Moral Bankruptcy Once Again

September 4, 2013 by Michael Kuttner
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For the benefit of those who may have forgotten their history lessons and for the majority of those who were born well after World War 2, I would like to take this opportunity of pointing out some salient and sobering facts which will hopefully focus attention on an unfolding scandal confronting all of us at the moment.


Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

In 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out, pitting the democratically elected Government against the fascist forces of General Franco. After three years of bitter fighting and after thousands of civilian deaths and casualties the fascists prevailed. It is important to note that during all this period the international community represented by The League of Nations, proved powerless and impotent in the face of ceaseless aggression, destruction of cities and the slaughter of innocent men, women and children. Moreover and this fact is critical, Germany and Italy the 2 fascist powers, used the civil war to test, develop and refine their armaments, air forces and battle tactics while providing unlimited support to Franco. They did this knowing that they had complete immunity from sanctions or any other form of censure from an international community riddled by appeasement and weak moral fiber. Germany had summed up the situation perfectly and all planning for future genocide was based on the assumption that they could literally get away with murder. How tragically true that proved in the end.

Another incident which occurred in 1933 as the Nazis prepared to take over the reins of power in Germany was the Oxford Union Debate in February of that year. The motion being debated and voted on read..” this house will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country…”  The motion was passed and in fact was also adopted by several other UK universities. Apart from Winston Churchill and a few others who condemned the sentiments expressed, the rest of the British establishment lapsed into a muted silence. The reaction in Germany however was not only one of amazement but also delight because it confirmed what many in Government there already suspected, namely that when push came to shove and the Germans implemented their plan for the destruction of European Jewish communities, the international community would do nothing.

The last historical fact we need to remember is that when eventually Britain woke up to the impending disasters (almost too late) and Churchill single handedly provided the strong leadership needed to defeat the appeasers and fascists alike, the United States remained aloof. They did nothing from 1933 to save the Jews of Europe and when the chips were down and Britain was fighting for its own survival the isolationists in Congress managed to keep the USA from getting involved in any meaningful way. It was only when the Japanese attacked the US fleet in Pearl Harbour that the USA joined the fight against the Axis powers. By then of course the gassing and murder of 6 million Jews (including 1.5 million children) as well as the elimination of countless others was well under way. A desperate plea to bomb the railway lines leading to Auschwitz fell on deaf ears.

As a son of parents who managed to escape the Holocaust at the last possible moment but whose grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and other members of my extended family were murdered in the concentration camps, I cannot but look on in horror now as the tragedies unfolding in Syria follow an eerily similar pattern. We know in hindsight that if strong action would have been taken from 1933 onwards the tragedies which later occurred could have been prevented altogether.

The world has known of Assad’s stockpile of gas, biological and chemical weapons for many years now. His late father used them and got away without any punishment. The Syrian regime threatens Israel with these weapons of death and the world remains silent. Is there not something obscene in the fact that Israelis need to be provided with gas masks while the world twiddles its thumbs? What do you imagine goes through the mind of Holocaust survivors with concentration camp numbers tattooed on their arm as they line up to receive a gas mask?  Can any Jewish person remain indifferent to the implications of the situation now being faced as photos of gassed children flood the media?

Israelis are aghast at the stunning inaction of the western democracies, the drivel being spoken by politicians and so called experts alike, the unbridled hypocrisy of certain countries and the impotence yet again of the United Nations. Like a horror movie the dramas unfolding in front of our eyes are identical to those described in my opening paragraphs.

The House of Commons in effect recycled the Oxford Union motion of 1933.

The President of the USA tries to avoid any involvement by tossing the hot potato to Congress in the hope they will oblige him. If by any chance he decides to do anything he has already signaled Assad that it will be discreet and limited. In other words the dictator of Damascus knows he has plenty of time to hide his arsenal and take shelter because he will not be targeted. It will be a sound and light show achieving neither the succor of suffering Syrian innocent civilians, the destruction of weapons of mass murder nor the elimination of those who planned and executed the genocide.

The French and the EU will huff and puff but do nothing concrete.

Meanwhile on the sidelines, like in the 1930’s, will stand Iran and North Korea, taking note of the moral bankruptcy of the international community and making plans for the future. In the case of Iran this includes acquiring nuclear weapons and carrying out their frequently declared intention of wiping Israel from the face of the map. It will also energise their efforts to support terror groups in many parts of the world.

The only thing which can be safely predicted, is that when Israel, realising it cannot rely on worthless guarantees and promises, acts to thwart these genocidal plans it will unite the international community in a chorus of condemnation. Having been down this path before, we are no longer prepared to be the world’s sacrificial lambs.

Never again means just that.


5 Responses to “Moral Bankruptcy Once Again”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    It seems that Jews are bewildered by the term “rebel”. It seems to bring out some feeling amongst the majority that they are the “good guys” or “folk heroes” that must be supported in their fight against a brutal dictator. This is simplistic nonsense.

    Morons in the US Congress are calling for the downfall of that murderous tyrant Assad and want to arm the “rebels”. When are we going to wake up to the fact that these rebels if in power are a more menacing threat to Israel than Assad. They are fanatical Islamic Jihadists who have been recorded on ARAB media of capturing Syrian soldiers and performing the worst acts of cannibalistic barbarity upon them, of raping women in front of their families and much much more. So the question is, would you prefer these fanatical Islamic barbarians facing Israel or the barbarian we know i.e. Assad.

    I’ll repeat what I have said in a different post.
    If, due to a targeted assassination Assad goes, then the likes of who replaces him is guaranteed to be abundantly worse with those murderous Jihadist fanatics in control of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile. How would Israelis feel then and so too we Jews in the diaspora?

    The Syrian tragedy represents the usual Arab barbarity towards each other. The holocaust was in fact the systematic attempt to eradicate Jews, of whatever nationality from the face of the earth.

    I am sick and tired of every barbarian atrocity committed by one nation over another or on parts of its own citizenry bringing out the usual clamour of comparisons with the holocaust, especially by Jews, who should know better. Jews of all people should never refer to the holocaust so loosely. What happenned under the Third Reich was a uniquely Jewish catastrophe and to me it is demeaning to the memory of the 6 million who perished in the ovens and ditches throughout Nazi occupied Europe to equate their deaths with the current Syrian or any other tragedy, as tragic as these may be. If we keep referring to every tragedy as a reminder of the holocaust then the term will become meaningless.

    What is going on in Syria is the usual Arab bloodletting, where everyone is at everyone else’s throat.

    The world should just keep out.
    And Israel should definitely keep out unless there is some compelling reason in its security interests to intervene.

    Michael as you say, Israel can only depend on itself.
    Most of us have known that all along.

    In any future confrontation with any adversary, Israel in my opinion should be ruthless, unleash the IAF in its full fury, with no targets off limits and cease hostilities only after there is the unconditional surrender of the enemy on Israel’s terms. No more ending anything prematurely or inconclusively because of world pressure. This has got Israel nowhere in the past.

  2. Joseph says:

    I think the situation is more complicated than just being a mere retread of what was happening before WW2. Firstly, it’s not a clear cut case of fascists vs democratically elected government, it is fascists vs civilians who have been bolstered by fascists. Also, the international community might have been more willing to support the US at this time if Iraq had not happened. I’m sure the world would be happy to act if everyone felt certain they were doing the right thing.

  3. slaiman says:

    Syria needs to divide itself through negotiations between the regime

    and its opposition.

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    I have just commented on a similar basis, where commentators are referring to the Pope calling for prayer and fasting to solve the issues in Syria, my comment there is repeated here.
    Many were praying and fasting whilst Hitler was annihilating the Jews, what took us so long?
    Another Pius?
    NCR* What moral Theologians say about getting involved in Syria.

  5. Randy says:

    Very well said; my only question is ‘if we eliminate Assad will his replacement (the Brotherhood?) be worse?

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