Conspiracy of silence


By Yossi Sarid


My weaning from politics has gone well thus far. Ever since I resigned and ever since the 17th Knesset was formed, I haven't had delirium tremens even once; I have not even been overcome by longing. It seems so far away to me, the Knesset, and not really all that interesting.


And all of of a sudden, last week, I was gripped by a single moment of regret – too bad I wasn't there. The plenum convened for a special session to hear the remarks of Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who came for an official visit to Israel.


The president, who delivered his speech in his own language, said only correct things about the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about the increasingly closer cooperation between Turkey and Israel. He then ended his remarks with a condemnation of anti-Semitism “and all the kinds of racism that are crimes against humanity.” And as befits a speech in the parliament of the Jewish people, he did not forget to mention the Holocaust and the six million who fell victim to the greatest crime of all.


How interests coincide: President Sezer forgot to relate even indirectly to the Armenian genocide, which Turkey has been denying and shrugging off for the past 91 years – and our own Knesset members also zealously maintain the monopoly on the Holocaust and therefore find it best to ignore other people's disasters. And thus a mutual conspiracy of silence developed in the plenum hall, in the world, and the words of the visiting president were met with complete satisfaction. Needless to say, no one who entered the Knesset bothered to mention the importance of the principle of every-nation-bearing-its-sins – whether the Turkish nation or us.


There is no need for vulgar comparisons between the Jews' Holocaust and other cases of genocide. Even the Armenians themselves acknowledge the satanic uniqueness of the Final Solution, and they make no demands for “equality.” However, they do have a justified demand for recognition of the terrible pogrom that was visited upon them, for which someone must take responsibility. Recognition by the Jewish people is of special importance to them, which is completely understandable. Israel, for its part, insists on continuing its policy of consistent denial, yet it is the last country in the world that is entitled to pursue such a policy; it does unto others what it would not have others do unto it. And it will yet pay for this in hard currency.


Yossi Saird Former Israeli Minister of Education


Source: Haaretz daily, 16 June 2006