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The Girl Who Stole My Holocaust: A Memoir Kindle Edition
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The book is well and sensitively written. The title captured my curiosity and elegantly reflects the content. Theft of innocence I have heard of, but here we have the opposite: the theft of the belief in true evil.
Noam Chayut is what those of us familiar with Israel would call a typical Israeli; independent, strong-willed, and arrogant. It makes sense that he'd be arrogant, because Israel was a country founded on two things; philosophy and desperation. The philosophy was that is was THEIR land, and desperation because it had to be done quickly and with no resources to do it with. Like most Israelis, Chayut goes into the army, becomes an officer, and by his own admittance, most of his work involves taking property, searching the kids rooms while they cower in the corner, all without any due process. I sholdn't criticize too much; the USA did the same in Iraq. Iraq and Afghanistan ain't the USA, so the Bill of Rights doesn't apply there.
Then Chayut leaves the army and realises he was wrong. When he was a kid in school, the Holocaust was used to justify Israel's "fight for survival," but the Holocaust is over. It's no longer making sense as a reason for what Israel does. As for me, I realised a long time ago that the "settler" movement was probably a mistake. Wherever the settlers go, the army follows. If there's an ancient Arab town nearby, the army puts it on lockdown.
Now read the book "Home Girl" by Judith Maitloff. This woman moves into a townhouse in Harlem, right before it became gentrified. The cops aren't much help, and maybe that's the best thing; she toughens up and learns to cope with the locals. Now think hard, what would happen if the NYC cops would stop, frisk, and detain everyone walking down the street, all because a white family moved in? I bet the white family's presence would not be welcome.
Chayut's book reminds me of an article on psychopaths from "American Minds." There are some philosophies that encourage a lack of emathy for others, and I think Zionism is one of them. It's a philosophy that teaches you that you can't be wrong. Under Zionism, every single thing Israel does is perfect; forcing out an Arab town at gunpoint is seen as "security."
I've been losing sympathy for a lot of Israel's problems. Their government needs a policy of "move into Arab lands, and you do so at your own risk."
I had just finished Alan Wolfe's 'Political Evil: What It Is and How to Combat It' which deals with the evils that are driven by political goals , that can either be based on good or evil intention. It covers terrorism and counter-evil.
This memoir covers the same territory, which lets us know how very complicated human interaction is. The mis-use of power and the cornerstone of the theory of a 'Just War' which is anchored in the concept of proportionality, which is not a mere numbers game, but "disproportionate damage amoung non combatants, engaging in collective punishment inflicting suffering on the innocent to teach lessons to the guilty few...", can be applied to Israeli actions, especially in those actions of continually taking Arab lands to expand settlement.
What these actions do to their own soldiers is not dissimilar to what our occupations have done to ours. This is a memoir about one soldier who through his own pain has come to see what he has done in the name of extra-judicial actions. He fortunately for us is not alone in bearing witness.
Israel is with its hubris and self righteousness moving away from the international support it could once count on, because the moderates no longer have a viable voice within their politics; to a place that is undermining their own survival. Their own territorial acquisitions have undermined support, but increasingly has made a two state solution unlikely, and a one state solution untenable, as it cannot hold on to a Jewish state where in a few generations Jews will be a minority...how can a minority hold on to power and have a democracy?
Very moving and a confirmation of things that have been suspected and denied too vehemently. Beautifully written. Kudos to Noam Chayut and the other soldiers who have come forward in Breaking the Silence which continues to take testimony.
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