Is Their a Justification for Collective Punishment?


         

Is Their a Justification for Collective Punishment?

 
 
 
 

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Einstein, Germany, and the "Palestinians"

By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

In a message honoring the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto, Albert Einstein declared:

The Germans as an entire people are responsible for the mass murders and must be punished as a people if there is justice in the world and if the consciousness of collective responsibility in the nations is not to perish from the earth entirely. Behind the Nazi party stands the German people, who elected Hitler after he had in his book [Mein Kampf] and in his speeches made his shameful [genocidal] intentions clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding.

Are not Yasser Arafat's genocidal intentions toward the Jews of Israel also "clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding"? Has he not repeatedly declared Jihad against Israel since the day after he signed the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles of September 13, 1993? Have not the Palestinian Arabs again and again heard Arafat's declarations of war against Israel but nonetheless elected him as their Fuhrer? Must they not therefore be held collectively responsible for the brutal murder of Jews perpetrated by their government, the "Palestinian Authority"? And must they not be punished, as Einstein said of the German people, "if there is justice in the world and if the consciousness of collective responsibility in the nations is not to perish from the earth entirely"?

Is it not clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding that these Palestinian Arabs glorify the suicide bombers who have reduced Jewish men, women, and children to body parts? Is it not clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding that these Arabs teach their children to emulate these murderers? Is it not clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding that poll after poll of these Arabs reveal their desire to destroy Israel?

This being so, why does the government of Israel risk the lives of Jewish soldiers to minimize "collateral damage"? Is not such a policy doubly unjust? On the one hand, does it not deny that the Arab Palestinians are collectively responsible for the murderous acts of their leaders? On the other hand, does it not place the lives of Jewish soldiers on the same level as the lives of these Arab Palestinians? And does this not make the Government of Israel complicit in the murder of its own people? Must we not conclude that this Government has murdered the sense of justice in Israel?

But must we not hold that the government of the United States is morally culpable for exonerating and even aiding the Arab Palestinians, that is, of Arabs who are collectively responsible for the murder of Jews? Is there no connection between the murder of Jews in Israel and the murder of Americans in Iraq? Does this manifest the working of justice in this God-forsaken world?

Albert Einstein was a gentle man, very much inclined to pacifism. But above and beyond his desire for peace was his ardent desire for justice. The policy of the Sharon Government vis-a-vis the Arab Palestinians is motivated not by a sense of justice but by a sickly benevolence rendered all the more revolting by a desire to be acceptable to nations themselves devoid moral integrity.

Albert Einstein's message honoring the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto stands as a profound denunciation of the unheroic character of the Sharon Government.

Epilogue: The fact that he gave the IDF the green light to kill Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin does not make Prime Minister Sharon a resurrected hero, as the na?ve would like to believe. Even if Sharon were to order the IDF to utterly destroy Hamas-which he should have done three years ago and had thus prevented the murder of some 377 Jews-he is still determined to turn over Gaza, Jewish land, to the Palestinian (terrorist) Authority and uproot some 8,000 Jews from their homes. Nothing could be more contrary to Einstein's passionate commitment to Justice and to the heroism of the Warsaw ghetto.

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from the May 2004 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

 

 

 

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