Saturday, December 07, 2013
Some thoughts about Shimon Peres on Pearl Harbor Day
With Pearl Harbor Day just behind us, I thought the timing might be ripe for re-posting this.
It appeared in the Jerusalem Post on June 7, 1994 - when Peres was Foreign Minister in the Rabin government:
The Holocaust According to Shimon Peres
by Steven Plaut
Recently Foreign Minister Shimon Peres expressed a "Two-Holocaust" theory of the events transpiring during World War Two. According to Peres, the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and the American dropping of atomic bombs on Japan constituted twin Holocausts, and presumably this means they were morally parallel or equivalent to one another.
Such a comparison has by now become fashionable in certain politically-correct circles in Western countries, and it would not represent the first instance in which the thinking of the current government was motivated by a passionate desire to conform with international political fashion. But going beyond political fad, it is intriguing to attempt to reconstruct the thinking of our Foreign Minister, leading up to this remark in his "Shoah Show".
If the Holocaust of the Jews is analogous to the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Peres' "mind," then it follows that he views the Holocaust of the Jews as an event that must have occurred in the course of an all-out conflict deliberately launched by the Jews, in which they, like the Japanese, enslaved the better part of an entire continent, pillaging and tormenting the populations while systematically murdering millions. German actions must have also been taken to prevent much greater suffering and far larger numbers of victims.
If the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews is analogous to the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Peres' "mind", then the former must have been a moral imperative and absolutely justifiable. The bombing of Hiroshima brought an end to the War in the Pacific without necessitating the ground invasion of Japan. In such an invasion, hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of Allied soldiers would have died. Millions of Japanese would also have died.
Shortly before the atomic bombings, 7,000 US soldiers were killed and 18,000 wounded taking a desolate island called Iwo Jima. Then 12,000 US soldiers were killed and 35,000 wounded taking Okinawa, making that a battle on a par with Gettysburg. On Okinawa 100,000 Japanese were killed. (Okinawa was then held by the US as a militarily-governed "occupied territory" for four decades with never a hint of an intifada. Can you guess why there was no intifada?) All this is indisputable proof of how severe the carnage would have been on the Japanese main islands from an Allied invasion and conquest.
It is estimated that 55 million people died in World War Two. If the atomic bombs shortened that war by merely a week, the carnage they wrought was one of the greatest "bargains" of human history.
The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki rank as one of the most moral, high-minded, humane, and unambiguously justifiable acts in the history of mankind. It is true that tens of thousands of Japanese died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that many of these were also "innocents." It is also true that the number killed in both cities dwarfs in comparison with those killed by the Allies with conventional weapons in the bombings of Tokyo and Dresden, to name only the two most notorious examples in World War Two.
In Dresden alone tens of thousands of Germans were killed, doubtless many of these "innocents." If the 70-100 thousand killed in Hiroshima justify ranking that event as a "Holocaust," morally equivalent to the destruction of European Jewry in Peresian "thinking," then I suggest that Peres should have the courage of his convictions and speak out about the "Triplet-Holocausts," adding Dresden to the cohort. He would just be repeating what certain circles of Europeans have already been suggesting. Better yet, why not add the 200,000 Republican Guards of Saddam Hussein, mercilessly butchered by Allied weapons in the first Gulf War, many of whom were doubtless innocents, and raise the size of the cohort to quadruplets?
Let us have some consistency here.
What is much harder to explain is how it could be that the Number Two politician in the Israeli government could voice such a position, 50 years after the real Holocaust.