A Tale and a Joke:
Pimping the Holocaust's Memory

By Meir Stieglitz


June 10 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- Never was the memory of the Holocaust's victims subjected to such an abhorrent use and moral abuses as in Israel today. And no one is more proficient in submitting the abysmal sufferings of the European Jews to the highest bidder than Israel's current Prime Minster, Netanyahu. In this sense, as in other aspects, Netanyahu is truly a democratic leader -- the embodiment of the Israeli collective spirit.

Such an unusual assertion deserves full exposition. But sometimes a seemingly marginal anecdote can capture the terms of an historical situation and the essence of a people's Zeitgeist. I offer this one:

In February last year, the Israeli Prime Minister feted the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi who came on a State Visit. The Italian vivid ("stallion") politician captured the hearts of the Israeli public and tribute was paid to him for his role as a valiant leader facing the mounting campaign to "Delegitimize" the Jewish State. Netanyahu and Berlusconi stroke an immediate rapport. After all, both men are recognized as virtuoso political salesmen and both rose to prominence from similar political and ideological springs and by basically riding the same public winds.

At a special assembly of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) honoring Berlusconi Netanyahu delivered a speech culminating in a Meta-Historical analysis about Rome and Jerusalem as the combined cornerstones of the Jewish-Christian tradition and thus the foundation of Western Culture. The fascist reign in Italy was not mentioned. Berlusconi, not a harsh critic of Mussolini, was idolized as a herald of universal values, a bulwark against Nuclear Iran and to some it all the "Keeper of World Peace".

For his grand finale Netanyahu concluded by ever so sensitively relating the tale relating an extraordinary fit of resistance by a young Italian woman. That woman, eight months pregnant, when confronted by the sight of a German policeman (SIC) arresting a Jewish woman on a train refused to stay passive. Without a trace of fear that heroic woman stood between the policeman and his victim announcing: "you can kill me. But look around at the faces of the train travelers, I promise you they won't let you leave the train alive". With that bold stand, crooned Netanyahu, this brave woman saved the Jewish girl and by doing so lighted up, even for a moment, the great darkness shadowing the lands of Europe. Then Netanyahu posed and delivered his punch line: that brave woman was called Rosa and one of her children is called Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister today.
Netanyahu continued to embrace Berlusconi -- "my friend and companion" he called him (it sounds Biblical in Hebrew) -- who according to him inherited from his brave mother the courage to stand fast on the side of the values of truth, freedom and justice - an Italian Mandela. The Knesset wavered with prolonged applause while Berlusconi himself demurely wiped up a tear. A moment of moral clarity: the Right Leaders at the Right parliament.

Unfortunately, no reference was given to this tale of sheer heroism by Berlusconi's genes-giver and to the somewhat peculiar fact that this particular Italian train was filled with the Partisans' fellow travelers. Most probably the reference can be found in another Berlusconi family lore, which he related later at a gala at President S. Peres state-residence, in which Berlusconi revealed the secret of success which was given to him by his father, in essence: flatter without reservations and tell everyone exactly what they like to hear.

A strong stench is emanating from this scene: the stench of fabricated tales of courage, of honor philistined; of noble acts defamed, worst of all, of the memory of the Holocaust's victims being sold to one of the worst bidders for apparently no more a reason than media ratings.

And the carrier of Mussolini's apologetics responded in kind: few months after his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Berlusconi told to a congregation of admirers an idiosyncratic joke that when stripped of the master's juicy delivery goes like that: a Jew hides a fellow Jew in his basement at the time of the extermination camps and charges him 3,000 Euros. "For a month?" asked the shelter seeker. "No, just for a day", came the reply. Well, continued Berlusconi, the Jew paid up because he had the money. Then Silvio delivered the punch line: but do you think the other Jew should tell him that Hitler has died and that the war is over?

Maybe I'm being too sensitive. After all, more than five years ago I did one of the most un-Israeli deeds by quitting , therefore relinquishing any claim to compensations, my post as a columnist for "Globes" magazine (than Israel's foremost business paper), because the editors, under dead-line duress, cut some sections of my "Shoah Day" article without my permission. And when Arthur Miller wrote and invited me to meet him in Berlin, where he was honored and feted, I friendly answered that I tried to enter Germany in my early twenties and after one night I hurried back to France, never to return. Those and the like are radical decisions straight from the inexplicable currents of moral code.

On the other hand, not long ago my daughter Naama, who is the only granddaughter of my late mother and father -- whom both extended families were murdered in the Holocaust –,asked me about going to Germany and I answered that of course she can. It's not only that near every adult who lived during the Holocaust has passed away. Germany today is the foundation of the EU and as such a cornerstone of a New and preferred World Order. Moreover, German youths are the most devoted and influential among the Anti-Nuclear movement, the prime global task of our times. One will do no wrong to go there, do business in Bavaria and immerse in Berlin's cultural scene. But when she'll turn fifteen, I plan to talk to Naama about the pros and the cons of attending Shoah day at school in Israel. That's because, right, maybe I'm too sensitive, but the above described abomination at the Knesset is not just about the desecration of the Shoah lessons, it has even darker layers than moral reek and integrity disparaged.

The stench is a poisonous one. The whole scene at the Knesset is part of the "Victimhood" national project. The project is intended to legitimize the unmitigated use of Israel's near global-projected strategic power. The Victimhood project is mainly directed towards the centers of power in the U.S. and to lesser extend Europe. As a scholar of the World System and a Strategist, I'm convinced that endowing Israel's unique -- in terms of both peril and power -- Geo-political situation with fabricated conditions of real and immediate existential threats is a world-endangering route -- absolutely. i Doing so by abusing the memory of the Holocaust catastrophe is the heights of "Shiflut" (a Hebrew word which inimitably denotes the diametric opposite of Integrity) -- one of the most despicable moral travesties of our time.

How comes the global community had not got a hold of that exceptional gathering of the titans of Freedom, Justice and Peace in Jerusalem? Quite simply, the orchestrated campaign of Holocaust-guilt and Anti-Semites-hunt is cowing every major media organ attached to Israel. The chances of a New York Times' correspondent, for example, revealing the revolting nature of Berlusconi's adulation in the Knesset are about as the chances of the N.Y.T. investigating and publishing the incitement facets of Israel's nuclear alarmism – lower than zero. ii

At the end of May this year, Netanyahu launched one of his illustrious Churchillian speeches before the two houses of Congress. This time he didn't quite repeated the Shtick of bellowing "Never Again" while waiving a Map of Auschwitz. But, as is his routine, he' played the Shoah card to its full emotional exhortation and applause revenue. After all, the "Ahmadinijadation of Hitler"iii was and still is most profitable (and nobody does it more despicably proficient than Netanyahu) . It achieved American moral legitimization, strategic massive support and prime economic hand-outs.

So what is to be done? I hope this article will be posted on the Web for further deliberations. For now I say, whenever an Israeli Minister or other pleader goes to Washington confront him with a sea of signs reading: "The Israelis are pimping the Holocaust Memory; Mr. President don’t be their John!"

Dr. Meir Stieglitz received his PhD in International Relations from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an M.A in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley and a BA in Economics from the Hebrew University. Dr. Stieglitz did his Post-Doctoral in Nuclear Strategy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is a Philosopher and an independent lecturer currently employed as a consultant to International Investments Groups on global Geo-Political, Strategic and Macro-Economic issues.