In London schools today, children are taught about the Holocaust, how bad the Nazis were. But, asks jazz musician and writer Gilad Atzmon, is anyone teaching about the immorality of Empire? Or Israeli aggression in Gaza? Atzmon is confident the real lesson is being learnt - that genocide, by whichever side, is evil.
In case you didn’t know, in Britain the Holocaust is part of the National Curriculum. Thanks to the ‘The Holocaust Educational Trust’ our children are guaranteed to learn how bad the Nazis were. This is probably much easier for our kids to acknowledge than to look into the ways in which the embarrassing legacy of the British Empire reverberates throughout almost every contemporary disastrous conflict on this planet.
It is deemed far easier for our kids to learn about Anne Frank than to absorb the fact that Britain is directly responsible for the robbery of Palestine and the Palestinian ordeal. Learning about Auschwitz is also far easier than accepting the devastating reality created by Britain’s latest illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a colossal crime which has cost more than 1.5 million innocent lives so far.
Thanks to The Holocaust Educational Trust we can brush history and our current crimes aside. Learning about the bad Nazis is far easier on our children than learning about the complicity of Britain in the holocaust. I guess that toughening British immigration laws to stop Jews escaping to Britain in the 1930s is not a prominent chapter in our kids’ text books.
The Holocaust Educational Trust was established in 1988 says their official website. “Our aim is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today.”
Wonderful, I think to myself. My nine-year-old son told me that a Shoa guru visited his school recently to talk about the holocaust. My son raised his hand, he wondered whether the lesson of the holocaust could be applied to the Palestinian ordeal. “We are not here to talk about politics” answered the ‘trusted’ trained Shoa mentor. For my son the message was clear: The Jewish people’s suffering is universal, other people’s suffering is ‘politics’.
“The Trust,” says the website, “works in schools, universities and in the community to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, providing teacher training, an outreach program for schools, teaching aids and resource material. One of our earliest achievements was ensuring that the Holocaust formed part of the National Curriculum for History.”
This is indeed a great achievement, I cannot agree more. I also know that during the next Israeli murderous operation in Gaza, Lebanon or Iran our kids will watch TV and even briefly glance at the papers. They will understand it all, they are not as stupid as the ‘Educational’ Trust believes them to be. They will grasp that the Jewish State is currently the world’s most terrorist state, that it is a genocidal democracy and is, not only a danger to world peace, but also a danger to our notion of humanism.
The reaction to the 2009 Israeli Defence Force genocide in Gaza was overwhelming. It matured into a clear rise of antipathy towards Israel and Jewish lobbies around the world. Haaretz reported recently of a record rise (100 per cent) in anti-Semitic incidents around the world. Interestingly enough, the highest rise was reported in Britain.
I also learn from friends and parents around me that in London high schools the word ‘Jew’ is an offensive derogatory term. It is a signifier for immoral and abusive behavior. Seemingly, the Educational Trust efforts’ boomeranged. Teaching our children about Jewish suffering made them universally ethically attentive.
My nine-year-old son told me that a Shoa guru visited his school recently to talk about the holocaust. My son raised his hand, he wondered whether the lesson of the holocaust could be applied to the Palestinian ordeal. “We are not here to talk about politics” answered the ‘trusted’ trained Shoa mentor. For my son the message was clear: The Jewish people’s suffering is universal, other people’s suffering is ‘politics’.
“We continue to play a leading role in training teachers on how best to teach the Holocaust,” the trust’s site goes on and I wonder, what is indeed the best way to teach the holocaust? How can the trust ensure that youngsters out there won’t come up with the inevitable conclusion? How can you teach students about unspeakable horrors and yet curtail them from landing at the vital understanding that Israel is actually the ultimate racist expansionist state specialising in genocidal tactics?
The answer is simple. You can’t. Imposing the holocaust on our kids will backfire. If anything it will lead to an increased focus on Israeli crimes committed in the name of the Jewish people. If Holocaust indoctrination is as successful as the Trust argues, it will necessary lead our children to grasp that killing in the name of Jewish suffering is a total ethical disaster.
I would like to leave you with the Trust’s latest initiative: a new award was announced recently to honor “British citizens who helped aid and rescue Jews and other groups persecuted in the Holocaust.”
I am the one, I am sure everyone can see it. Give me the award.
I am a British citizen. I also write about Israel, Zionism and Jewish identity using the most critical language. I expose the crimes committed by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people. I expose the listed Israeli propaganda authors in our government and press. If Jews listen to me they may be able to rescue themselves in time from the total disaster they are collectively bringing on themselves.
I also save my British fellow citizens. If they listen to me they may dismantle the Holocaust Education Trust and send their kids to Gaza or the West Bank rather than to Auschwitz. Such an act would help to teach our children the true meaning of historical responsibility (in the context of the Balfour declaration). And I also try to save another persecuted group, namely the Palestinians, by addressing the crimes committed against them in the name of the holocaust.
Being a perfect candidate for the ‘Holocaust award’, I am already cheered by the Educational Trust’s vision of my effort.
“The Holocaust Educational Trust believes that such individuals (like me) embody all that is best about Britain - and deserve formal recognition, not only to acknowledge their deeds but to serve as an example to future generations about the importance of making a stand against racism, discrimination and other forms of injustice.”
I always felt that they must appreciate my efforts after all.
Note: Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He lives in London, and is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America. Visit Gilad Atzmon at http://www.gilad.co.uk/.