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Written on December 4, 2004, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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I try not to go on and on about the middle-east, but it keeps on grabbing my attention. I previously discussed it online here, and here.

Israel shocked by image of soldiers forcing violinist to play at roadblock

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Monday November 29, 2004 The Guardian

Here’s a short video of it that you have to see.

For some reason, this incident where a Palestinian man was forced to play the violin at an Israeli checkpoint has horrified the Israeli nation. I don’t agree with the whole of this analysis but it’s thought provoking from inside the Israeli psyche, and I quote from it here:

…after the incident was videotaped by Jewish women peace activists, it prompted revulsion among Israelis not normally perturbed about the treatment of Arabs.

The rightwing Army Radio commentator Uri Orbach found the incident disturbingly reminiscent of Jewish musicians forced to provide background music to mass murder. “What about Majdanek?” he asked, referring to the Nazi extermination camp.

The critics were not drawing a parallel between an Israeli roadblock and a Nazi camp. Their concern was that Jewish suffering had been diminished by the humiliation of Mr Tayem.

Yoram Kaniuk, author of a book about a Jewish violinist forced to play for a concentration camp commander, wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the soldiers responsible should be put on trial “not for abusing Arabs but for disgracing the Holocaust”.

“Of all the terrible things done at the roadblocks, this story is one which negates the very possibility of the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. If [the military] does not put these soldiers on trial we will have no moral right to speak of ourselves as a state that rose from the Holocaust,” he wrote.

“If we allow Jewish soldiers to put an Arab violinist at a roadblock and laugh at him, we have succeeded in arriving at the lowest moral point possible. Our entire existence in this Arab region was justified, and is still justified, by our suffering; by Jewish violinists in the camps.”

Personally, I find the pumping of a 13 year old girl full of bullets as she lay on the ground, and the desecration of Palestinian corpses by putting their heads on poles and lit cigarettes in their mouths to be much worse. But is is eerily similar to the Nazi humiliations perpetrated on the Jews, and this is not the first time Jewish / Israeli commentators have said this.

The Justice Minister Yosef Lapid recently said that a TV picture of an elderly Palestinian woman in the rubble reminded him of his grandmother (in Eastern Europe under Nazi occupation) and was censured for saying so: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3740649.stm

The constant humiliation and suffering endured by Palestinians every day is one reason why Marwan Barghouti has a real chance of being elected, even stuck in his prison cell.

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