Museum of Tolerance: Israel’s Blindness

By Lillian Rosengarten

We are by now too familiar with the label anti-Semite aimed towards all who dissent from the deplorable policies of Netanyahu’s right-wing disaster. It does not matter if the resistance to Israeli occupation and ongoing collective punishment arises from the actions of Jews, Muslims, atheists, socialists or any human rights activists. In addition, Jew against Jew has created a deeply disturbing divide that pits Jews against one another and seriously questions what it means to be Jewish within a context of compassion or as a fear response to having once been dehumanized and thoroughly victimized. How can this justify the continuous role of Israel as victimizer in the form of an obscene collective punishment, an entire population marginalized, hated, left war torn and homeless without freedom. What is the message to the world after decades of this occupied prison?

I personally have been called an anti-Semite and nothing could be farther from the truth. My motives are not anti Jewish but rather antiwar I see as fascism in the form of an extreme nationalistic Zionism. This behavior cannot help but destroys the soul of Judaism a spiritual religion that ascribes to tolerance, compassion, does not kill and has the courage to reflect on its way of life.  It is by now known that the Knesset, the core of Israeli government has thrown out a female Arab-Israeli member, Hanin Zuabi, who had the audacity to participate in protest against her country’s actions. She witnessed the brutal murder of 9 unarmed activists on the ill fated Mavi Marmara that attempted to break the Gaza siege. She is now threatened with the loss of her Israeli citizenship.

Yes it is me again, Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany shouting to the world, never again, not in my name." Every day I am bombarded with news of some other atrocity in the name of protecting the "democratic state of Israel." I want to awaken from this nightmare. I no longer can tolerate to hear, “Palestinians do not recognize Israel and wish to destroy us." How much longer can we hear Netanyahu’s mantra (US complicit here) "we will never recognize the terrorists Hamas” (legally elected by a majority of Palestinians.) I want to reiterate again, those who call others terrorists must reflect on the terrorism within themselves. The US is grossly guilty of similar careless projections of the label "terrorist" while refusing to acknowledge their own use of terrorism. Tragically Israel and the US both suffer from inordinate forms of extreme denial on the nature of their own violent behavior to keep wars and human suffering going and cannot self reflect on their ego maniacal political agendas. Other countries aid violence by selling arms and contribute powerfully as destroyers of human life in exchange for exorbitant payments.

Recent news has induced a cringe response. Germany sold a torpedo submarine to Israel, capable of deploying nuclear missiles and firing nuclear holocaust. How is this possible? Can it be a form of German restitution to assuage unconscious (or conscious) guilt by association with their infamous history when Nazi insanity and rabid anti-Semitism coupled with Aryan delusions of grandeur ruled Germany? I do not claim to know yet recognize the sheer lunacy to send weapons to Israel. Do we need more killings and endless suffering? Where is the resistance, the outrage? I need to hear more, louder, stronger. Does the Israeli agenda now include a nuclear war with Iran? Has Israel completely lost all reality? I can say much the same for the US that would engage mindlessly with Israel for we are Israel’s strongest ally for an exorbitant corrupt price. Is the agenda of Netanyahu’s right wing hoodlums to blow up all their neighbors to become the only country in the Middle East and the “only democracy?"  Let Israel not become victim to its own self-fulfilling prophesy by their own hand. Such a nightmare, calling for the destruction of Israel cannot happen. Israel along with their Palestinian neighbors MUST change political direction. As of now, Israel is drowning in a sea of paranoia and fear. How can a democracy and brutal occupation exist together? How is it so many remain blind? It has happened before in the 30’s but this time it occurs with a twist of fate. Racism lives in a different form yet is equally virulent. I am afraid. Left undisturbed, this myth of democracy will support a continuous unending tragedy for both Palestine and Israel. They must, in order to survive face each other with honest dialogue and sincere attempts at mutual understanding and compromise.

Now I end with some comments on Israel’s harsh decision to build museum over a century old Muslim graveyard. For years Muslims struggled unsuccessfully to prevent this construction. The irony is the "museum of tolerance" is being built to promote coexistence and is a project of the Simon Wiesenthal (Nazi hunter) center. Ultra orthodox Jews claim ancient Jewish graves were once located there. Instead of tolerance, one sees arrogance, racism, infantilism, and utter righteousness in action. Can it be this provocative and destructive decision serves to reinforce the tragic rise once again of worldwide anti-Semitism?

– Lillian Rosengarten, a refugee from Nazi Germany is a Buddhist practitioner, poet, writer and a pacifist. She contributed this article to Contact her at:

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