Friday, October 19, 2007

When An Israeli Arab Works At A Holocaust Museum

Manar Fawakhry--and Israeli Arab--writes about her experiences while working at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
As part of my work as a Palestinian-Israeli woman at the museum, I have had the unique experience of introducing audiences from all over the world to the subject of the Holocaust. It seems to me that few make the distinction between the Holocaust as a human story and Israel as a political story. Certainly, for the Arab world, they are intertwined. In the Arab world, the Holocaust is not a story about human suffering, capacity for evil or indifference. It is understood only as an excuse for Israel to exist. It is perceived as a political vehicle through which Israel gets U.S. aid and is thus paid to be strong, stable and annoying to its Arab neighbors. Among scholars, intellectuals, educators, political leaders and the average person in the Arab world, the Holocaust is regarded as a tool to fool the world into legitimizing the Israeli occupation.

This is what charges the Arab mind. There is no place for Jewish suffering when that suffering is associated with Israel, the Israeli occupation over the Palestinians, the history of 1948, and a new Middle East that is accompanied by unprecedented traumas and losses. Despite all my complaints and issues with the Arab reaction, there are good reasons why they cannot hear the suffering of "the other."

But they hear it through me and the anomaly I represent.
Read the whole thing.

If you look really hard, you can sometimes find signs of normalcy and hope.

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