32 thoughts on “Holocaust Song Depicts Destruction of Eastern European Jewry–and Nakba – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Yes the Naqba was a disaster seen from Pslesinian eyes. Yes, it happened because the Jews established their homeland. No, they did not drive the Pslestinians in cattle cars to the ovens. Yes, Palestine has a right to exist. Positive, so does Israel. After I saw Hamas militants dragging 6 bodies from motorcycles, bodies of supposed Palestinian colaborators with Israel, I wondered. I wondered whether such mentality of defiling the death, along with killing gays and errant girls, can prevail in the future democratic Palestinian state. This mentality has nothing to do with the occupation and is the real cancer in

    As for the song, I wish it will help promote a dialogue between equals.

    1. @Ari: Off topic, Ari. You know the rules. As for killing gays, offer proof of your claim that Hamas has done so. If you have none you run the risk of being moderated. Prove it. Further, gays were slaughtered in Tel Aviv four yrs ago. That doesn’t preclude Israel eventually signing a peace treaty with Palestine.

    2. After I saw the charred bodies of Palestinian children hit with phosphorus bombs, I wondered about the mentality of Israelis to kill children and to do so horribly. I wondered about the democratic state and its future in light of this mentality, this obliviousness to death.

  2. Thanks for creating this. I am a Yiddish singer. Would like to do something similar….i’m a member of Jewish Voices for Peace ….. I sing Holocaust songs with similar feelings.

    Have had huge heart angst over this for many years. Travelled to Palestine and Israel in 2011 and worked doing trauma healing with folks everywhere I could.

    You inspire me to perhaps do something similar with some of the repertoire.

    sheynem un hartsikn dank,

  3. What a heartrending song. Thank you, Richard, for posting it.

    My reply to Ari:
    Not only seen from Palestinian eyes, Ari. Have you ever read objective reports about what was done to get the Jews established in their homeland? Objective reports about the many Palestinian villages that were destroyed and their inhabitants rounded up and killed outright, or evicted to places unknown to them? If not, read up about it. You can easily find them on the Internet. And please be human enough not to say that it was worth it.

  4. [Three strikes buddy. you’re out. More interested in scoring pts in the hasbara war than respecting comment rules]

  5. Metaphorically… for such a long time, .after watching the savage acts of the wild dogs or unnecessary slaughter of sheep by some wolf tribes …….. or after hearing, for such a long time, the heartrending cries of the living while burning in the fires of the bombs or hearing the soundless cries of intense pains of humiliation du to the sensation of servitude………after all that and after unending heinous sagas like that………….then watching how the angels are painting scenes of immense Sufferings … and hearing the voices of canaries distressingly singing beautiful songs about their own pains and, on an equal footing, the pains of the ‘others’………….then, for a brief brief time I saw the light, as if I am in an illusive paradise of wisdom, beauty and togetherness….

    The instant light was stark since it was coming from a corner where boundless agonies are born….

    Too bad the lights started to fade away quickly……realizing these days darkness is so powerful as if it is like the strongest unchangeable wild wolves…….realizing the sheep will remain helpless for a long long time….maybe forever..

    Anyhow…thanks Richard, this piece can’t create the grand HOPE humanity needs……yet, for one, it made my eyes teary and my psyche hopeful ….to bad that heavenly moment lasted just for a short time…

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this, Richard. I know Yonatan Shapira, in addition to being a sensitive & gentle man, is a talented musician. (I discovered when he was a houseguest of mine that he plays a mean harmonica.) I don’t know when he recorded this particular piece; I’m just so glad to have the chance to see and hear it. I have shared with all my Facebook friends. Yonatan isn’t on Facebook, so I email him the link to your this blog entry.

  7. Last night I heard Mahmoud Sarsak in London: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/events/public-meeting-with-mahmoud-sarsak-support-human-rights-in-palestine/

    Among other things, he told us how for 18 months (out of 36 in “administrative detention”) he was in solitary confinement, not allowed to see daylight or another soul.

    He was also physically tortured by the Shin Bet for 45 consecutive days. He told us of being left in a room in temperatures of -15°C until passing out and needing resuscitation; of being tied “like a banana” hands and feet together for 4-5 days at a time; and he indicated that there were “other methods of torture that [he] is too dignified to describe in public.”

    I grew up in a suburb of Tel Aviv, and was brought up to “never compare anything to the holocaust or the Nazis.” But let me tell you something: there are indeed *real* Nazis in key positions in the Israeli political, military and intelligence machinery. And if they are present there, you can bet your bottom sheqel there are scores of them among the rank and file of the army, and virtually everywhere in the country.

    There are no gas chambers yet, but there are way too many Israelis who wouldn’t mind building them. And that’s bad enough. And that has to be stopped.

  8. Richard,
    Poignant lament.
    I wonder how many people have seen this video. I did not see this anywhere. When was this rendition made/recorded?

  9. Thank you Richard and thank you, dear Yonatan, for this amazing rendition that brought tears to my eyes. My former husband was one of the Palestinians forced to flee with his family from Safad in April, 1948. The real tragedy remains that, although the world acknowledges the horrors of the holocaust, the Palestinians, 65 years later, are still waiting for justice and for the recognition that two wrongs to not make a right.

    Deeply moving.

    1. While it’s worthwhile reading the Wikipedia article to which you link & noting that there is another version of the story on which the song is based, you of course have divorced the song from the subsequent historical context. That context is the Holocaust in which thousands of Jewish shtetlach were torched and 6 million were murdered. So your focus on the possibility that the historical inspiration for the song may not have been a pogrom is ultimately anti-historical, since it ignores the fact that the song became an anthem representing Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.

      That makes you a demagogue.

      1. [Comment deleted–I find this comment deeply offensive. If this is the substance of what you want to say here, you will not do so.]

      2. Joachim Martillo – under his various pen names, and he has used a lot over time – is a piece of s…who shouldn’t be allowed to comment anywhere about Palestinian matters. He’s a genuine antisemite (in fact the Jews more or less deserved what happened to them in his book), and he’s clearly doing much damage to the Palestinian cause.
        One of the sick persons who before the time of internet walked around in the streets talking to themselves, now they’ve found the perfect tool to vomit their insanities.

          1. To be honest, I’ve thought about that too but I’ve come to the conclusion that he is an genuine antisemite hiding behind the Palestinian cause. Martillo or whatever his name is – who claims to be an ehnic Ashkenaze – used to comment on Mondoweiss, Phil wrote an article years back on why he let him comment there before he was finally banned.The guy has been interviewed on PressTV, he’s clearly well-read but oh, I’m going to vomit…. 🙂

          2. There must be a secret society somewhere for those on both sides of the conflict whose views are so bizarre that even those “on their side” find them despicable. The members would include Karin Friedemann, Martillo, & Gilad Atzmon, among others.

            At least in what Martillo says there is a scintilla of interesting perspective (for example, I never knew there was a legitimate debate about whether the 1937 riot about which Gebirtig wrote Undzer Shtetl Brent, was provoked by Jews or Poles). But anything credible or reasonable gets drowned in a river of raw sewage.

    ● Yonatan Shapira, U.S. Boat to Gaza Crew [VIDEO, 01:19] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efLbthGLggM

    ● Yonatan Shapira, Animated music video for Israeli singer Aya Korem [VIDEO, 02:58] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciSILjiDFH4

    http://www.yonatanshapira.com (under construction) – http://yonatanshapira.com/

  11. [This comment has broken my comment rules six ways from Sunday. If you want to publish a comment here read the rules and respect them. If your next attempt continues along these lines & shows you either haven’t read the rules or don’t care about them–you won’t comment here again.]

  12. Without wisdom, we divide people into us and them, friends and enemies. The wisdom traditions advise us to love (have compassion for) our enemies. Why? Because otherwise we wind up killing one another, always with the best of intentions of course. And there is a deeper reason – it is because we actually ARE our enemies. We make the mistake of ignoring the interconnectedness that is the very ground of existence, of believing in the separation of self and other.

    This leads to all of the unnecessary suffering – and the stark contradiction between posting and appreciating this profound video and in the next breath slandering Karin Friedemann and Gilad Atzmon, two good friends of mine. And so the Grand Guignol continues.

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us”

    1. There is very little “interconnectedness” between Gilad Atzmon, Karin Friedemann & myself. In fact, if there was any I’d be shocked & distressed. They both are among the more bizarre, extreme & inexplicable online personalities I’ve ever come across.

      1. Just because they lie outside of your comfort zone hardly makes them “bizarre, extreme & inexplicable.” That is your projection. Atzmon, as you know, would refer to you as an AZZ (anti-Zionist Zionist). My way of putting it is that you invoke the mantra “if it’s good for the Jews…”, whether you are conscious of that or not. Like Atzmon, I’m a non-tribal Jew, so that mantra is foreign to me. Like Phillip Weiss, you are an example of an extremely civilized, cultivated, compassionate person who feels it necessary to call out the depredations of the Zionists, but you do so from within the tribal boundary.

        My point about “interconnectedness” is that the boundary is fuzzy – actually, as Atzmon makes quite clear, it is illusory. We are all human beings, first and foremost – secondary, notional characteristics, such as “Jewishness,” become dangerous when they usurp the primacy of our common humanity. They become the basis of an arrogant, belligerent and destructive force such as Zionism, wherein an identity group claims a privileged position that entitles them to act like the proverbial bull in a china shop.

        Atzmon, Friedemann and Martillo understand this. Actually, we all do, but many are in denial.

        1. @Roger Tucker: I know very little about Gilad Atzmon’s beliefs. What I’ve read of & by him is so off-putting, I don’t want to read further.

          Further, I’m not an anti-Zionst Zionist. I am a Zionist. Though not one that you or many Israeli rightists would recognize as such.

          you invoke the mantra “if it’s good for the Jews…”

          I don’t know what this statement means to you. But I freely admit & embrace the notion that I am a Jew and want what’s best for Jews, just as I want what’s best for Israelis and Palestinians and other nations of the region.

          The idea that you see Phil Weiss as “within the tribal boundary” is laughable beyond belief. He himself makes clear that he hates Jewish tribalism. His Jewishness is clearly a cause of great discomfort or ambivalence to him. At least his Jewishness in any sense that I can understand it. That you are even farther outside the Pale marks you as living in some alternate universe. One I have no interest in.

          Atzmon, Friedemann, & Martillo understand very little. They live in a bizarro world that is totally alien to me. I have absolutely no interest in it.

          1. Thank you for clarifying your point of view. Of course you’re a Zionist, easily recognizable as such. Your lack of interest in alternative points of view is the icing on the cake. I, on the other hand, would have no interest in tribal Jewry if it weren’t a categorical imperative to struggle against the most blatant, destructive, immoral and dangerous form of fascism in our contemporary world. (google the essay * Us vs. Them: On the Meaning of Fascism * for an accurate and useful definition of fascism.) Perhaps some day, in a moment of revelation, you will come to understand why we say that we are all Palestinians.

            Here’s the crux of it:

            “In separateness lies the world’s great misery,
            in compassion lies the world’s true strength.”
            – The Buddha

          2. Of course you’re a Zionist, easily recognizable as such

            That, coming from someone who in his last comment called me an anti-Zionist Zionist. About the only thing easily recognizable is that you’re beyond reason & beyond the Pale. When you call Phil Weiss a “tribal Jew” you’ve just exposed the bizarro world in which you live politically.

            I don’t need book recommendations or your hopes that I experience a revelation either.

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