Forum for Living History: This Story Should Be Told
by Lasse Wilhelmson in Stockholm
There is a debate currently taking place in Sweden concerning the national institute, Forum for Living History (FFLH). It was established by the social democrats when they were in power in 2003. Its, probably unique, undertaking is to spread knowledge and to engage predominantly young people, for “democracy, tolerance and human rights with the Holocaust as the starting point” and to create awareness of the threat posed by anti-Semitism. “The Story Must be Told” they say, so that it will never occur again. Hitherto however, the FFLH has not concerned itself with The Palestinian catastrophe, Al Nakba.
The FFLH mainly supervises projects in schools and carries out dubious opinion polls among the general public. It also cooperates quite overtly and shamelessly with the Zionist propaganda institute Middle East Media Research Institute – MEMRI. The head is Yigal Carmon who worked for the Israeli intelligence service 1968-88 and now appears as an expert on Anti-Semitism in Arabic and Iranian press for a Swedish governmental organisation. Hence, we have here a unique example of the production of Zionist ideology, authorised by the state and spread through official government campaigns including large amounts of ready-made material, free of charge.
FFLH has recently been commissioned by the present conservative government to carry out a new school project in 2008, concerning oppression and terror during communist regimes, mainly those of the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia.
Researchers of history have protested in an appeal, saying among other things, “(we) nurture a growing concern that history, as a school subject, is being turned into a battlefield for the government’s ideological campaigns and that the openness and critical attitudes FFLH purports to stimulate, are being threatened”. They further question whether it is “the task of the government to replace the normal teaching of history with campaign history, along with issuing detailed directions as to how history should be interpreted and used.” The appeal ends with a quotation from the campaign’s instructions for teachers. “In a dictatorship, the way history is told always aims at serving the state”. And, lastly, the researchers pose a rhetorical question, wondering what conclusions of all this the pupils risk making.
This initiative is commendable, but less so than if the appeal had been made when the FFLH was starting up. There have been no appeal from researchers until communism came next on the agenda for scrutiny. And why is al Nakba not among the genocides and persecutions referred to by the protesting historians? There seems to be an agreement between them and FFLH. The Story of Al Nakba Must not be Told. Obviously, the political Left must take some responsibility for this.
An illustrative example is the Swedish communist party’s foremost spokesman on the situation in Palestine. He carries out his political work in an exclusive Jewish Zionist “organisation for peace”, although as a Marxist he ought to be both an atheist and anti-Zionist. In the organisation he takes upon himself to fight “anti-Semitism” within the solidarity movement for Palestine, a movement that willingly works together with Jewish leftwing Zionists and allows them to set the agenda; as they say themselves, so as not to risk being accused of “anti-Semitism” .
The result of this cooperation is that issues of the Palestinians inalienable right to return from expulsion, the Jewish state, the Israeli lobby, the Ziocons, and Zionism become so-called non-questions, not only for the Palestine solidarity movement but for all anti-imperialists, for whom oil becomes the sole factor that causes all the evil in the world. This ideological Zionisering of the western world is essential for carrying on neo-colonial wars, especially those against Islam and the Arab world.
In Sweden’s largest daily tabloid newspaper, Expressen, however, a prominent liberal person of Rumanian Jewish ancestry, criticises the newly launched FFLH campaign against communism. In answer to this, I submitted the article “Comparing Zionism with Fascism is Quite in Order”, see below. A week passed, and I received the answer that the editor had had no success in trying to engage more people in the debate, not surprisingly, and that “your article as you will understand, is no longer of current interest”.
No other newspaper or magazine has published the article and several have said that they find it too controversial, or that they lack the expertise needed to scrutinise the article which, despite this, they all find “very interesting and well written.” I could not in my wildest dreams have imagined the creativity of “radical” editors. They put forward incredibly far-fetched apologies for not publishing the article. Apologies that went against all the publicist principles they claim to adhere to.
Here follows the article:
Comparing Zionism with Fascism is Quite in Order
On the 17th of March 2008, in the tabloid newspaper Expressen entitled “Comparing Communism with Fascism is quite in order,” Ana Maria Narti discusses the connection between ideology and practice in Communism. She maintains that Forum for Living History (FFLH) refuses to see this link, thus causing confusion rather than enlightenment. The reason behind this is that the leading campaign researcher is of the opinion that there can be no comparison between Communism and Fascism, because there was “much light” in the Communist utopia.
I am inclined to agree with Narti’s criticism, but it also applies to Fascism, or National Socialism, whose totalitarian ideologies also contained “much light”. I would go as far as to say that this is typical of all so-called ideologies, this inclusion of “much light”, and that, because of this, it is vital to make the connection to their role in society before arriving at a reasonable assessment of their merits. Not the least, because ideologies are always used to justify “much darkness”.
I am personally sceptical of all ideologies. They consist of locked dogmas that leave no room for people’s own thoughts, thus making them easier to rule and control. The significance of the media and of education as producers of ideology in today’s global world can hardly be overstated in this context. Governments also realise this, FFLH itself is an example. This should, however, in principle, make us cautious. Independent institutes would be preferable for historical research and we already have a form for political expression in the right to build parties and in our parliamentary liberal democracy.
Narti’s article touches on the important question of the method the Swedish people choose to gain knowledge of history for purposes of prevention ie so that they are able to recognise totalitarian ideologies before it is too late, by looking at their role in society. The story must be told in order for us to prevent the recurrence of atrocities to human nature. So let as get to the roots of not only Communism but also of Zionism, another ideology born in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The fundaments of Zionism were laid down by Moses Hess, called the communist rabbi. He was one of Germany’s earliest renowned socialists and Karl Marx’s mentor in his search for socialism. He is considered by Zionists as the first Zionist and wrote the book “Rome and Jerusalem” (1862). In the book Hess emphasises the Jewish “race” as superior and chosen, and the Jewish religion as the best guarantee for Jewish nationality.
Theodor Hertzl is usually considered to be Zionism’s founder. Later on, he referred to Hess’s book as the one that says everything worth saying about Zionism. Hertzl presented a plan for the colonisation of Palestine in his book “The Jewish State” (1896), which was affirmed at the first Zionist congress in 1897. The Jewish “race” is seen as a people with a right to their own state in Palestine, the location of Mount Zion. The goal is a Socialist Utopia – a model state - with “light” similar to that of Communism.
The Zionist Project was further developed by Ber Beorochov who argued “territorial concentration” as a solution to the Jewish question. He founded Poale Zion, the Marxist Zionist Party which supported the Russian Revolution in 1917. Ben Gurion, one of the Party members and Israel´s founder, came to Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century. He considered himself a Bolshevik and was in favour of the dictatorship of the proletariat in all countries, except Palestine where he favoured the dictatorship of Zionism. What, then, are the practical politics of Zionism?
The Zionist slogan ‘A land without people to a people without land’ has engineered the Jewish colonisation of Palestine for a hundred years or more. To realise its goal, a ‘Jewish State’, there is a need for a substantial majority of Jews, hence the ethnic cleansing of the people who originally lived there, a so-called lebensraum. Israel is, therefore, essentially a racist state. Jewish superiority is maintained by a system of apartheid, inherent in laws, administration and religion. To this day, Israel lacks a constitution and official borders, entirely in keeping with Zionism’s demand for more land.
Of what was originally Palestine, 85 percent has been stolen or annexed, and the rest is occupied. In 1948, 800,000 Palestinians were driven off or fled the country, and are denied their right to return, a right laid down by the UN. The Palestinians call this the catastrophe - Al Nakba. The West Bank consists of walled-in enclaves which are controlled by hundreds of checkpoints and Gaza has become the largest open-air prison/ghetto in the world, blockaded and suffering starvation. About 10,000 Palestinians, many of them children, are in Israeli jails without trials or judgements. Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians amount to what is formally named genocide.
Zionism puts together “Race”, People, Nation and “the Chosen” to make a National Socialist version of colonialism – “lebensraum” and “blut und boden” – and it existed as early as the nineteenth century. Later, German National Socialism was created with the same ideological components and with similar policies for society. “If Nazism is the Germans’ version of National Socialism, then Zionism is the Jews’.
"I too, like Hitler, believe in the power of the blood idea"
This is written by Chaim Nachman Bailik, Israel’s national poet, in “The Present Hour” (1934).
The crimes committed by Zionism are the result of the Zionist ideology. Indeed, this story should be told, Forum for Living History.
-Lasse Wilhelmson partakes in the debate about the situation in the Middle East and is a member of the local government of Täby for 23 years, four of which in an executive position. He lived in Israel for a few years in the early 1960’s. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle. com. Contact him at: lasse.wilhelmson@ bostream. nu.