Dutch Man Renounces “Righteous Among The Nations” Honor

Saved Jews During Nazi Holocaust, Now Returns His Medal To Israel

He saved Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, but now a 91-year-old Dutch man who was declared a Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli Yad Vashem Holocaust museum has given his award back.

During the German occupation of his nation, Henk Zanoli had bravely risked his life for the sake of others. But on Thursday returned his medal and certificate to Yad Vashem because six of his relatives were killed by an Israeli Defense Forces bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip last month.
 
Back in 2011, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum awarded both Henk Zanoli and his late mother, Johana Zanoli-Smit, the Righteous Among the Nations award for having saved a Jewish child, Elhanan Pinto, when the Nazis occupied Holland. Zanoli’s own father was sent to the Dachau concentration camp in 1941 as a result of his politically outspoken opposition to the occupation.
 
He eventually would die at the Mauthausen concentration camp in the month of February 1945. Zanoli’s brother-in-law was executed as well, for resistance against the Nazi war machine. One of his brothers, as well, had a Jewish fiancée, and was killed by the Nazis.
 
But Zanoli’s great-niece, Angelique Eijpe, is a Dutch diplomat. She is the head of her nation’s diplomatic mission in the country of Oman. Her husband is the economist Isma’il Ziadah, who was born in the al-Bureij refugee camp located in central Gaza. Ziadah’s parents were born in now renamed town of Fallujah, which is now known as town of Kiryat Gat.
 

On Sunday, July 20, an Israeli jet bombed the Ziadah family’s home in al-Bureij. Zanoli’s relatives: Muftiyah, 70; three of her sons, Jamil, Omar and Youssef; Jamil’s wife, Bayan; and their 12-year-old son, Shaaban were all killed. None of them were terrorists. All of them were civilians.

Now, Zanoli has returned his award to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague – exactly where he received them in an official ceremony three years ago. He sent the following letter, addressed to Ambassador Haim Davon.
 
Zanoli opened by explaining the high price his family paid for fighting for the lives and rights of the Jewish people.
 
“Against this background it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” he explained.
 
Untitled-9
Read the full letter, embedded, below: 
 

Ambassador Haim Davon

Embassy of Israel

Buitenhof 472513 AH

The Hague

 August 11 2014

Subject: Return of medal of honour

Excellency,

It is with great sorrow that I am herewith returning the medal I received as an honour and a token of appreciation from the State of Israel for the efforts and risks taken by my mother and her family in saving the life of a Jewish boy during the German occupation of The Netherlands.

My mother and her nuclear family risked their lives fighting the German occupation. My mother lost her husband who was deported to Dachau as early as 1941 because of his open and outspoken opposition to the German occupation. He eventually perished in Mauthausen Concentration Camp. My sister lost her husband who was executed in the dunes of The Hague for his involvement in the resistance. In addition to this my brother lost his Jewish fiancée who was deported, never to return.

My steadfast and heroic mother nevertheless continued the struggle, amongst others, by taking in an 11 year old Jewish boy in her home risking both her own life and that of her children. This boy survived the war under the wings of my mother and eventually moved to Israel.

Against this background it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel.

The great- great grandchildren of my mother have lost their grandmother, three uncles, an aunt and a cousin at the hands of the Israeli army. Their family apartment building in Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza was bombed on July 20 from an Israeli F16, turning the four storey building to rubble, leaving every single family member inside it dead.

I understand that in your professional role, in which I am addressing you here, you may not be able to express understanding for my decision. However, I am convinced that at both a personal and human level you will have a profound understanding of the fact that for me to hold on to the honour granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life and that of her children fighting against suppression and for the preservation of human life as well as an insult to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza at the hands of the State of Israel.

On a more general note the following. After the horror of the holocaust my family strongly supported the Jewish people also with regard to their aspirations to build a national home. Over more than six decades I have however slowly come to realize that the Zionist project had from its beginning a racist element in it in aspiring to build a state exclusively for Jews. As a consequence, ethnic cleansing took place at the time of the establishment of your state and your state continues to suppress the Palestinian people on the West Bank and in Gaza who live under Israeli occupation since 1967.

The actions of your state in Gaza these days have already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a retired lawyer it would be no surprise to me that these accusations could lead to possible convictions if true and unpoliticized justice is able to have its course. What happened to our kin in Gaza will no doubt be brought to the table at such a time as well.

The only way out of the quagmire the Jewish people of Israel have gotten themselves into is by granting all living under the control of the State of Israel the same political rights and social and economic rights and opportunities. Although this will result in a state no longer exclusively Jewish it will be a state with a level of righteousness on the basis of which I could accept the title of ‘Righteous among the Nations’ you awarded to my mother and me together with the medal.

Today I am a 91 year old man who does not expect radical change with regard to the current sad reality within my, most likely, still limited lifetime. If your state would be willing and able to transform itself along the lines set out above and there would still be an interest at that time in granting an honour to my family for the actions of my mother during the second world war, be sure to contact me or my descendants.

Sincerely,

H.A. Zanoli

“The great- great grandchildren of my mother have lost their [Palestinian] grandmother, three uncles, an aunt and a cousin at the hands of the Israeli army … For me to hold on to the honor granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life and that of her children fighting against suppression and for the preservation of human life as well as an insult to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza at the hands of the State of Israel.”
 
Israel’s actions in Gaza, he said further, “have already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a retired lawyer it would be no surprise to me that these accusations could lead to possible convictions if true and unpoliticized justice is able to have its course. What happened to our kin in Gaza will no doubt be brought to the table at such a time as well.”

“We Are Declaring Israel A Terrorist State”

Bolivia renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state.
President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba.
It “means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state,” he said.
The treaty has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa since 1972.
Morales said the Gaza offensive shows “that Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”
Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over a previous military operation in Gaza.
In mid-July, Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity.”

Gaza The Broken Hearted

The Language Of Death

World Can’t Wait helped produce a town meeting last night, sponsored by Revolution Books in New York City.
 
Chris Hedges gave the main address.

 
The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel. It is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use the lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in the decades-long campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. The assault on Gaza is about creating, squalid, lawless and impoverished ghettos in the West Bank and Gaza where life for Palestinians will be barely sustainable. It is about building a series of ringed Palestinian enclaves where the Israeli military will have the ability to instantly shut off movement, food, medicine and goods to perpetuate the misery.   

 
Privilege and power, especially military power, is a dangerous narcotic. Violence destroys those who bear the brunt of its force, but also those who try to use it to become gods. Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques and slums, to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command and control, no army, and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.
Images of dead Palestinian children, lined up as if asleep on the floor of the main hospital in Gaza, are a metaphor for the future. Israel will, from now on, speak to the Palestinians in the language of death. 
Those who orchestrate such sieges do not grasp the terrible rage born of long humiliation, indiscriminate violence and abuse. A father or a mother whose child dies because of a lack of vaccines or proper medical care does not forget. A boy whose ill grandmother dies while detained at an Israel checkpoint does not forget. Families who carry the broken bodies of their children to hospitals do not forget. All who endure humiliation, abuse and the murder of those they love do not forget. This rage becomes a virus within those who, eventually, stumble out into the daylight. Is it any wonder that 71 percent of children interviewed at a school in Gaza recently said they wanted to be a “martyr”?

 
The refusal by our political leaders, from Barack Obama to all but five members of Congress, to the major media to speak out in defense of the rule of law and fundamental human rights exposes our cowardice and our hypocrisy. 

 
The public debate about the Gaza attack engages in the absurd pretense that it is Israel, not the Palestinians, whose security and dignity is being threatened. This blind defense of Israeli brutality towards the Palestinians is a betrayal of the memory of those killed in other genocides from the Holocaust to Cambodia to Rwanda to Bosnia. 
 

The lesson of the Holocaust is not that Jews are special. It is not that Jews are unique. It is not that Jews are eternal victims. The lesson of the Holocaust is that when you have the capacity to halt genocide, and you do not — no matter who carries out that genocide or who it is directed against — you are culpable.   And we are very culpable. 

 

The F-16 jet fighters, the Apache attack helicopters, the 250-pound “smart” GBU-39 bombs are all part of the annual $2.4 billion in military aid we give to Israel. Palestinians are being slaughtered with American-made weapons. They are being slaughtered by an Israeli military we lavishly bankroll. But perhaps our callousness indifference to human suffering is to be expected. We, after all, kill women and children on an even vaster scale in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

 
[End of Speech]
 
The bloody hands of Israel mirror our own.

 
“It seems,” wrote the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe recently, “that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as desperate events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system… Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology – in its most consensual and simplistic variety – has allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern [of genocide].”

 
Israel operates under the illusion that it can crush Hamas and install a quisling Palestinian government in Gaza and the West Bank. This puppet government will be led, Israel believes, by the discredited Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abass, now cowering in the West Bank after being driven out of Gaza. Abbas, like most of the corrupt Fatah leadership, is a detested figure. He is dismissed as the Marshall Pétain of the Palestinian people, or perhaps the Hamid Karzai or the Nouri al-Maliki. He is as loathed as he is powerless. 

 
Israel’s destruction of Hamas and reoccupation of Gaza will not bring peace or security to Israel. It will merely obliterate the only internal organization with enough stature and authority in Gaza, an organization elected to power in free and fair elections, to maintain order. The Israeli attack empowers the Islamic movements across the regime who one day may well ring Israel like a vice. It reduces all communication to the language of force. The violence unleashed on Palestinian children will be the violence unleashed on Israeli children. This is the tragedy of Gaza. This is the tragedy of Israel. 

 
Forty plus years after W.H. Auden described the dumb ogre loose in the streets of Prague, he lopes, still dumb, again through the alleyways of Gaza City:

 
The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.
 
About a subjugated plain,
 
Among it’s desperate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.

The Hidden Genocide Of Rohingya Muslims

An OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) delegation, which included foreign ministers and senior officials from its member states Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, and Bangladesh recently visited Myanmar. It was led by the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The OIC delegation pressed for unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all affected people and communities, including Rakhine (Arakan) State, without any discrimination. They also stressed the need for clarifying misconceptions and misunderstandings on both sides and for building mutual trust and interfaith community harmony.

As has become the norm in this mostly Buddhist country that has come to signify the den of intolerance and hatred of our time, the OIC delegation was, however, met by angry demonstrators, esp. in the Rakhine state, which has seen more than its share of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minorities. Some 3,000 protesters, led by Buddhist monks, staged their demonstrations in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe (formerly called Akyab) as they toured camps housing mostly displaced Rohingya refugees as well as some ethnic Rakhines and met local officials. The delegation’s visit to Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon on Friday also saw nearly 1,000 people, carrying “No OIC” placards.

The protests of this kind – organized by the members of the central government and local administration, Buddhist politicians and monks – are nothing new. These are a show of defiance against everything noble and humane. These dark, hideous and savage forces of Theravada Buddhism want to hide their monumental crimes against humanity and want to starve to death the remnants of the Muslim minority who mostly now live in abject poverty as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in squalid camps.

Last year, the Buddhist government similarly did not allow the fact finding missions from international agencies, including the OIC, to tour the ethnically cleansed territories. It also did not allow opening up an OIC office in the Rakhine state. In the midst of government-sponsored protest demonstrations, the OIC had to pack up and leave, which only emboldened the savage regime and its supporters within the apartheid state to repeat their crimes against the Rohingya – who, according to the UN, are the most persecuted people on earth – and other Muslim minorities.

So the plight of the Rohingya and other Muslim minorities continues unabated inside apartheid Myanmar. In ethnic cleansing drives in this country, the victims are usually the Rohingyas and yet they end up in the prisons (and not the Buddhist marauders) overwhelmingly. A peaceful demonstration may cost them their lives in this Mogher Mulluk.

The same security forces which did nothing to stop lynching of Muslim victims have no moral qualms in killing them unprovoked for staging a peaceful demonstration.

As has been noted by the Associated Press on November 24, 600 Rohingya Muslim men were recently thrown in jail in this remote corner of Myanmar during a ruthless security crackdown that followed sectarian violence, and among one in 10 who didn’t make it out alive.

An eyewitness described that when she visited the jail, the cells were crammed with men, hands chained behind their backs, several stripped naked. Many showed signs of torture. Her husband, Mohammad Yasim, was doubled over, vomiting blood, his hip bone shattered. “We were all crying so loudly the walls of the prison could have collapsed,” the 40-year-old widow said. “They killed him soon after that,” she said of her husband. Her account was corroborated by her father, her 10-year-old son and a neighbor. “Other prisoners told us soldiers took his corpse and threw it in the forest.” “We didn’t even have a chance to see his body,” she said.

In early November, three Rohingyas were killed. One Rohingya man was murdered by Rakhine villagers when collecting firewood in the forest. Another two were killed and four wounded after riot police opened fire during clashes. In Pauktaw Township the situation remained tense with many of the remaining Rohingya villagers being forced into an IDP camp allegedly for their own security by army and police.

Many are afraid because the camp, funded by an international aid group, is very close to a village with only Buddhist Rakhines.

Buddhist security forces have been allowed to operate with impunity. As a result of such brutality, unfathomed discrimination by state authorities and their obvious collusion with the Rakhine (Magh) extremists towards never-ending pogroms life has only gotten worse for Rohingya.

They see no way out but to board rickety boats for Bangladesh, or make the perilous journey to Malaysia. Many have already drowned trying when their boats capsized.

In spite of Myanmar’s Government’s zealous efforts to hide its complicity and crimes against humanity, truth has been leaking out. Consider, for instance, the testimony of Mr. Thomas H. Andrews, President and CEO of United to End Genocide on September 19, 2013 in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,

Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. In that, he provided his first-hand account of visits made in Burma. He travelled to Rakhine State in the west where he visited eight IDP camps and spoke with dozens of desperate IDPs. He also travelled to the central and northern area of Mandalay and the city of Meiktila where he visited neighborhoods and met with many people and families who continue to live in fear and desperation. He also came across Muslims in Rangoon whose fear and intimidation was on the rise in Myanmar.

During his trip, Mr. Andrews was blocked by security forces at roadside checkpoints from visiting IDP camps. The reason was clear. They did not want him to hear what had happened to the Muslim community inside Myanmar.

Nevertheless, the signs of destruction were everywhere and he was able to see burnt out buildings and destroyed Mosques, meet with those who had to literally run for their lives after watching their homes and everything that they had worked for destroyed. They were living in abject poverty in makeshift camps wanting desperately to return and rebuild their village but also utterly terrified by the Buddhist mobs, Myanmar security forces and police even more.

Throughout his travels, Mr. Andrews heard stories of systematic discrimination, isolation and blanket oppression where every aspect of life of members of the Muslim minority was controlled.

People described living in constant fear of violence within their communities and intimidation by authorities. The right to move from one village – or even one street – to another, the right to earn a living, to get married, to have more than two children and even the right to live with one’s own family was often dependent on the permission of authorities and most often only after the payment of bribes.

He found that hate speech – a precursor of genocide – was prevalent in Burma. Fueling it was a systematic, well organized and well funded campaign of hatred and bigotry known as “969”. It followed a well established pattern:

1) Campaign organizers arrive in a village, distributing DVDs, pamphlets and stickers that warn Buddhists that their religion and their country were in peril as Muslims seek to eliminate both and establish a Muslim caliphate;

2) Villages are invited to a special community event to hear a message from venerable Buddhist monks about how they can protect their families, nation and religion;

3) Radical nationalist monks arrive at the designated time and deliver fiery hate-filled speeches warning that Muslims are plotting to destroy Buddhism and take control of the nation. Villages are encouraged to support the movement by signing petitions, and displaying “969” stickers on their homes and businesses. They are encouraged to only patronize those who displayed the stickers and boycott any Muslim owned or operated business.

As I have documented earlier, the hateful rhetoric of these radical Rakhine monks and the “969” campaign is ominously reminiscent of the hateful propaganda directed at the Tutsi population and their sympathizers in the lead up and during the Rwandan genocide, let alone the Nazi-led Holocaust more than half a century earlier.

Demanding the expulsion of all Rohingya from Burma, these monks urge the local population to sever all relations with not only the Rohingya, but also with what are described as their “sympathizers”. Labeled as national traitors, those Buddhists who associate with Rohingya Muslims also face intimidation and the threat of violence.

Gregory Stenton, President of Genocide Watch, documented eight stages of genocide – Classification,

Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Extermination and Denial. Human rights watchers have long concluded that the Rohingyas are facing genocide in Myanmar, and this crime must be stopped.

Last week (Tuesday, November 19) the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee passed a resolution urging Myanmar to give the stateless Rohingya minority equal access to citizenship and to crack down on Buddhist violence against them and other Muslims.

In its response, an official of the Myanmar government said that it will not allow itself to be pressured by a U.N. resolution. Presidential spokesman Ye Htut insisted in a posting on his Facebook page that the government does not recognize that there is a group called Rohingya, referring to them instead as Bengalis.

As I have noted above, such defiance by the rogue Myanmar regime is not new and unless checked vehemently it will continue to defy the world community.

The elimination of Muslims there has become a national project enjoying widespread support from Nobel disgrace Suu Kyi to president Thein Sein.

Thus, the UN has to go beyond passing soft resolutions that don’t bite the rogue regime.

A reading of history shows that genocide succeeds when state sovereignty blocks international responsibility to protect its persecuted group. It continues due to lack of authoritative international institutions to predict it and call it as such. It happens due to lack of ready rapid response forces to stop it and lack of political will to peacefully prevent it and to forcefully intervene to stop it.

Since founding of the UN, at least 45 genocides and politicides have taken place in our world resulting in deaths of some 70 million people. It is a shameful record that needs to be improved.

The time for soft talk with Myanmar is over. It is high time for the UN Security Council to authorize armed intervention in Myanmar by a UN force under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.

The Mandate must include protection of Rohingya civilians and humanitarian workers and a No Fly Zone over the Rakhine state. The Rules of Engagement must be robust and include aggressive prevention of killing. The major military powers (e.g., the USA, Russia and the UK) must provide leadership, logistics, airlift, communications, and financing.

If Myanmar will not permit entry, its UN membership should be suspended. Myanmar’s leaders should be tried in an international criminal court for committing and aiding crimes against humanity. Nothing short of these will be able to stop these savage criminals. Sooner the better!

*****

Dr Habib Siddiqui has authored 10 books. His latest book – Devotional Stories – is now available from A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

NATO’s Secret Armies

In Italy, on 3 August 1990, then-prime minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed the existence of a secret army code-named “Gladio” – the Latin word for “sword” – within the state. His testimony before the Senate subcommittee investigating terrorism in Italy sent shockwaves through the Italian parliament and the public, as speculation arose that the secret army had possibly manipulated Italian politics through acts of terrorism.

Andreotti revealed that the secret Gladio army had been hidden within the Defense Ministry as a subsection of the military secret service, SISMI. General Vito Miceli, a former director of the Italian military secret service, could hardly believe that Andreotti had lifted the secret, and protested:

“I have gone to prison because I did not want to reveal the existence of this super secret organization. And now Andreotti comes along and tells it to parliament!” According to a document compiled by the Italian military secret service in 1959, the secret armies had a two-fold strategic purpose: firstly, to operate as a so-called “stay-behind” group in the case of a Soviet invasion and to carry out a guerrilla war in occupied territories; secondly, to carry out domestic operations in case of “emergency situations”.

The military secret services’ perceptions of what constituted an “emergency” was well defined in Cold War Italy and focused on the increasing strength of the Italian Communist and the Socialist parties, both of which were tasked with weakening NATO “from within”. Felice Casson, an Italian judge who during his investigations into right-wing terrorism had first discovered the secret Gladio army and had forced Andreotti to take a stand, found that the secret army had linked up with right-wing terrorists in order to confront “emergency situations”.

The terrorists, supplied by the secret army, carried out bomb attacks in public places, blamed them on the Italian left, and were thereafter protected from prosecution by the military secret service. “You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game,” right-wing terrorist Vincezo Vinciguerra explained the so-called “strategy of tension” to Casson.

“The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened.”

[Dr. Daniele Ganser]