Saturday, 1 March 2008

Why keep apologising to the Jews?, Alex Agnew

There is a belief that, with Hitler’s death and the end of Nazism, the ancestral hatred of which Jews were the object in Europe became a thing of the past. But reality reminds regularly and brutally that this is not the case, though it must also be said that most Europeans (like the Prince de Ligne who warned in 1801 that "this 1800-year-old anger has lasted long enough") do not subscribe to such obnoxious views.

It has been reported that a popular Flemish magazine, P-magazine, carried an interview of comedian Alex Agnew who made statements that reflect the familiar and, by now, 2008-year-old "anger":

"And why should we keep apologising to the Jews who let themselves be killed in concentration camps, instead of fighting with a weapon in their hands as my grand-father did (he was an English soldier)?".

Surely, Alex Agnew must joking. Apologies? Who has so far apologised for the slaughter of six million European Jews - of which one and half million were children? How many survivors have received a letter expressing regret for the murder, gassing, torture, deportation, spoliation of their relatives?

Did Gypsies and other victims of the Nazis and their accomplices also let themselves be killed rather than fight with a weapon in their hands? Who has apologised to the Gypsies? Who talks about their martyrdom? What were they guilty of other than being born?

"I live among Hassidic Jews in Berchem. And sometimes I think: "If they have always behaved themselves in the way they behave themselves towards us nowadays, I am not surprised at the fate meted out to them several times in the past."

If one accepts Alex Agnew’s warped reasoning, then the victims of wars, massacres, religious or racial persecution, colonialism are the guilty parties whereas their tormenters and executioners deserve our understanding.

In 2001, P-magazine published a disturbing poem by Rudolphus De Groote entitled "The free-thinker ":

"I do not like the shape of the country of Israel.
To me, its shape is far too thin and far too long.
It makes me think of a tapeworm.
I do not like Israel’s policies.
To me, they are far too bloody
and have no respect for the native population.
It makes me think of a tapeworm.
I do not like the Jewish religion of the country of Israel.
To me, this religion is too arrogant and parasitic,
it relentlessly exploits feelings of collective guilt that
have lasted for over half a century.
It makes me think of a tapeworm.
I am not anti-Semitic.
Israel deserves such a qualification. (…)
Since its creation in 1948, Israel has
Transformed anti-Semitism into a popular culture
and state terrorism into a trademark. (…)
Israel has exploited to the full
[literally: milked the cow to the very last drop]
the anti-Jewish sentiment it ascribes to others, and
has turned it into a shield to cover the carnage it perpetrates. (…)
Slowly but surely, Europe is liberating itself
from the penitence which has been inflicted on it
since World War II.
It is indeed odd that it has taken so long
for the world to realize that one genocide
does not justify another.
An umpteenth monument, museum or memorial, erected
under the pressure of the Holocaust industrialists
will have no effect whatsoever.
Moreover, it is indecent to dance on the corpses of one’s ancestors. (…)"

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