Yanira is the Operations Editor for the Veterans Today Network. She has been on the job since 2008.

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Anti-Militarists Cohn, Hilberg, Finkelstein

Reposting this to rebuke those who would call the slaughter of Gazans a people’s simply getting the raw end of the deal. Kill, starve and imprison Palestinians with your eyes wide-open if you believe in what our government supports in the Middle-East. But do not say you do not know.

If anyone wishes to acquaint himself with a recent massacre in Gaza, I suggest the rigorous analyses of a man, Norman Finkelstein, whose parents were concentration camp survivors. Finkelstein’s latest is This Time We Went Too Far on the willful destruction of Gaza and its alltogether human beings living there, 1.5-million of them. After reading the book, you can call Finkelstein a “Jew Baiter,” an “anti-Semite,” or a “self-hating Jew,” if you must. He’s heard the slander before. But again, do not say you do not know.

Norman Rufus Colin Cohn (January 12, 1915 – July 31, 2007) and Raul Hilberg (June 2, 1926 – August 4, 2007) died within a week of each other this summer.

I intend no meaning in noting the proximity of their deaths, other than to state that these men shared a common disdain for the power of the state aligned with the indifference of its citizens to inflict genocidal catastrophes upon humanity.

And their lives and work ought to live on as a furious reproach to contemporary Americans who passively watch the destruction of over one million Iraqis [Gazans, Palestinians, people] as demagogic figures in American popular culture vilify anyone (achieving a certain level of celebrity) daring to point out the crimes against humanity that war inflicts.

Cohn’s most influential works are The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages (1957) and Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1970).

Hilberg wrote The Destruction of the European Jews (1961), regarded as the seminal study of the Holocaust killing of millions of Jews and millions of other victims.

Both men were historians believing in precision free of ideology in depicting the facts of past occurrence without apology to contemporary political motivations.

Cohn and Hilberg’s eloquence and precision inspired generations of humanists.

Reading Noam Chomsky’s The Culture of Terrorism (1988), Cohn’s words ring out.

All the NAZIs required of the population is a “mood of passive compliance” as Hitler’s Holocaust coursed through Europe as he promised a return to “traditional values” and security for good German families, cites Chomsky.

Passive compliance; that phrase should become an imprecation, a curse reserved for the most despicable of acts.

Norman Finkelstein, a child of concentration camp survivors and a furious critic of violence, writes of Hilberg after his death:

Hilberg famously used the triad Perpetrators-Victims-Bystanders to catalogue the main protagonists in the Nazi holocaust. It is notable that he didn’t include a category for givers of succor, presumably because they were so few in number. Judging by the life he lived, my guess is that, had the tables been turned, Hilberg would have been among those few.

I can’t help but think that Hilberg and Cohn went to their deaths disappointed and saddened as the idiocies of the Bushes, Cheneys, Powells, and Rices go unchallenged by far too many Americans.

However, millions of Americans have come to the conclusion that halting and reversing the obscenity that we as a country inflict upon the people of Iraq ought to become the deciding factor in whom we elect as the next president.

And that conclusion owes nothing to Hilberg and Cohn, but rather is the result of independent, free thinking.

Hilberg and Cohn, as great intellects, would have smiled and saluted that.

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Posted by on February 19, 2010, With 130 Reads Filed under Government & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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4 Responses to "Anti-Militarists Cohn, Hilberg, Finkelstein"

  1. hmpierson  February 21, 2010 at 5:53 am

    As “military veterans,” how do you feel about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban?

    How many times have they attacked the US on our own soil? And how have we responded to that single attack? How many Iraqis and Afghans have we killed in response? 1400? More like 1,400,000. But that’s OK, we’re the United States of America, and we have the right to defend ourselves (unlike Israel, in your view). What does it matter if 45% of the children of Sderot suffer from PTSD?

    Are Al-Qaeda and the Taliban committed to the destruction of the US? Should we overlook that fact and find compassion for them, maybe try to give them food, shelter, fuel? Or should we fire a constant stream of Predator missiles at them, as we have been doing, killing a few dozen Afghan civilians every few days?

    The Palestinians fired over 6400 rockets at Israel over 8 years. How many rockets would the US put up with from Canada or Mexico?

    The Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel and death to all Jews. But of course, you’re incapable of understanding the comparison.

    For starters, let the Gazans meet the criteria of the Quartet – renounce violence, accept the existence of Israel, and recognize prior agreements. Not likely, is it?

    But it’s all Israel’s fault, of course.

    • Michael Leon  February 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      I count some eight questions.

      But as a veterans’ advocate who wrote the piece, I’ll reply and borrow from Stephen Shalom. And no, Shalom is not a NAZI, an anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew or whatever nonsense you might wish to throw at someone objecting to American-Israeli militarism.

      “Both [Israel and the United States] ally themselves with Islamic fundamentalism when it suits their interests: after all, Saudi Arabia is today probably the most fundamentalist regime in the world, and one of Washington’s closest allies. Israel was happy to support Hamas when they viewed the main threat as the secular Palestine Liberation Organization. And the United States was happy to support Afghan mujahedin against the Soviet Union.”
      – Z-Magazine, May 04, 2009
      http://www.zcommunications.org/the-united-states-and-gaza-by-stephen1-shalom

      As for the Palestinians vis a vis Israel, consider that the “mainstream human rights community, … such as Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and Human Rights Watch” document that Israel’s violence against people living in the illegally occupied lands make Israel an aggressor nation that dwarfs the Palestinians’ violence.
      – Beyond Chutzpah
      http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/category/beyond-chutzpah/

      I would love for Israel to admit, with virtually the entire world, that Palestine has a right to exist. And yes, Israel as an aggressor nation bears the brunt of blame for opposing the world consensus and such matters as international law, the United Nations and more importantly: Human rights.

      Does this make Israel unique? No, just another militaristic power whose government believes that militarism is the way forward, keeping quite in the tradition of militaristic states through history.

  2. Tom Dillman  February 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    M.L. > “can’t help but think that Hilberg and Cohn went to their deaths disappointed and saddened as the idiocies of the Bushes, Cheneys, Powells, and Rices go unchallenged by far too many Americans.”

    T.D. > Don’t forget to include the Obama and Democrat crew. Or maybe that’s just a little too sensitive for you wrap your brain around?

    T.D. > If you want to stop America’s politicians from going to war, it’s very simple. Make the government pay for every veteran (and their immediate family when the veteran dies) that they have sent into one hell or another. It is so simple. The cost would be so great, fallacious wars would stop. The Vets would spend the money, so the economy would boom.

    • Michael Leon  February 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      I would include Obama and most of the Democratic Party as well.

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