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Jewish Nazis?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-09-17 09:27:53
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I think it is a couple of years ago when Asa and I were talking about racism and traces of Nazism in the most unexpected places because of an article Asa was writing for Ydin magazine and some research led us to some unexpected results. The strangest was an active Nazi group in Iran with an Internet site that worshipped Hitler, instead of Allah.

The weird thing is that they had or at least they thought that they had all the right arguments for their positions and it made you wonder what would be their destiny if they were alive during Hitler’s era. And that was weird, the latest news of finding a similar group in Israel, now that’s a shock!

What were they thinking? If you have visited Israel you know well that the Holocaust is reminded everywhere and it is well done since people should never forget what happened during WWII and, of course, never repeat the same mistakes; who’s better to commemorate that than Israel itself?

But I think we should give a better note to the semantics of the case. A group of young men in their early twenties immigrated to Israel from Russia and instead of finding the long-described paradise they found that they had to deal if not the same but definitely similar problems, such as unemployment, expenses, low salaries and most of all a state that often stands at the limits of inhuman behavior towards the Palestinians.

Russian has had a problem with extreme right and Nazi groups for a long time and it has been suggested that the Russian state is doing very little to deal with the problem. The possible argument is that nothing came easily for the Russian democracy over the last twenty years. After the collapse of the Wall and the USSR as a superpower, the people showed a somehow expected turn from any form of socialism to a conservatism that often led to the edges of extreme right. Anything that reminded them of the old system was bad and that led them from one side to the other. Russia has also had to face increasing unemployment, plus it is joining all the western habits and institutions with inflation.

People were queuing again but this time it was not for special goods and this time there were no excuses just corrupt politicians, the Russian mafia, bad economy and bad handling of economic sources, such as industry, agriculture and everything that made Russia proud in the past. The Jews who lived in the USSR have a long history of persecution that started centuries ago, so at the start of the 21st century you already have two generations that try to find their way among the ruins, plus the disadvantage of being a Jew and often discriminated against. For the parents of those kids Israel was and is paradise, their experiences under the Soviet regime will never let them see otherwise.

Israel from its side has made all the mistakes by the book to create a troubled generation and here I’m not judging what’s going on in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, since after so long I have the feeling that they have both forgotten any other way of life and they just live to fight. The concept of peace is literally unknown to both. In Israel the enemy has a face, a color and religion and that’s the worst of all. It is natural for young kids that come from an already sick and traumatic environment to adapt to the worst part of the new environment.

I can imagine the shock and the disappointment of the Israeli people after being seeing the pictures of young Jews wearing the swastika and saluting like Nazis, while worshipping the worst enemy of the Jewish nation. I can imagine how angry some will be, especially the ones who actually saw the horror and there are many still alive in Israel but shouldn’t the Israel state try to find where it went wrong before starting to blame the nationality of these young people?

The Israeli state had the chance to educate and care for these kids and fortunately due to their young age still has a chance. They shouldn’t focus upon what went wrong, but try to correct it because this was just the tip of the iceberg. This time they can blame it on Russia but the next time they will only have themselves to blame and it will be too late - today’s gang and group can easily become tomorrow’s army.

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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-17 13:02:07
Food for thought! It inevitably led me to ponder once again the bizarre scene a few years ago of a prince of England dunning a Nazi uniform. It was a juvenile prank of course, but are those the kind of pranks that anyone, never mind a prince of England, should engage in? One is at a loss on how to explain this reprehensible phenomenon of Nazi fascination among the new young generation. Perhaps somebody who can be helpful here is Tony Judt who has recently written a voluminous and authoritative book on Europe after World War II. He coined an interesting concept which he called “misremembering,” By that he meant simply this: that while commemorations and monuments and museums galore continue to proliferate in post-war Western society, the real lessons of the Holocaust in sheer dehumanization remain largely unexamined by the media and the public at large. As per Judt, in the West rather than discussing those lessons we prefer to tip one’s hat to the Holocaust and then move on with our lives full speed ahead into a future of inevitable progress. After prince William’s prank I became more convinced than ever that Tony Judt had an important insight that needs to be pondered and discussed extensively, unless dehumanization has reached a point which makes it impossible. Unfortunately this concept of misremembering remains largely unexplored. We continue to commemorate and then misremember. Now, that being the sad example of the older generations, are we to be surprised that the new generation thinks of Hitler and the horrors of the Holocaust as some sort of circus act?

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-17 13:46:26

P.S. History comes alive not only by examining what actually happened but also by asking the question “what if…” Here is one such question: what if some of those young “Nazi Jews” above described had arrived in Israel from the Soviet Union at its birth in the late forties when Stalin was still the supreme unquestioned lord and master and benefactor of the Soviet Union. How would they have behaved? I suppose the answer to that question is contingent on the ideological lenses one happens to be wearing. But by discussion with those who entertain a different point of view one could also hope to come close to the truth of the matter.

Asa2007-09-17 15:59:46
Actually, Prince Harry wasn't wearing a Nazi uniform as such. He was wearing the uniform of the Finnish army during WW2, which carried its own version of the swastika used long before Nazi Germany took it over.

According to Hank (thanks!):

The blue Swastika was on the first airplane donated from count the Swedish Count Erik von Rosen in 1918, the Finnish air Force then adapted this sign. As did a few other Baltic nations.

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-17 16:53:00
I stand corrected on both counts: for having both the wrong uniform and the wrong prince, but I am afraid that even with those corrections Prince's Harry's rationale for dunning that uniform not only sounds a bit disengeneous but leads one to another perplexity: what caused the stir in the media, the fact that Prince Harry has a fascination with the Finnish air force, or perhaps with Hindu mythological symbols, or the fact that he, despite a first rate education, was ignorant of what the swastika conjures up in the mind of those who do not "misremeber" their history?

In any case, the point I attempted to make goes beyond Prince Harry to a whole segnment of the new generation fascinated by Nazism, and to older generations who erect monuments galore to the Holocaust but then ignore the victims of Stalin's crime which at the very least equalled those of Hitler. Those bizarre phenomena remain to be examined under the light of truth which is an equal opportunity critic. Perhaps the very concept of what truth is needs to be examined and discussed in our brave new world.

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-17 21:26:43
P.S. There is in fact a deeper point to the shocking phenomenon of the “Nazi-Muslims” or the “Nazi Jews,” or the "Nazi Christian," for that matter; those who went to Church on Christmas and then went back to their job of burning people into oven the next day and somehow rationalized it all. It was pointed out by Carl Jung in his book Modern Man in Search of a Soul: when Man, who is naturally a religious creature, cavalierly degrades or discards religion as such, it comes back in a distorted way as a fanatical cult or an ideology, sometimes exhibiting the very symbols of the religion that has been discarded. Paradoxically, the ideology becomes a sort of religionless religion. The swastika is indeed a cross, albeit a crooked one leaving no room for any kind of transcendence. He also pointed out that, willy nilly, symbols powerfully direct Man’s life and destiny; that while Man makes symbols, the opposite is also true: symbols make Man. When symbols point to no transcendent reality, they become idol and Man becomes an idolater worshipping the products of his own hands or mind. I suggest that those revealing insights are worthy of our attention in our brave new world, for they partly explain the above described abnormal social phenomena.

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