I’m taking the liberty of copying and pasting this (public) Facebook post by Fred Schlomka, the founder and director of Green Olive Tours in Israel/Palestine. I’ve gone on maybe five or six of Green Olive’s tours over the past few years, and have made lifelong friends on them while learning things I would never otherwise have figured out about Israel and Palestine. I’m profoundly grateful to Schlomka as well as his staff and guides for enriching the experiences I’ve had there, and admire his willingness to speak his mind on topics that so often elicit silence and evasion.
Here is his comment on Holocaust Remembrance Day:
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. My father, Michael Schlomka, was an early survivor, and escaped from a Nazi camp in 1936, eventually making his way to Mandate Palestine. He had been tortured and abused by the German regime, contributing to an early death in the 1950s when I was just a child.
Remembering him is painful.
Michael Schlomka was a socialist and an activist in the political opposition against the Nazis in Germany, which was why he was among the first to be taken. May his memory be a blessing.
My father was was shocked after his arrival in Palestine, at the excesses of the terrorist pre-state Jewish militias. His imagined Zionist-socialist utopia melted in front of him, even as it was emerging into a state, strident and authoritarian from the beginning.
I can only imagine what he might have thought of today’s scenario in Israel/Palestine – the religious court system imposed on all Jews – the colonisation of the West Bank – the encapsulation and blockade of Gaza – the dehumanisation of human life – the wanton killing of Arabs – the degeneration of Zionism into a twisted effigy of the founders’ dreams.
What have we become? Have we learned nothing from the Holocaust? Does ‘Never Again’ really mean that in order to be strong we have to degrade all non-Jews? The soul of Jewish life in Israel is slipping away and being replaced by an ugly and deformed parody of the Zionist Dream.
Worst of all, the nation can’t see it. The Jewish people in Israel are so bedazzled by their ‘Start-up Nation’ status and Neo-riche lifestyles, that they have come to accept the daily atrocities as somehow a normal and necessary part of our development as a state – Much like the European immigrants to the colonial regimes of the Americas accepted the genocide of the native population.
I cried last night after watching ‘Shindlers List’. Not for the 6 million who perished. Their tragedy is over. Enough tears have been shed in their memory. My tears were for us, the descendants of the survivors, who have normalised the barbaric attitudes and behaviours that are defining the state of Israel.
Make no mistake my fellow Jews. We are all responsible. Turn your backs if you like. Put your head in the sand. Justify all you want. But when the tally is taken at the end of the road, we will all be found wanting, and you may be asked by your children or grandchildren, – “What did you do?”. How will you answer?
Dedicated to the memory of the six million. May they rest in peace.