JVP: Memorial days for Holocaust, soldiers, independence are 'harmful Zionist' propaganda

"Israeli leaders intentionally designed the sequence of these fabricated, secular holidays," to promote "harmful Zionist narratives," argued Jewish Voice for Peace.

An anti-Israeli protest inspired by BDS (photo credit: REUTERS)
An anti-Israeli protest inspired by BDS
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism, and Independence Day were created to promote "harmful Zionist narratives" that Jews can only be protected through militarism, colonialism and apartheid, and to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians,  anti-Zionist Jewish NGO Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) claimed on Thursday.

"Israeli leaders intentionally designed the sequence of these fabricated, secular holidays, timing them to fall just after Passover on the Jewish calendar," JVP wrote in a series of posts across its social media accounts as Israelis celebrated Independence Day, and posted a few hours before a deadly terrorist attack in Elad. 

JVP argued that Israel uses Passover to create a narrative of Jewish history as having "recurring cycles of oppression and freedom," and that its proximity to state days of commemoration is to insert Israel into that narrative, starting with Holocaust Remembrance Day. Also called Yom Hashoah, was established on the day that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising occurred. 

"Unlike other Holocaust days, Israel's 'Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day' celebrates Jews' justified armed resistance to Nazism and, disturbingly and wrongly, connects it to the inexcusable mass murder and expulsion of Palestinians by Zionist militias, i.e. the Nakba," wrote JVP.

Hen Mazzig, a Senior Fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute, said that JVP calling the stories of Holocaust survivors such as Lucy Lipiner  "Zionist propaganda" is "dismissing her pain and suffering as well as the slaughtering of half of her family members. I would tell them to do better, but this organization is constantly doing the worst they can."

The commemoration of ghetto fighters and the placing of the Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism after a day mourning the Holocaust is seen by the group to be a "contrived, sinister connection" promoting militarism.

According to JVP, Remembrance Day "memorializes soldiers killed in the 1948 'War of Independence' and ever since — that is, while perpetuating the Nakba, which continues to this day." The NGO said the day "victimizes Israeli soldiers, obscuring the power and violence they wield against Palestinians."

Remembrance Day, also called Yom Hazikaron, commemorates not just the Israeli soldiers killed in combat against Palestinian militants and terrorists, but all soldiers and security personnel lost in battle in wars with countries including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

The day also serves as a day for commemorating Israelis murdered in terrorist attacks, and there has been a recent push to include those killed in the diaspora in acts of antisemitic violence. The commemoration was initially held during Independence Day, but in 1951 was given a separate memorial day the day before.

"The Zionist state-building narrative reaches a climax the next day on Yom HaAtzmaut, or 'Independence Day,' which commemorates the creation of Israel in 1948 and was originally celebrated on May 15," said JVP. "By pairing its memorial to 'fallen' soldiers with its statehood celebration, Israel reinforces the myth of Jews as perennial victims who need a militarized state to protect us."

Israel's Independence Day is observed on the Hebrew calendar date Iyar 5, which coincided with the day that Israel declared independence on May 14 1948.

"We don't buy any part of this Zionist narrative," said JVP. "We reject the Israeli state's distortion of our religion's liberation story into an ahistorical myth of endless Jewish persecution. We refuse the idea that we are doomed to victimhood unless we accept militarism and nationalism. We don't want the memories of ancestors murdered in the Holocaust to be instrumentalized to justify the murder and expulsion of Palestinians."

"Attempts like those by JVP to distort history and reality don’t stay just within their followers online - it legitimizes all actors of hate," Saskia Pantell of the Sweden Israel Alliance & Zionist Federation of Sweden said in response to JVP's posts. "Being an American liberal Jew that grew up in Europe I’m horrified by these extremist lies. I’ve witnessed firsthand how this kind of propaganda harms the daily lives of Jews globally resulting in death threats and attacks against Jews myself included."