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Victimhood Contest-I 
By M. Zeyaul Haque

Jews are not longer the only, or greatest, victims of world history

M. Zeyaul HaqueEvery time there is a war or warlike situation in the Middle East, the world media take out their old victimhood files and begin to publish, broadcast and telecast stories on Masada, Jewish diaspora and Nazi Holocaust. All this has a terrible impact on the Palestinian cause: world attention is invariably focused on the past plight of the Jews and away form the present plight of the Palestinians. The world gets busy contemplating the tragic Jewish fiasco at Masada 2500 years ago at the hands of Romans and the Nazi Holocaust 60 years ago, shifting the focus from the Palestinian version of Masada at Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatila, and all over the Israeli occupied territory. Nobody has the time or inclination to consider the fact that the victims of yesteryears (Jews) are the perpetrators of today. Also, Palestinians were never the oppressors of Jews; it is only the Jews who have been oppressing Palestinians.

Last fortnight Discovery Channel ran a documentary on the Dead Sea in which the usual inputs on the destruction of Solomon’s temple, the brave Jewish fight at Masada, and their ultimate defeat and massacre, figured. Of course, the Dead Sea Scrolls and their discovery by Israelis and the discovery of sites archaeologists believe are actually the destroyed towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, also figured in the documentary. There were a few video clips of the ancient Nabatean settlements, who appeared from nowhere, built a great civilization, and disappeared in the dust of history. Incidentally, such documentaries and features on TV, radio and in print media are common fare for times when Israel is busy victimizing Palestinians. The great historian Arnold Toynbee complained bitterly that Israelis are Nazis.

Of course, this aspect of Israel is not too unfamiliar either. The very basis of Zionism is race, and a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Zionism as a form of racism is still fresh in minds. It is this racial arrogance that makes Israel disregard every UN General Assembly resolution with contempt. Even the latest Arab offer of having UN peacekeepers between Israeli army and Arabs has been rejected by Israel, which does not trust the UN, a vast majority of whose members are former colonies, which do not trust Israel’s settler-colonial nature and its allies (which are former colonial powers who have still to forget their old ways). All this does not make Israel look like a country of world’s only, or greatest, victims of history.

That does not deter Israel and Jews from fiercely claiming their Victim No. 1 status. Do as it may, Israel’s Victim No. 1 claim is being unceasingly questioned by Black Americans, a group of people subjected to the worst atrocities imaginable for generations; Palestinians who were driven out of their lands and homes in droves 52 years ago; and colonized people of earth who were the victims of European imperialism in the 19th and 20th century.

The extent of the European excesses can be gauged from the fact that the original inhabitants of America and Australia (two settler-colonies) are almost extinct today. The remaining few are forced to live in isolated jungles and reserves beyond the pale of civilization. Even those colonialists who were finally driven out left the colonies only after exacting a great toll on the colonized people: Italians killed nearly one-fourth population before leaving Libya, and one out of ten Algerians died in the struggle to liberate their country form France. Yet, nobody talks of the victimhood of these people. 

If anybody so much as tries to draw attention to these second and third class victims, Jewish intellectuals get extremely angry. They have an explanation for all kinds of victimhood (including Palestinian) except their own. To them, Hitler and Nazis were unadulterated evil: Pol Pot, Stalin and Truman (who ordered the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) were not quite evil even thought Pol Pot and Stalin killed almost as many people as Hitler.

Some interesting insights can be found from an anti-Semitism site on the Internet. A learned professor has joined issue with the Nation of Islam for publishing a provocative book, The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews. This book is next only to Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which shows Jews in poor light as conspiratorial, hard-bargaining and hard-hearted, reinforcing the image of Shylock (Shakespear’s Jewish character) and the Jew of Malta (Marlow’s character). Naturally, Jews call the Protocols a "forgery." However, this is one forgery which continues to influence a lot of people.

Dr David Walter Leinweber opines that the book is a slanderous, ill-researched and ill-argued work. This shoddy piece of historiography, says the professor, is not worth a review and no academic worth the name has touched it even with a barge pole. This seems to be the case because the Nation of Islam is not known for its intellectual excellence. However, it is not easy to ignore the grievous sense of hurt inflicted by European and American slavery which ruined millions of African lives. It is important to note here that the entire Nation of Islam consists of American Blacks exclusively, and a large number of Black Muslims in the US still belong to this sect.

The professor explains that it is better not to honour books like The Secret Relationship of Blacks and Jews with a review, but seeing the mischief it had already made, he thought it worthwhile to have a look at it. Naturally, he did not like what he saw. He did not like the book’s claim that a far bigger Holocaust -- the Black slave trade holocaust -- needs the world’s attention and sympathies. The professor admits that the Blacks have suffered greatly, but does not like the comparison of their state with the victims of Nazi extermination camps. He warns that if the Blacks persist too much with their claims they might lose sympathy, as if the West is already overflowing with the milk of human kindness and is considering some kind of compensation for the brutalities.

The book suggests (without enough academic substantiation, as Prof. Leinweber points out) that Jews were instrumental in this great anti-human enterprise. The Blacks claim to victimhood is not to be shrugged off so lightly. Nor is the Palestinian claim. But the West ( and its ally, Israel) are yet to pay attention.
(to be concluded)
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