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The UNESCO vote, Zionism and the fascist legacy

In the wake of this week's UNESCO vote to admit Palestine as a full member, the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust is once again being used as a political football. Dovid Katz in the Jerusalem Post Nov. 2 zeroes in on Lithuania, portraying its vote in favor of Palestine as a continuation of anti-Semitism stretching back to the fascist era. Katz points out some genuinely disturbing stuff. It seems Yizthak Arad, former director of Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, was in 2006 accused by Lithuanian authorities of being a war criminal—apparently for "having fought with the anti-Nazi partisans." (A Sept. 26, 2008 report from the Lithuanian news agency ELTA informs us Arad is accused of "mass killings of Lithuanians," on the probable orders of the NKVD, Stalin's secret police.) Katz also informs us that Lithuanian police agents have harassed two survivors of the Vilna Ghetto who were documenting the participation of Lithuanians in a massacre of Jews at Ponár village. Katz's story bears a photo of a memorial to the Ponár massacre which was recently desecrated with swastikas. (More details at the World Without Nazism blog. We have noted similar ugliness this year at a massacre site in Poland.)

A final example from Katz:

[O]n August 30, just two months before this week’s UNESCO vote, liaison officers of Interpol (!) came, at the demand of Lithuanian prosecutors, to question 86-year-old Kovno Ghetto survivor Joseph Melamed, a Tel Aviv attorney and chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews of Israel, over a 1999 book he published identifying local Holocaust perpetrators, some of whom are nowadays glorified in Lithuania as "anti-Soviet heroes."

We don't claim to know what crimes Arad may or may not have been guilty of in those dark years, but in the context of the other cases Katz mentions, it doesn't smell very good. But Katz is also being disingenuous: he's obviously using this ugliness to delegitimize Palestine's admission to UNESCO—which should be judged on its merits, not on the basis of Lithuania's motivations.

In a case of unfortunate timing, the J Post five days later reported that Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor  was photographed posing with French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. "It was an error of judgment," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said of the diplomatic faux pas, which was picked up by the French press. Israel has a "no contact" policy with Le Pen's ultra-nationalist party (the Front National), founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen—who has described the Nazi death camps as "a detail" of World War II, earning himself a conviction in Germany for inciting racial hatred. 

Prosor said he was caught unawares in the photo, thinking he was at an event organized by the French UN mission rather than by Le Pen's party. Le Pen herself dismissed this idea:

"No one can imagine for half a second that the ambassador took the wrong door," she said after the UN gathering in New York on Thursday aimed at countering her party’s anti-Semitic and xenophobic image.

Marine Le Pen, who is a member of the European Parliament, said there was not "the least ambiguity" about the meeting.

Again—we don't claim to know who is telling the truth here. But it sure doesn't smell very good. And it is a little ironic to see Zionism's propagandists making such hay of pro-fascist revisionism in Lithuania while evidence mounts of Zionism making its peace with European neo-fascism against such perceived common enemies as multi-culturalism and Islam.

Thanks to Mitchell Halberstadt for the news tips.


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