A Nazi by any other name


 Akiva Eldar




 Thursday, 4 April 2002

      The Israeli liberal left was quick to join the chorus of protests against Nobel Literature laureate Jose Saramago for drawing a comparison between the situation in Ramallah and the Auschwitz death camp. Gentiles who liken Jews to Nazis or to collaborators with the Nazis are denounced - justly so - as anti-Semites. Some even wrote that Saramago had made Israelis fair play for assailants with his comments.

On the other hand, Israeli left-wing liberals find nothing wrong with co-signing a "covenant" with a Jew like Brigadier General (res.) Effi Eitam, who called the Palestinians a "cancer in the body of the nation." The fact that the Nazis were especially fond of this metaphor is probably not lost on the general. 

By the same token, the women members of "Kapowatch" - the response of the rightist Women in Green to "Machsomwatch," which was set up to observe the behavior of Israeli soldiers at checkpoints in the West Bank - know what a "kapo" is. The kapos were Jews who acted as police for the Nazis in the death camps (although in the end most of them were also murdered). 

And what crime did the women who watch the checkpoints commit to be thus branded? "They are a group of traitors from the extreme left," wrote Nadia Matar, the leader of Women in Green to her colleagues last week. She urged them to stand up against "the anti-Israeli organization that supports the enemy under the guise of being a human rights organization that wants to ensure that the soldiers are nice to the Arabs." 

Matar reports that she and Yael from the settlement of Tekoa and Jacqueline from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo visited an army checkpoint north of Bethlehem early one morning to boost the morale of the soldiers and offer them refreshments. "At 7 o'clock the traitors from the left arrived," Matar wrote. "I had asked Jacqueline to bring a camera and I started to follow the women and photograph them. They asked me who I was and I replied, `We are from KapoWatch, we are photographing Jewish traitors. We are adding your names to the black list of collaborators with the Arab enemy, so that when the time comes you will be placed on trial for crimes against the Jewish people on its soil.'" 

If KapoWatch members don't understand they are emulating Samarago, they would do well to have a look at a book by former Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky, "In a Jewish Jail: From the Diary of a Political Prisoner." On page 18 Shilansky, who was a member of the National Military Organization (Irgun, led by Menachem Begin) and afterward a Herut and Likud MK, writes about the Jewish collaborators: "Everyone murdered, including the Jews in the service of the Germans, and nearly every Jew who wore a ribbon of a deputy Kapo on his hand murdered, with only a few exceptions." 

In his book "The Seventh Million" Tom Segev reports how Holocaust survivors lynched former Kapos. On January 9, 1946, the daily Hatzofeh, the organ of the religious Zionist movement, called on the authorized institutions "to liquidate these people." 

Jews, it seems, are allowed everything. That includes the liberty of likening Jews to Israel's worst enemies, while at the same time whining about those who liken Jews to Israel's worst enemies. They can foment a disturbance against the playing of Wagner as an encore to those in the audience who want to stay and hear it. They can also shrug off as a "technical mistake" an army officer's order to write numbers on the arms of Palestinian prisoners. 


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