Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Radical Left calls for converting V-E Day into Day of Mourning

Radical Left calls for converting V-E Day into Day of Mourning


By Steven Plaut



   In an amazing development, the Israeli Radical Left, led by groups like Peace Now and the Meretz Party, along with numerous tenured radical academics from the universities, has announced that it is calling on the world to convert May 8 of V-E Day into a day of international mourning and contrition.   V-E Day is the day, still celebrated in many places, on which Nazi Germany surrendered, ending World War II in Europe.  While generally celebrated as a day of happiness and merriment, the radical Israeli Leftists believe that such displays are insensitive because they overlook the real human tragedies and suffering of the German people when they lost the war.   Hence, they are proposing that V-E Day be renamed Katastrophe Day to display sensitivity and identification with the German "Other."


    Such an ideological position is largely consistent with the politics of the Radical Left in recent times.  For years, the radicals have referred to Israel's victory in it War of Independence against Arab armies and militias as "Nakba Day," where Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe.  Leftists have held Nakba Day mourning commemorations on the anniversaries of Israel's victory in the War of Independence, in which they mourn the existence of Israel and the "suffering" its existence has caused to Arabs.  Israeli universities have had to cope with demands by radical faculty and students and from Arab student unions demanding to hold such mourning ceremonies each year.   Leftist bureaucrats in the Ministry of Education have added "Nakba narratives" to textbooks about the country's creation, in which the "suffering" of Arabs as a result of Israel's emerging victorious are emphasized.  The radical anti-Israel daily Haaretz has been particularly shrill about the need for Israelis to adopt the "Nakba narrative" as their own.  What could be a more effective way to promote peace than through such sensitivity?


    Hence the new initiative is entirely consistent with the years of campaigning by the Radical Left for turning Israeli Independence Day into a day of mourning.   According to a Peace Now activist, V-E Day celebrations throughout the world have long ignored the human costs to the ordinary German.  The end of the war was a "victory" only in the eyes of the victors, while the civilians on the losing side suffered.  The world has long ignored the fact that between 12 and 14 million Germans became refugees as a result of the V-E victory, including the Volkdeutsche populations of many European countries.  German civilians living in areas falling to the Allies also suffered, worst of all in the Soviet controlled zone.  Peace requires that their "narrative" be heard alongside the official one.  Some universities have held conferences on Critical Theories of the Allied Victory, in which the alternative narratives are given prominence and the sufferings of the Germans are emphasized.   


    According to the proposal by the radical leftists, Katastrophe Day mourning events will emphasize the role of the Potsdam Conference in condemning such ordinary Germans to suffering.  Similarly, textbooks in which World War II is discussed would have to be edited to allow presentation of all narratives.  In some cases, leftists have proposed that flags be lowered to half mast on Katastrophe Day.  Some Israeli politicians have proposed a law that would prohibit any use of public funds for either Nakba Day or Katastrophe Day mourning events, but the Left, led by the academic radicals, has been quick in denouncing such measures as anti-democratic and violations of academic freedom.  Petitions signed by hundreds of intellectuals from around the world have condemned these "anti-democratic" proposals, while endorsing and defending their Israeli leftist academic colleagues who have promoted such events.


   Moreover, nothing was ever done by the world community to redress the suffering of the millions of displaced German refugees, forced to flee their homes as a result of the Allied victory.  V-E Day events converted into Katastrophe Day commemorations will emphasize that these refugees have yet to be granted their Right of Return to their pre-war homelands, and have never been compensated for lost property.  Why should they not be granted the same sort of assistance and aid that Palestinians have enjoyed for  67 years?  Why was there never an UNRWA established to assist them?   


   The radical Israeli Left has long been successful in converting Palestinian Arabs into innocent victims, deserving of understanding and empathy and assistance and financing, not to mention self-determination and statehood.   Why should the Left not capitalize on its victory with a similar campaign on behalf of the massively suffering Volkdeutsche and the other German victims of the V-E Day "victories"?  It is time to feel the pain of the Teutonic Other!!


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