heavily doctored number, it seems likely that, as it was published by the Polish Underground State, in fact their were at least 200 German casualties. Thus, the brutal Nazi Forces killed roughly 65 times more Jews then they suffered casualties. About half the Jews that were killed were engaged in active resistance, while the others were simply living in the Ghetto and found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Nazi justification for the ghettos in the first place and then the ensuing brutality against the already impoverished ghetto inhabitants was the idea of Jews as a dangerous and polluting people who were locked up in ghettos for the good of Germans and indeed the good of the world. Jewish resistance was twisted and contorted and reconstructed by the Nazis as sub-human terrorism while the Nazi brutality was constructed in the macabre logic of Nazism as defensive in spite of the heavy disproportionality in those killed and the reality that the Jews who rose up in rebellion were doing so in a ghetto!
Aside from enormous power imbalance introduced by the Nazi’s heavily superior military weaponry the Warsaw Ghetto suppression was so successful related to the number of Jewish collaborators the Nazi’s had coerced into feeding them information about the Jewish resistance movement. As the massacres took place the Allied forces did little to nothing to stop the Nazis. Szmul Zygielbojm, who was the leader of the Jewish socialist party called the Bund wrote in suicide letter that:
“The latest news that has reached us from Poland makes it clear beyond any doubt that the Germans are now murdering the last remnants of the Jews in Poland with unbridled cruelty. Behind the walls of the ghetto the last act of this tragedy is now being played out.
The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions, tortured children, women and men they have become partners to the responsibility …” (Quote By Joseph Massad, http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10110.shtml)
In the last 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Ghetto Uprising nearly 700 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 3,000 have been wounded (many of which are expected to succumb to their wounds because of an acute lack of medical supplies and space in Gazan hospitals). Medical sources in Gaza are saying are the casualties are at least %50 civilians. Over a hundred of the casualties are children. Today, a UN school was shelled twice by Israeli tanks causing over 40 deaths and dozens more wounded. In last few days whole families have been killed in their houses. In once case Israel bombed a mosque it said was a “stronghold” for Hamas. As it turned out five young girls, sisters, were in the mosque after having fled their home. The only video evidence Israel has released which they did as “proof” of their targeting Palestinian resistance fighters turned out to be a 14 year old boy and other men loading badly needed gas and water tanks onto a pickup.
Since the beginning of the Israeli invasion of the Gaza ghetto, 4 Israeli civilians have been killed by rocket fire and at least 6 soldiers have been killed. Israel has been using phosphorous bombs in crowded civilian areas (bombs that explode in the air and shower thousands of bits of burning phosphorous that burns through flesh and bone in seconds and is considered a war crime if used in civilian areas). Israel has also been using radioactive Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) weapons. “DIME bombs produce an unusually powerful blast within a relatively small area, spraying a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA). Scientific studies have found that HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic).” (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=103×414058) The weapon was developed by the US and sold to Israel. What is taking place in the Gaza ghetto is a massacre that equals and even so far exceeds the Nazis massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
If Israel were to keep up her pace for as long as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising lasted–three months–roughly 6,300 Palestinians will be killed and over 27,000 wounded (many if not most of which will succumb to their wounds as a result of the fact that conditions in Gazan hospitals, if they are not bombed, look only to get more dire). This reality puts potential Palestinian casualties at well over the 13,000 that were killed in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, if even a third of the potential Palestinian wounded succumb to their wounds, which seems tragically likely. If Israeli casualties remain at the same rate they have been at there will be about 90 dead at the end of the three months. Thus if things continue we are looking at over 15,000 Palestinian deaths and a Israeli disproportionality rate of 170-1, a rate that makes the Nazis 65-1 look mild. Even now the Israeli massacre in Gaza is running at nearly 70-1, already proportionally worse than the Nazis’ suppression of the Jewish uprising in 1943.
It may seem sick to engage in such theoretical projections (and God knows I pray each day that things will not carry on this long or with the ferocity that we have seen so far) but I believe it is important to put this mass killing in historical perspective.”
The sick thing about what is happening now is Gaza, is that like in the case of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Israelis have enlisted their own judenrat collaborationist government–the PCA (Palestinian Collaborationist Authority)–in their program to root out Hamas. The PCA in the West Bank has actually been on the verge of violently breaking up Palestinian demonstrations in solidarity with the Gazans. I fully expect their to be a Fatah invasion of Gaza following the Israeli massacre. Indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if Mahmoud Abbas had foreknowledge of the invasion of Gaza and may already have plans for taking Gaza over after the mass killing.
Yet as Joseph Massad wrote recently in an Electronic Intifada article:
“The crushing of the Gaza Ghetto Uprising and the slaughter of its defenseless population will be relatively an easy task for the giant Israeli military machine and Israel’s sadistic political leadership. It is dealing with the aftermath of a strengthened Palestinian determination to continue to resist Israel that will prove much more difficult for Israel and its Arab allies to deal with. While the thousands of dead and injured Palestinians are the main victims of this latest Israeli terrorist war, the major political loser in all this will be Abbas and his clique of collaborators. The test for Palestinian resistance now is to continue to refuse to grant Israel the right to conquer populations, to steal their land, to destroy their livelihoods, to imprison them in ghettos, and to starve them without being resisted.
The only constant in Palestinian lives for the last century of Zionist atrocities has been resistance to the Zionist project of erasing them from the face of the earth. While Zionism sought and recruited Arab and Palestinian collaborators since its inception in the hope of crushing Palestinian resistance, neither Israel nor any of its collaborators has been able to stop it. The lesson that Zionism has refused to learn, and still refuses to learn, is that the Palestinian yearning for freedom from the Zionist yoke cannot be extinguished no matter how barbaric Israel’s crimes become. The Gaza Ghetto Uprising will mark both the latest chapter in Palestinian resistance to colonialism and the latest Israeli colonial brutality in a region whose peoples will never accept the legitimacy of a racist European colonial settlement in their midst.” (Joseph Massad, http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10110.shtml)
Please do what you can, in demonstration, in boycotts, in resistance in Palestine, and in prayer on behalf of the people of Gaza.
Here are some links: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/ http://www.bdsmovement.net/ http://www.vtjp.org/ http://electronicintifada.net/
Along with the vast majority of the world’s people and nearly none of the world’s governments: I look forward to and pray that the state of Israel is swiftly dissolved out of existence. I hope and pray that not one drop of Jewish-Israeli blood is spilled in the process and equally that not one Israeli-Jew be displaced from their homes but it is time that the rouge state of Israel be brought to justice and swiftly dissolved for being the racist, apartheid state that it is.