Wednesday, June 24, 2015

  • Wednesday, June 24, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Geneva, June 24 - The research team that released a report of its investigation into Israeli and Palestinian combat conduct during last summer's war in and around the Gaza Strip is now saying that although they found the work gratifying and important, next time they are called upon to produce such a report they will save significant time, effort, and money by simply reprinting old issues of the Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer.

The tabloid, which was published more or less regularly between 1923 and 1945, except when wartime paper shortages disrupted production, helped the Nazi Party cement its hold on the sensibilities of the working class by reinvigorating and cultivating the crudest antisemitic tropes of medieval Europe. With hundreds of issues available, the all-but-inevitable report on any upcoming renewal of Israel-Hamas hostilities will thus prove much easier to prepare, says Schabas-Davis Commission head Mary McGowan Davis.

"With the fighting erupting again every couple of years, Human Rights Council research teams charged with finding evidence of Israeli war crimes are going to have their work cut out for them," said Davis. "Interviewing thousands of Palestinians, collating reams of Hamas-provided casualty statistics, finding just the right emotive excerpts to include in a report, dismissing Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties - all that takes a lot of time and energy. While it feels worthwhile to undermine the legitimacy of Jewish self-defense, our team realized only belatedly that we were reinventing the wheel."

Davis pointed to several archived issues of the Nazi tabloid as illustration. "It's all there: wholesale libel, ignoring context, misusing Jewish sources, accepting outlandish, uncorroborated anecdotes as fact, and just repeating the Big Lie, all in service of justifying attacks on Jews and promoting an atmosphere that questions any Jewish right to exist, let alone to defend themselves. We spent months and months conducting biased interviews, selectively quoting various sources, and uncritically recording propaganda for later parroting, when all we had to do to achieve the same result was take the existing Nazi, er, literature and adapt it to the Gaza context. Would have taken half the time."

"Some people think of the UN as big jobs racket," said former commission head William Schabas. "But that's not really the case. Select agencies of the organization fit that description, such as UNRWA. But in general it's important to apply budgetary sensitivity to our work, and recycling the antisemitic content of Der Stürmer instead of duplicating Julius Striecher's tireless efforts against international Jewry would go a long way toward streamlining the Human Rights Council's operations."

Schabas also noted some concerns over use of the Nazi material, but does not anticipate any unresolvable difficulties. "Striecher was convicted of crimes against humanity at Nüremberg for his role in fostering the atmosphere in which the Final Solution was possible, so some of our colleagues have expressed reservations at this idea," he explained. "But international law has changed, and there is no serious worry that this could come back to haunt us."

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