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Update – 14 March 2011

Posted by Jack Chrapot on 14 March 2011 at 6:15am:

Dear All,

I am in Jerusalem, a city enveloped in dismal gray shrouds of mist, clouds and rain delivered by freezing winds that originate in the arctic.

The cold chill I feel is not however, a product of the weather but stems rather from the book I recently finished reading – “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” by the controversial German Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt.

This is the place where Adolf Eichmann’s trial for crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people, opened almost fifty years ago. The defendant was duly convicted and, on 31 May, 1962, executed.

The event occurred in the week of my Bar mitzvah. Word of the hanging reached Melbourne on Shabat eve and the rabbi’s sermon the following morning told how Parashat Bamidbar dealt with the census of Jews in the Sinai before departing on the long journey to the Holy Land that took decades to complete. The inevitable comparison was made with the numbers of those who perished in the Shoach before the creation of the modern State of Israel.

Decades have passed since Eichmann was hanged  and his ashes scattered in the sea but I still feel cold when I read Arendt’s words:

“Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations — as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world — we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

The dimension of Eichmann’s crimes and their consequences is not all that chills. It is also the fact that I am in close proximity to those who represent an identical ideology to that of Eichmann and his masters. Hamas and Hezbollah make no secret of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people. Their sentiments are also shared by members of Fatah, the party of the Palestine Authority leadership, whose media broadcasts daily the most vile anti-Semitic propaganda and incitement to violence despite ostensibly being committed to the “peace process”.

This incitement to violence led this week to the massacre of five members of the Fogel family including three young children while they slept in their beds. The victims are being buried here today in Jerusalem.

I am chilled by the fact that, in spite of the threats of genocide, the incitement and the killings, there exists an obscene juxtaposition of the truth that has given rise to a shameful movement called Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) with its disgraceful adjunct called “Israel Apartheid Week” whose aim is to support those who seek to deligitimise the Jewish State, to destroy it and to ultimately ensure that this land will not be shared with the Jewish people.

On this matter, consider the words of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from December last year:

“We have frankly said, and always will say, if there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.”

The law of Abbas’ Palestine makes it a criminal offence for an Arab to sell land to a Jew. Is this not Apartheid?

Under Israeli law, an Arab can sit in the Knesset and be a Minister in the nation’s Cabinet. Is this Apartheid?

Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old boy, died last week outside a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his Palestinian family could not afford to pay for medical treatment. Is this not Apartheid?

Had Taha and his family lived in Gaza or the West Bank he would in all likelihood have been one of 180,000 Palestinians who enter Israel annually to receive medical treatment. They are treated regardless of whether they have enough money to cover the bill. Is this Apartheid?

When polls reveal that a majority of Israelis want an end to occupation and a majority of Palestinians want an end to Israel then the hypocrisy of a world body that was established to ensure that the horrors of the Shoach will never be visited upon any people anywhere, is clearly brought into focus. Resolutions are introduced against Israel ahead of tyrannies like Libya and Iran whose own people are slaughtered in the streets while on western streets mindless drones walk around bearing placards condemning Jews.

Inside the Old City, I walk on ancient stones in a place where people of many faiths, nationalities, genders and colours not only co-exist but talk and laugh, buy goods from each other and eat at the same table. This is a place where there is hope that brings a little warmth to a world in which the banality of evil remains darkly present and the lessons of history remain unlearned.