Last Shabbat my husband Alex began telling me about the huge hypocrisy of the Europeans in condemning Israel over the “occupation” and “right of return” considering how they have dealt with such matters themselves. I was astounded at the information he proceeded to give me and asked him to please write it down so I could share it with all of you. Here it is: read and be amazed.
The hypocrisy of the virtue-signaling “enlightened” Left
by Alex Ragen
At the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia forcibly expelled some 2.4 million Germans from Sudetenland, about a third of the area’s population. The Czechoslovak government justified the expulsion – which it termed a “deportation” – on the grounds that the Sudeten Germans had been a major cause of the war and destruction inflicted by the Nazis: thousands of them had served in the Nazi armed forces and Gestapo and participated in political murders as well as the deportations of the country’s Jews.
In the years before the war, the Sudeten Fascist party, which won 90% of the German vote in the last election, organized – under the personal direction of Hitler – violent demonstrations demanding annexation to Germany, as well as a brutal purge of its opponents. Hitler’s threats to invade Czechoslovakia under the pretext of “protecting the German minority” led to the infamous Munich Agreement that forced Czechoslovakia to cede Sudetenland to Germany. A few months later Hitler violated the agreement by taking control of the rest of Czechoslovakia.
The horrific Nazi crimes against the people of Czechoslovakia are well documented, and the anger of the victims entirely understandable. Indeed, for months before the official expulsion – a period known as the “Wild Expulsions” – hundreds of Sudeten Germans were murdered in private acts of vengeance.
Edvard Beneš, the head of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, had declared that “what the Germans have done in our land since 1938 will be revenged on them multifold and mercilessly”. Sergěj Ingr, its Minister of National Defense, told his countrymen to “beat them [the Germans], kill them, let nobody survive”.
The Czechoslovak National Assembly enacted a law that provided amnesty for acts “aimed at righteous retaliation for deeds of occupants or their collaborators”, even if these acts would otherwise be illegal. In other words, any and all acts of violence, including murder or rape, committed against Sudeten Germans, even by private persons, were declared not punishable by law.
The official government-organized expulsion followed. The expelled were stripped of their citizenship and were not compensated for property left behind. Altogether, there were an estimated 20,000 casualties in the course of the expulsion, including violent death, suicide, rape and death in internment camps.
Despite the brutality of the expulsion, the United Nations did not pass a single resolution condemning Czechoslovakia or its leaders’ exhortations to kill all Germans, or urging a “right of return”; nor did the UN establish a special commission to house and feed the refugees and generations of their descendants forever; nor was there any call to affix special labels noting the expulsion to products produced in Sudetenland so that “progressives” across the West could express their displeasure; nor did there arise a BDS movement that called for Czechoslovakia’s economic destruction.
Nor was a case ever brought against Czechoslovakia or its leaders for “war crimes”, or “collective punishment”, or “crimes against humanity” in any international judicial forum. This for two reasons: no such judicial forum existed at the time, and more importantly, the expulsion had been approved in advance by the Allied leaders, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, at the 1945 Potsdam Conference, after the war’s end.
Germany quietly accepted all the Sudeten deportees, granted them citizenship, and integrated them into German society. In later years, a number of lawsuits were filed with the UN Human Rights Committee, which issued decisions calling for the Czech Republic to return confiscated property to its owners. All these decisions were ignored by the Czech government, which in 1997 reached an agreement with Germany in which both sides “expressed regret” and “took full responsibility”, but neither side undertook to do anything further.
In 2015, six decades after the expulsion, the Sudeten German Homeland Association finally threw in the towel, issuing a statement that recognized its share of responsibility for the persecution and murder of Czechs and Jews during the war and abandoning all claims for repatriation and compensation.
That story is finally over, and all sides have moved on.
In 1948, only two years after the Sudeten expulsion, many thousands of Palestinian Arabs voluntarily left their homes in response to the Arab League’s call to get out of the way so that its invading armies could “drive the Jews into the sea” unhindered. After Israel’s heroic efforts expelled the Arab invaders, the Palestinian Arabs who had helpfully gotten out of the way found themselves stranded in the countries that had invited them to take temporary refuge within their borders.
In response, the United Nations has passed hundreds of resolutions condemning Israel and urging a “right of return”; established a special commission to house and feed the “refugees” and unlimited generations of their descendants forever; European nations repeatedly call for special labels to be affixed to products produced in the “occupied territories” so that “progressives” across the West can express their pious displeasure at the failure of Israel’s neighbors to drive the Jews into the sea; the EU is preparing a blacklist of Israeli companies operating in the “occupied territories”, and a BDS movement has arisen that calls for Israel’s economic destruction.
Seventy years later, the story of the Palestinian Arabs is far from over. In contrast to Germany, which acknowledged its responsibility for the war and accepted and resettled the refugees, the Arab countries that attacked Israel have never expressed regret or accepted responsibility for the unprovoked attack – after all, there were then no Palestinian refugees. Instead, they denied the refugees citizenship and encouraged them to continue their “armed struggle” from the camps to which they were confined, in the process spawning an alphabet soup of terrorist groups that continue to plague the entire world, not only Israel.
The fact that roughly the same number of Jews were brutally expelled from some of those same Arab countries after 1948 – and thousands murdered in pogroms – has been studiously ignored, even though one might consider it a population exchange, like the now-forgotten exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey after World War I. Israel granted full citizenship to the expelled Jews and made every effort to integrate them into Israeli society. No one even talks about repatriation or compensation of property for the Arab Jews.
The tens of millions of European refugees of World War II have all been resettled, and the refugee camps shut down and abandoned decades ago. Not so the Palestinian Arabs. They remain imprisoned in their squalid camps, hostages to the belligerent Arab states in their unending war against the Jewish state, housed, fed and clothed by the “enlightened” European countries so nobly determined to once again bring about “peace in our time”.
Today Israel’s leaders and IDF officers find themselves accused of war crimes in the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and face arrest should any of them ever set foot in Europe. No one is surprised that none of the Arab leaders – Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, or Assad père et fils – have ever had to face an international tribunal to account for their well-documented mass murders of their own people, or had their international travel hindered in any way.
Throughout it all, despite the terror attacks that have killed thousands of Israelis, the country’s leaders have never urged their followers to “mercilessly avenge” the terrorism, as the Czechoslovak leaders did, yet they are repeatedly accused of doing so. The leaders of the terror groups and their “spiritual leaders” do use such language – their school textbooks overflow with it and have been poisoning the minds of their children for years – but no one is ever called out for it.
If the world community would apply to itself the standards it demands of Israel, Poland would have to return East Prussia to Germany, the United Kingdom would have to return Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic, and the descendants of non-native peoples in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand would be forced to return to their ancestral homelands. Of course, no one imagines that anything like this could ever happen.
Whence this double standard? How is that wars undertaken in self-defense are suddenly declared to be crimes against humanity, but only certain wars. How is it that territories acquired in such a war are declared to be “occupied territories”, but only certain territories? How is it that these “humanitarian” standards are applied only to one country, why can a NATO member like Turkey invade Cyprus and occupy its north since 1973 without a word of protest from the international community while Israel cannot pave a road through 50 meters of “occupied territory” without a deafening chorus of international censure?
It’s tempting to put this double standard down to anti-Semitism, but that would be only partly true. If the Arab nations were still the poverty-stricken disease-ridden illiterate Third World hovels that they were at the end of the nineteenth century, if Europe had not consumed itself in two World Wars and now desperately needed their oil and gas, perhaps things would be different.
Or perhaps not. Are the British Labor Party and American Democratic Party and Amnesty International – indeed, the entire political Left – really so deeply concerned for the welfare of the “oppressed Palestinians suffering under the brutal Israeli Occupation”? Or is it more akin to what George Orwell discovered about the prewar British Left when writing The Road to Wigan Pier – that they didn’t love the working class nearly as much as they viscerally detested the rich, that behind all the pious rhetoric of the virtue signalling “progressive” movement there lurk the vilest of human motives, rabid hatred of the other, and jealousy too, especially if the other is more successful that you are, and especially if your society has vilified the other for two thousand years as the source of all evil in the world?
Is the post-modern post-Christian world, the champion of human rights and politically correct discourse, still clinging to its most poisonous heritage? After all, only eighty years ago the most enlightened of European nations, the land of Kant, Beethoven, Goethe and Schiller, was reducing all of Europe to ruin and perpetrating the industrialized murder of millions of Jews.
Yet, despite all the vitriol, all the hatred, all the boycotts and sanctions, all the crazed shouting down of Israeli speakers at US and European campuses, Israel continues to survive, indeed to prosper, as a democratic state with a free economy, a free press and freedom of religion for all religions, in marked contrast to its neighbors. In contrast too to so many other countries that gained their independence in the postwar period: Pakistan, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh … the list of failed repressive states goes on and on.
Perhaps Israel will one day no longer be the most vilified of nation but will instead become a “beacon unto the nations”.
Perhaps, but the nations must first want to see the light.
One can hope.