Netanyahu, who replaced Olmert who was put on trial, who replaced Sharon who fell into a coma, who replaced Barak, who fell out of favor, who replaced Netanyahu the first time around, bowed to the inevitable. And to his credit, he did it reluctantly.
Netanyahu, we are told, did his best. Like the most dedicated of the ghetto leaders during the Holocaust, he stalled for time, he gave out false lists, he tried to distract the important foreigners swaggering through his ghetto, hoping that they wouldn’t see the children, wouldn’t start thinking about how those children might look splayed across an altar of peace with their throats cut and a bloody worthless peace agreement in their mouths.
But then when he was cornered, he bowed to necessity. Was he a Rumkowski, hallucinating that he could save the Jews of Lodz through peaceful Nazi collaboration, or a Kastner, playing the game to save a majority and then maybe a minority and then leaving with a few trains of important people with the death screams of the half-a-million Jews of Hungary whom he lied to and betrayed for their own good ringing in his ears.
Perhaps when all the peace processes are done, then the Labor Party, Kastner’s party, will rescue a few planeloads of important people from the burning ruins of Israel and mark that as the success of their peace efforts.
If you wish to understand, pause and listen for a moment to Chaim Rumkowski as he delivers the infamous speech to the Jews of the Lodz Ghetto that will one day be known as the “Give Me Your Children” speech.
“The ghetto has been struck a hard blow. They demand what is most dear to it – children and old people. I was not privileged to have a child of my own and therefore devoted my best years to children,” Rumkowski, the former orphanage director turned head of the Lodz Ghetto Judenraat, says, wiping his forehead.
“I lived and breathed together with children. I never imagined that my own hands would be forced to make this sacrifice on the altar. In my old age I am forced to stretch out my hands and to beg: Brothers and sisters, give them to me! Fathers and mothers, give me your children!”
“Yesterday, in the course of the day,” Rumkowski tells the assembled Jews, who only thought that they had lived through hell at that point, “I was given the order to send away more than 20,000 Jews from the ghetto, and if I did not – ‘we will do it ourselves’.”
And it is this phrase. This “we will do it ourselves” that is the true name of the moloch of peace. Hear the rationalizations now from Rumkowski’s lips on September 4, 1942, addressing men and women who are doomed to death. Hear it from the lips of Netanyahu and his associates. Hear it from the conservative rationalizers who warn that if Israel does not give up its children on the altar of peace, Obama and the European Union and all the rest will do it themselves. “The question arose: ‘Should we have accepted this and carried it out ourselves, or left it to others?’ But as we were guided not by the thought: “how many will be lost?” but “how many can be saved?” we arrived at the conclusion – those closest to me at work, that is, and myself – that however difficult it was going to be, we must take upon ourselves the carrying out of this decree,” Rumkowski said, transforming his collaboration in the murder of thousands of children into an act of personal courage.