The Czech Persuasion: Against grandiose ideas & miraculous solutions in the Mid-East


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H/T Evelyn Gordon

Following the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich in March 1938, Hitler assumed the role of advocate for ethnic Germans living in Czechoslovakia, triggering the “Sudeten Crisis”. In April, Sudeten Nazis demanded autonomy.  

In September that same year, French Prime Minster Édouard Daladier and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to Hitler’s demand on the immediate occupation of the Sudetenland. 

The Sudetenland was relegated to Germany between October 1 and October 10, 1938.  However, the Nazis weren’t appeased for long.

The Czech part of Czechoslovakia was invaded by the Nazis in March 1939.

There was not to be “peace in our time”.

The question of why the Czech Republic, alone among the 27 EU countries, voted with Israel and only seven other countries at the UN on November 29 against upgrading the Palestinian status at the UN is likely related to Czech history, but is also informed by a broader understanding of the world – one quite at odds with the modern political zeitgeist,

In an interview following the recent Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya, Czech Ambassador Tomas Pojar responded to the suggestion that there are historical parallels between Czechoslovakia in 1938 and the pressure exerted on Israel today to agree to partition Israel and create a Palestinian Arab state.

He cautioned on imputing too great of a political parallel with the situation in 1938 in Central Europe, but still, he said, there are similarities.

“There are certain parallels in that Czechoslovakia was the only democratic country in the entire region at the time…There are parallels about how much guarantees you can get from outside, and how much you should rely on them.”

Pojar said that in addition to his country’s tragic experiences during World War II, it also had experiences under the yoke of Soviet totalitarianism. 

However, more intriguing that the historical questions are the cognitive-political habits which Czechoslovakia’s dark history seems to have imbued in the modern Czech Republic.

Pojar added:

“We don’t believe in miracles, and we don’t believe in political miracles and the solutions of ideologies that [posit that] something can be easily implemented and solved.

It is not only either war or peace… Even some interim solutions are sometimes better than crumbled expectations because of grandiose ideas.”

Pojar’s political temperament seems to be shared by an increasing number of Israelis in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian (and Israeli-Islamist) Conflict – political sobriety about the limits of big, radical solutions to the intractable problems of war and peace in the Middle East.

The paternalistic, imperious and often hubristic lectures by Americans and Europeans on the pressing need for Israelis to be “saved from themselves”, rescued from the morass of short-shortsightedness, shown the enlightened path towards co-existence and reconciliation with the Palestinian “other” within the framework of the “New Middle East”, seem frighteningly unmoored from the reality of our existence in the region.

Putative peace agreements, sweeping final-status proposals and unilateral withdrawals have not appeased, nor in the very least even-tempered, our neighbors’ insatiable Judeophobic antipathy.

Pojar, when asked if Europe takes Hamas’s statements calling for the destruction of Israel seriously enough, said he could not speak about the EU, but that he did not feel the “mainstream European elites” did so. The elites, he added, were “sometimes detached from reality”, and not only about the Middle East and the threat posed by Islamists.

After two decades of “noble and naïve ideas” that left the country “battered and bloody”, Israelis understand with a lucidity unburdened by puerile dreams or illusions that land is not valid political currency in the quest to acquire peace for Jews in the Middle East. 

The margin for error in such political calculations are minuscule, and the stakes are enormous.

While the comparison between Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Israel in 2013 can, of course, be overblown, our friends in the democratic West should at least view the dangerous failure, in the first half of the 20th century, of Europe’s stubborn belief in universality of reasonableness, the assumption of good will and the projection of our own positive-sum calculus to zero-sum political actors as a cautionary tale.

The wisdom of the ‘Czech Persuasion’ simply can not be easily ignored.

72 comments on “The Czech Persuasion: Against grandiose ideas & miraculous solutions in the Mid-East

  1. “pressure exerted on Israel today to agree to partition Israel and create a Palestinian Arab state.”

    There is no ‘pressure…to partition Israel’, simply pressure to give up territory illegally occupied and illegally settled as a result of war.

    The true parallel between 1938 and 2013 likens Germany and Israel as expansionist states, both seeking additional land by violent means.

    • Those wily Israelis. Somehow persuaded the Arabs to attack them so that they could take their land by violent means,

      • Chamberlain and Daladier met with Nazis officials.

        So did Jewish Lehi’s Naftali Lubenchik, who was sent to Beirut to meet German official Werner Otto von Hentig.

        • There’s a difference between meet a nazi and being one; For instance, your pals leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, lived in a villa in Berlin during the war.

    • Sencar, do you mean the territory Khaked Meshaal is talking about?
      The one in the Galilee, Yaffo and Lod?

      • Itsik,
        Let us not forget about Hezbollah (another self-proclaimed “member in good standing”, of the so-called Arab Nation,), the PLO’s “phased plan,” or any of the other pathologically driven sickos.

      • Do at least first learn the actual meaning of “revisionist” thinking before throwing it around so liberally.

      • Fritz, by the name Pretzelberg comes across as German even so it’s Bretzel, not Pretzel as in Amerika. Yet, the way he talks, he might not be far from it. I’m German but I love God with all my heart, mind and strength and as such his chosen people Israel. Someone who does not know the Bible or comes from Catholicism and/or Protestant church does understand that. I’m a born again Christian not raised in any church. I read my Bible and if I truly believe that the pastor is of track, especially when it comes to Israel, I walk out the door. Thankfully I am member of a good church. That doesn’t make me Baptist, just God’s child believing his word.

    • “illegally occupied and illegally settled as a result of war.”

      You failed to mentioned that it was a defensive war, sencar (on accident, on purpose, I’m sure). Quite a different legal matter under traditional law. Out of your depths again.

      “The true parallel between 1938 and 2013 likens Germany and Israel as expansionist states, both seeking additional land by violent means.”

      What a bunch of biased, intellectually lazy nonsense.

      • ‘“The true parallel between 1938 and 2013 likens Germany and Israel as expansionist states, both seeking additional land by violent means.”

        What a bunch of biased, intellectually lazy nonsense.’ Jeff

        In fact, that’s the classic nazi card, a clear sign of a Jew-hater. “Prof” sencrap just can’t hellp it.

        • Instead of reaching for the nearest anti-semite accusation card, SerJew, try dealing with the facts. Nazi Germany was a classic example of a state with expansionary ambitions that used war to extend its borders. Now tell me why Israel doesn’t fit that same description.

          • Well, pseudo-prof, Israel was created through the UN; it was repeatedly attacked and survived; moreover, while every country on Earth retains territory won in defensive wars, Israel returned territory to her enemies, for instance, the whole Sinai and, more recently, Gaza.

            But, you know that stuff very well, don’t you, “prof”? These are the facts you don’t care about. Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is the type of sizzling pornographic perversion that you and your role-model Julius Streicher enjoy so much.

          • SerJew, the acquisition of land by way of force is ILLEGAL under international law.

            Israel must withdraw from the territory of the state of Palestine and repatriate its settlers back home to Israel.

            In the meantime, the Jewish state will remain marginalized within the international community for not following such basic legal principles as the prohibition of acquiring land by force or or not letting a people excercize its right to self-determination.

          • There’s no palestinian state, you liar, basically because so-called palestinians aren´t interested in self-determination nor in state-building, but in destroying Israel. That’s why they voted for Hamas, an openly islamofascist genocidal gang.

          • Nazi Germany was a classic example of a state with expansionary ambitions that used war to extend its borders. Now tell me why Israel doesn’t fit that same description.

            Practically every state in human history has at some point sought to extend its borders via war!
            Nazi Germany embarked on an unprecedented campaign of genocide, torture and destruction. Israel has done nothing of the kind.

          • SerJew, were you spending time in outer space last month, when Palestine became Wa full-fledged state and got a standing ovationf rom nearly all western democracies in the world at the UN?

            PS: Micronesia, Paulu and the Marshall islands do not qualify as “Western nations”.

      • Jeff, the acquisition of land by force has been ILLEGAL for more than 100 years.

        Whether this was a “defensive” or an “agressive” war does not matter. What matters is that the Hague Regulations (1907) and the UN Charter (1945) both include the basic legal principle that it is illegal to acquire territory by force.

        Israel ratified the UN Charter, binding to all UN members – Israel included.

        • Nat you must be a so called “pro-Palestinian” professor of history teaching in a British universuty – your knowledge of history is a perfect match.
          …the acquisition of land by force has been ILLEGAL for more than 100 years…
          More than 100 years means that all lands annexed by any country by force is illegal like:
          -Transylvania occupied by Romania
          -Vajdasag and Banat occupied by Serbia
          -Szigetkoz and felvidek occupied by the Slovak Republic
          -Mazuria occupied by Poland
          -Diego Garcia occupied by the UK
          -Karpatalja occupied by Ukraine
          -Moldavia once part of Romania
          and FYI the above are only some examples of tens of similar cases.
          An interesting observation – anti-Semite Israel haters have a lot of problem with historical facts…

          • In fact, obsessive Israel haters deliberately ignores and/or falsifies history, a technique perfected by communists and fascists alike.

      • Will allies like you one needs no enemies. Israel is doing fine, and you are probably using Zionist software right now. Quick, log-off!

    • Germany occupied several European countries in the 40s; all of them fought back and gained their freedom.

      Why does the current Government of Israel expect the Palestinians not fo fight back to gain their freedom? The state of Palestine is currently occupied by the Israeli army. Large chunks of the Palestinian territory have been confiscated by Israel and given to settlers living in settlements built outside Israel, in violation of international law.

      • Indeed, and the Mufti of Jerusalem al Husseini barely escaped from being tried as nazi war criminal.

        • That’s inacurrate.

          You always have the most extravagant explanations but you do not provide one shred of evidence.

          Can you please provide us with reliable sources on this?

          • Ariel/Nat etc.
            SerJew is correct.
            From a Memorandum by the Secretary of State for the Colonies presented to the Cabinet dated 21st November 1945.
            Ref: C.P. (45) 294
            “2. There are a number of Palestine Arabs who co-operated with the Axis
            Powers. Most of them took a conspicuous part in the troubles in Palestine before
            the war. The Palestine Government are ready to deal under their own law with
            fourteen of them, but there are twenty-one whom they do not desire to see back
            in Palestine.
            3. Much the most important of these is the Mufti of Jerusalem. He and
            two of his followers are in French hands. They have been living under
            conditions of residence surveillee on the outskirts of Paris since May of this year.
            Five others are in our hands in Brussels and one in Italy. Of the rest, three
            have succeeded in reaching Syria, one is in Turkey, one is believed to have died,
            and nothing has been heard of the other seven.
            4. Strong representations were made to the French in May and again in
            June that the Mufti should be handed over to S.H.A.E.F. but they did not comply
            with the request, and with the dissolution of S.H.A.E.F. they seem to have
            assumed that the request had lapsed. Their first reaction to a further formal
            request on the 17th October was to ask what we propose to do with the Mufti
            if he is handed over and whether it is intended to bring him to trial as a war
            criminal.”

            The full memorandum is available online, as are other U.K. Cabinet papers from this period, the reference and date are above should you wish to read it.

          • SerJew wrote that the Mufti of Jerusalem al Husseini “barely escaped from being tried as nazi war criminal”.

            The text youve provided demonstrates that he lied.

            Read it: it ways that one diplomat suggested that he be tried as a “war criminal” (and not as Nazi war criminal, which is dramaticallt different) but that his request was not taken seriously by anyof the Allies.

          • Some people have said that Ariel Sharon should be judged as a war criminal. However it would be inaccurate to write that he “barely escaped from being tried as nazi war criminal”, SerJew.

            Man, you have a vivid imagination.

    • What about Micronesia? When will CIF Watch write about the Micronesian persuasion: Against grandiose ideas & miraculous solutions in the Mid-East ?

      And after that they can write about the Marshall islands persuasion and the Paulu persuasion too.

    • It’s clear that you did not research Palestine’s history in the late 19th throughout the first half of the 20th century. And the fact that Jewish presence was always in Palestine even after emperor Hadrian renamed Judea to Palestina as well as Jerusalem in an attempt to wipe out any memory of Jews in the land. Do your homework than talk about Israel.

  2. So on the one hand CiFWatch insists that comparisons of Israel with the Nazis are automatically anti-Semitic.

    And then the same site publishes an article very much suggesting parallels between Nazi Germany and the Palestinian cause.

    Not your finest hour, CiFW.

    And what prospective Israeli “partition” is the author on about?? Perhaps she claims all land between the river and the sea?

    • I think the attempt was to compare the world powers’ appeasments made during WW2 era and today’s era to the forces which see no reason, do not change their Antisemitic media cover and give honors to people who kill Jewish civilians masked as “Resistance against the Protocols”.

      • But where is the parallel to the Czechs being forced to hand over first half and then all their country?

        And why does it have to be the Nazis – especially given this website’s insistence that Nazi comparisons with Israel are automatically anti-Semitic?

        • “And why does it have to be the Nazis – especially given this website’s insistence that Nazi comparisons with Israel are automatically anti-Semitic?” prickleberg

          Gee, could it be because the nazi’s core ideology was lethal Jew-hatred, which which they implemented by meticulously exterminating 2/3 of European Jewry? Nah, that’s just a coincidence.

          • This article is about the UN vote, and the pressure on Israel to give back occupied territory. That pressure does not incorporate calls to exterminate the Jews.

          • Pretz,
            The main point is to not hand back territory without an agreement.
            The Arabs mentra is first hand back the land than we’ll shall reach an agreement.
            Hamas states this openly.
            Fatah play games with semantics but judging by its school programs and the main stream media articles we can see that this is what they believe.
            Why Czech, because this was the only EU country against the one way rush solution to vote for Palestinian state and because the minister visiting is Czech.
            Why Nazis, because even though any Fascist group will do the Nazis were the ones taking “back” German territory from the Czechs.

            Funny enough the German “refugees” still want to “return” to their homes in Karlo Vivari etc.

            Just like the Palestinian “refugee” Abu Mazen who longs to reclaim his home in Tsfat.
            A home no one seems to agree on its where about.

          • @ ItsikDeWembley

            But the author is talking about e.g. pressure from the US and Europe for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.

            And re. Just like the Palestinian “refugee” Abu Mazen who longs to reclaim his home in Tsfat.:

            Forgotten this already?
            “Abbas said he had no intention of trying to regain his childhood home in the northern town of Safed”

            http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iCnfDtD2X4IslSQr9hTN5KVbbYdA?docId=CNG.5756fdcd2044f5247ffe7732f8ebcf0e.3b1

        • See my answer below.
          My German grand mother’s family which was born in Karlo Vivari voted as Germans.
          They, like the Palestinians, believed the Sudaten lands to be German lands.
          They were mainly factory workers which came to the area to work after the industrial expansion which happened once Bismark united the provinces.
          After the Austro Hungary collapse Praque was able to recover quicker then the crippled Germany.
          Many Germans fled to the near by cities for work.
          Seeing that the Jews were in banking, office work and realtors while the Czechs were mainly in white collar work, and used the German migrants as cheap labour, Hitler tunes played right into the German’s jealous ears.

          This reminds you of the Palestinian story and Haj Amin Al Husseini’s incitement?
          If not, why not?
          Do you not concede that Jewish migrants from 1880′s – 1920′s created new jobs in Palestine?
          Do you not see how the Arabs migrants despised the Jewish success?

          Of course this not a one way street and Jews played a part in the growing conflict but there is much similarity here to ignore.

          • I fail to see real parallels. The Nazis annexed the Sudetenland to expand Germany’s borders. The Palestinians do not even have a country of their own (yet).

            And why does the author talk of the “partition” of Israel?

          • Good post, Itsik. I wouldn’t say that Arab migrants despised Jewish success, but rather they were and still are perniciously envious of it, a state of affairs which still exists towards Israel from her Arab neighbours, and this motivates their crazy behaviour.

            The most commonsensical explanation for this lies in the internalised hatred of the Jews taught by Islam (the continuous repetition down the ages of the narcisstic rage of their prophet because the Jews rejected him) and fed to Arabs in their formative years and then throughout their lives. Muslims are told that they are beloved of their allah and that Jews are despised and yet all around them they see Jewish success and contribution to the world. How can this be? The resulting cognitive dissonance this causes is what sends them into murderous hysterics, stops them thinking properly, loses them wars again and again, and yet they never learn to do things differently, and it never occurs to them that if they put their hatred aside and made a lastly peace with Israel, they, too could make massive advances and benefit. So consumed with Jew-hatred are their leaders and so sheep-like are the people that this cannot even be apprehended, let alone talked about.

          • “Do you not concede that Jewish migrants from 1880′s – 1920′s created new jobs in Palestine?”

            No, I don’t concede anything of the kind.

            During the First Aliyah of 1882-1903 a few thousand Jews established settlements, often using Arab labour. Many of the settlements failed and about half of the Jews left Palestine. So not many new jobs there then.

            Jews arriving during the Second Aliyah of 1904-1914 adopted a deliberate policy of employing Jews only. So no new jobs for Arabs anyway.

            The Third Aliyah of 1920 – 1926 saw David Ben-Gurion seeking to segregate all Jewish from Arab labour – in industry as well as agriculture. No significant new employment was generated by Jews for Arabs.

          • sencar,

            “No, I don’t concede anything of the kind.”

            Question: Who asked you?

            “The Third Aliyah of 1920 – 1926 saw David Ben-Gurion seeking to segregate all Jewish from Arab labour – in industry as well as agriculture. No significant new employment was generated by Jews for Arabs.”

            So, according to you, Ben-Gurion sought to segregate that which according to you never existed in the first place. Great point.

          • @Mitnaged

            You talk about the “cognitive dissonance” of an entire people??

            Please – spare us the amateur psychology.

        • Herr Pretzel, have you discarded your thinking cap?

          The obvious parallel is the willingness of the west to sacrifice an entire country and people in appeasement of violently racist, totalitarian forces.

          And the Nazi element is introduced because the philosophy threatening Czechoslovakia was Nazism. Or did you think the threat from the Poles or the Jews/

          • Again I ask: why “Herr Pretzel”??

            Or did you think the threat from the Poles or the Jews
            What kind of insane question/suggestion is that?

    • Will you nil you pretzelberg, there are very real echoes of Nazi-like fascism in the behaviour of Hamas, not least in its inculcation of mindless hatred into its young, its willingness to sacrifice ordinary people for “the cause”, the unrelenting Jew-hatred in its media and what it teaches its children in school.

      And even you must have seen echoes of Der Sturmer in the anti-Jewish cartoons in Islamist newspapers.

      So when you wag your overused finger at CiF Watch and pontificate as you do to achieve little except make yourself look foolish.

    • Perhaps YOU should study up enough to know that Evelyn Gordon is a man.

      “So on the one hand CiFWatch insists that comparisons of Israel with the Nazis are automatically anti-Semitic.”

      Don’t you think such comparisons are anti-Semitic? What other country is so emphatically compared to Nazis? You use the word “automatically,” whereas I would say it’s become rather reflexive.

      “And then the same site publishes an article very much suggesting parallels between Nazi Germany and the Palestinian cause.”

      You don’t think there are very real parallels to be drawn with the Nazis amongst Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.?

      I know you’re driven to be even-handed, but don’t be so superficial about it.

      • Frankly I’m sick of the Nazi comparisons with Israel. You should know that by now. Anti-Semitic? In many cases, yes.

        My gripe with old Evelyn is his underhand suggestion that the very cause of Palestinian indpendence bears parallels with the Nazi attacks on the Czechs and other lands – plus the notion that the democratic West wants to see Israel partitioned.

        • pretz,

          I don’t really want to get into it with you, but I don’t see where Mr. Gordon is being “underhanded” nor do I see him saying that the very idea of independence for Palestinians is in and of itself necessarily a parallel to the Nazis.
          But there is a history to the Palestinian cause, (once known far and wide as the Arab cause), and it has been known to lay out plans for the destruction of Israel as an independent Jewish state.
          And yes, Abbas did go to the UN for a vote, instead of negotiating with Israel, i.e., he circumvented the very thing he actually needs to do. One is entitled to ask why.

          • Gordon talks about “historical parallels between Czechoslovakia in 1938 and the pressure exerted on Israel today to agree to partition Israel and create a Palestinian Arab state.”

    • If you read the Old Testament, it was to be from the River of Euprates to the Wadi of Egypt which is a small segment of Sinai. But then to some the Bible is irrelevant. So is God.

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  4. The SdP used violence to suppress other competing nationalist parties and asserted its own position as sole spokesman for the Sudeten Germans. It organized Sudeten refugees who had fled to Germany when Czechoslovakia became independent and recruited them into the Heimatbund, a paramilitary organization. This group later formed the basis of the Sudeten German Freikorps, a terrorist organization to which 34,000 Sudetens living in Germany were recruited. These terrorists raided Czech border areas and carried out atrocities until late 1938. The SdP and other Sudeten political organizations openly identified with the Nazi Party in Germany. Even in the face of escalating violence and provocations by the Sudeten Germans, the Czechoslovak authorities scrupulously maintained freedom of the press.

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