The Instigator
Emilrose
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TheUnexaminedLife
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Israeli School Trips to Auschwitz Should be Banned

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
TheUnexaminedLife
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/3/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,007 times Debate No: 102353
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (1)

 

Emilrose

Pro

By Israeli school trips I'm referring to excursions with high school students from Israel, and Auschwitz-Birkenau is a former concentration camp from WW2, located in south-west Poland and now open to visitors. As Pro I will be arguing that students from Israel should not be permitted *organised* trips there, Con will of course be arguing the opposite.
Character limit is 8000, first round acceptance, then opening arguments, rebuttals and closing arguments.

TheUnexaminedLife will be arguing as Con, I look forward to this debate and good luck to him)
TheUnexaminedLife

Con

Thanks for challenging me to this debate Emilrose.
I'm sure that we can both agree that all the Nazi concentration camps across the Third Reich were an egregious moral atrocity to mankind, unable to be convincingly defended in any way whatsoever. So, not making light of this topic, I am interested in hearing why you think Israeli students should miss out on the opportunity to go to one of these camps, namely Auschwitz, and see for themselves this place where so much horror occurred.
Debate Round No. 1
Emilrose

Pro

Thanks again Con, of course I can agree as to the heinousness of the Holocaust; this was a time period in which millions of Jews faced the most brutal treatment and Auschwitz is a clear example of this--so this isn't a debate on the Holocaust as such, but whether, looking at present time, Israeli schools should be able to make trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Just to make it clear to Con as well, I am not only referring to Auschwitz as a camp that Israeli students should not be permitted visits to--but all WW2 camps used by the Nazi's.

**Opening Argument**

Auschwitz-Birkenau was established by the Nazi regime in 1940, in the beginning of WW2. Originally it was intended as a camp for political prisoners who had failed to copy with Nazi agenda (1.) http://www.history.com...

Only a small number of Jews were deported to the camp, until 1942 (2.) http://auschwitz.org...

At this point, along with other camps in the German area of control (Belzec, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Chelmno, Dachau, etc.) one of the primary purpose's became to imprison Jewish people-from all over central Europe and East Europe; even parts of the West and South were not immune.

This all occurred in the three year 'final-solution', in which the intention was to rid Europe, literally, of Jewish presence. The atrocities that took place are fairly common knowledge--gas was also used in other camps, and in Nazi vans, but the high number of people killed at Auschwitz is what has given its reputation today.

It is estimated that at least 960,000 Jews died there (3.) https://www.ushmm.org...

In January 1945, frontline (Soviet) Ukrainian troops entered Auschwitz, many Jews had previously been forced to on marches by the Germans, but there were about 1000 very sick prisoners left.

I will now go onto my main contentions--
this may be a controversial point, but when Israeli students visit Auschwitz it is not necessarily for the reason people assume they are doing so; 'education' and being made aware of ones history is often just an excuse.

People can learn about any topic matter anywhere--visiting the place isn't necessary. Israeli Jews come from a very nationalistic country, with very nationalistic ideals.

At present they have a leader who quite casually makes statements such as: 'they will not put us back into (the) gas chambers' in his speeches, when he is basically trying to defend Israel's domestic and international approach towards politics; nationalism and the idea that there is an enemy, and that you must fight against it, are very commonplace things for Israeli's.

Which thus brings me to the point of Israeli teenagers when they visit Auschwitz--in many situations, they lack decorum. It's completely 'normal' for them to bring Israeli flags and wave them around.

I would argue is disrespectful to the memory of Jews who were actually at Auschwitz, in particular to the ones who had no real concept of what 'Israel' would be, who were happy in Europe prior to the Holocaust and led relatively contented lives there.

Moreover, it is also disrespectful to all the non-Jews that were taken to Auschwitz. Though fewer in numbers, they still went, and some still died.

These would include the Polish prisoners, Roma gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, etc.--the third link I gave offers the statistics on non-Jewish prisoners who were imprisoned and killed.

I'm sure for any non-Jews who come from Soviet countries, it is not exactly typical for them to wave around their national flag and take selfies.

This is such common knowledge that even a Facebook group was set-up to ridicule the Israeli's taking selfie pictures at Auschwitz (4.) http://www.haaretz.com...

And to show the flags:

http://i.imgur.com...

http://i.imgur.com...

http://i.imgur.com...

http://i.imgur.com...

http://i.imgur.com...

Now, to me this cheapens the place and it is unhealthy for teenagers to have such a preoccupation with their national flag, especially when considering all the political issues and misdemeanours in their own country.

In addition, from first-hand accounts, Israeli students can be extremely gregarious when they visit Auschwitz, often disregarding others visitors and behaving as if they have 'special' rights.

One Polish news outlet, Przekroj weekly, wrote a story of young Israeli's damaging hotels and behaving rudely towards locals (5.) polishpress.wordpress.com/2007/05/11/israeli-teenagers-are-a-nuisance-in-poland/amp/

(Unfortunately I cannot link any other article, as it is in Polish.)

One Israeli principle, in 2016, decided to cancel all Auschwitz trips for his school (6.) http://www.timesofisrael.com...

He stated that:

'Some of the children who go on the trip return from it more chauvinistic, and I definitely think that that"s not how the trip should be.'

'If there is a humane and universalist atmosphere in society or in the country, the trip can strengthen these messages, but when the atmosphere in the nation today is delegitimization of the other and when the atmosphere in society is ultranationalist, then this trip serves those trends.'

And:

'The trip in recent years is a trip with tendencies that are more belligerent and more suited to the atmosphere and the regime in Israel, which includes hatred of the other and fear of the other.'

He also cited the high costs and obvious emotional trauma that may be felt by many of the young students.

For most schools, the price per student to go to Auschwitz is at least 1000 dollars; which if you do the mathematics is overpriced and expensive.

Nine Israeli travel bosses were fined for forming their own 'cartel' and overcharging schools by 20% (7.) http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

I would personally argue more, given that accommodation and basic amenities in Poland are really very cheap.

Anyway, I think this summarises my opening argument so I will wait for Cons)
TheUnexaminedLife

Con


Responding to your main contentions--

1 'History is often just an excuse'
Even if it is an excuse, if history is given to these young people, should it not be permitted? I don't think anyone goes to Auschwitz as if it were a theme park and will certainly not come out unscathed. When I went to Auschwitz a fellow student described it as 'a factory of death'; it has a certain sombre atmosphere, a certain gloom, which isn't easily ignored. If they learn and feel this atmosphere, could this weigh up against some of the negative effects of their trip?

2 'Nationalistic ideals'
Around 75% of the Israeli population is Jewish (1) so I can see perfectly why a political leader might use Holocaust rhetoric for their own political ends. I actually find this point you raise the most concerning. Before Hitler's rise to power, Germany's anti-Semite beliefs and policy of Germanification (of the purity of being German) were deep-rooted. He did not make up these ideas. To hear the same 'us and them' dichotomy used by a politican inciting nationalistic beliefs is concerning. For people to then act upon these beliefs at concentration camps, startling.

But, this is a domestic problem and will not be solved by stopping people going to the camps (which have clearly become a symbol of their national identities and suffering). Their actions are the effect and not the cause, though in themselves are inexcusable if physically innocuous. Wouldn't it only stir up and make all the more fervent these nationalistic feelings if they were prevented from going to express their Jewish identities at European concentration camps? I imagine their feeling arise from some of the same problems Germany faced after WW1: a class divide, oppression by international powers and their conflict (with Palestine) which has caused lots of anger and desperation. It is only natural that the youth want to both express this anger (the Youth Bulge theory suggesting they the most likely to partake in social activism) and scapegoat people for nationalistic problems. Their leader is feeding into this by saying, 'they will not put us back into (the) gas chambers'. Non-colonial (interventionist) support and connections need to be offered to Israel to ease their pain; not a restriction on their freedom of movement. To do so would be to anger the nationalistic Israelis and to deprive an opportunity to those who aren't and go to Auschwitz for non-political reasons.

Fortunately, unlike Germany's under the Weimar government, the Israeli economy is quite strong given its natural resources-- but this surely only fuels a proliferation of weaponry and conflict.

(1) http://www.cbs.gov.il...
(2) An explanation of the Israeli-Palestine conflict:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk...

3 Disrespectful of the Holocaust
Animated by their strong emotions, youth behaviour at the concentration camps is surely offensive to many other visitors even if mostly harmless. Zeev Dagani (the principle of the school you cited) said that students felt 'emotional trauma' at Auschwitz-- and so they should. People should still be outraged and angry, not only because of political and cultural resonance with the Jewish people being part of the same social group. No one goes to a concentration camp and just takes selfies and protest. Perhaps disrespectful students could be rebuked by Polish staff and guards for poor behaviour, just as if a child were being disrespectful in any other place where a civilised composure was required. I again essentially see this is a problem of point (2). Their behaviour right now does not seem so damaging as to permit their ban from travelling, but only indicates their intrinsic state and attitudes given what is occuring in their country right now. If they were to physically escalate their actions, then on legal grounds the Polish government could pre-emptively stop an input of Israelis entering concentration camps.

4 Commercial abuses
I don't think this is the crux of your argument. If rival and fair companies were established in Israel for sending students to Poland, I think you would still protest on the grounds of points 1-3. I have to agree that economic exploitation is not fair and deprives many poorer students of the opportunity of going. Travel costs however are high; taking the coach/train fairs, flights my research tells me that are around $400 as well as hotel prices. A 20% overprice is nothing but commercially exploiting students (a common international practice) but again (in that article you gave) occurred only with 9 travel bosses. Surely there are other travel industries that schools can communicate with to organise trips.

Debate Round No. 2
Emilrose

Pro

Thanks for your quick response, Con.

You have pretty much gone straight to rebuttals (instead of opening arguments) but oh well...it does not matter.

**Argument Defence**

-History.

Here I didn't say that history was an excuse, I said that arguing about history/learning being a reason for these trips is an excuse; as political motivation is the real primary force behind them. They further add to the idea that Jews have enemies (in 21st century modern context) and encourage Israeli nationalism--there's no forgetting that these teenagers will be entering the Israeli Defence Forces when they become 18, regardless of what they actually want to do in life.

So upon visiting a place that was established *because* of war, they'll then be going to assist another ongoing war. One that may be different but is nevertheless still a war with many nationalist elements--so, in this sense there is hypocrisy involved and an unchanged state of ignorance about history and what nationalism can actually do to people.

In my opinion, it would be more productive for Israeli teenagers to participate in programs with Palestinian teenagers; to work on relations in this area and review their present-time situation.

-Nationalism.

This addresses some of the above points; but I would like to point out that while recognising that the words of Israel's leader are indeed nationalistic, and that there may be political motivations for visiting camps like Auschwitz, he still underplays it.

He states that there's a difference between politicians using verbal rhetoric and undertaking actual action, but Hitler was enabled by his own verbal rhetoric (Mein Kampf, and of course all the speeches, propaganda, etc.) so what one says is extremely important. Netanyahu is Israel's leader, therefore he has great influence over people and each speech that he gives matters.

Moreover, one could contend that he is more than capable of giving 'action' as well considering the ongoing conflict with Palestine. It is a different scenario to that of Nazi Germany, but, as I have already mentioned--nationalism is an undeniable much a part of it.

It is ironic Jewish people hated having the Star of David forced upon their clothes in WW2, yet now you have countless Israeli flags at Auschwitz...specifically only there to claim an identity and a nation, it is certainly not as if they are holding or waving them in support of the Jews who really suffered and lost their lives at Auschwitz; it is a political statement.

-Disrespect.

Back to one of my previous points, if a Polish person went around waving their flag or if a Russian did the same with the former Soviet Union or Russian flag--I'm sure people would find it most odd, and of course, most likely disrespectful to Jews. So the same standards should apply.

And again, disrespectful behaviour from Israeli teenagers towards other people who visit Auschwitz (and towards locals) is simply inexcusable, and recurrent enough to actually be a valid reason for banning; they approach the camp with entitlement and a belief that they have additional privileges, as I have mentioned in round two.

That you actually have people in Israel recognising the problem (like Zeev Dagani, the school principle referenced) shows that it is a legitimate and quite significant issue. In regards to the practicality of such a ban and how it would be enforced, I would think that the best option would be for Israeli schools to do it themselves.

The Polish government would not approach such a subject, or be allowed to enforce a ban like that. But Israeli school principles could actually decide to not pursue further trips or rather establish their own 'ban'/boycott , which would be a positive move in terms of cost on parents and of course in relation to nationalism.

-Cost.

Con again plays down this issue and attempts to justify the expensive costs *and* travel companies actually charging more than they should. He states that his research has only pointed to 400 dollars, but flights to Krakow (Poland) from Israel can be found for under 200 dollars, accommodation per student I think could be secured for 100 dollars...so the fact remains that families are being overcharged for what is 'supposed' to be an educational trip.

But, it seems to me that in addition to politics the trips to Auschwitz have less to do with education and more to do with profit. Con also uses the term 'only 9' travel bosses, but it was certainly enough for a non-Israeli international news paper to report on...and certainly enough to attract criticism in Israel itself.
TheUnexaminedLife

Con

My argument would simply be this-- you cannot deny any Jews access to the sites of the Holocaust. It doesn't matter if they're being 'disrespectful', using it as political tool, concentration camps are integral to their cultural identity and obviously why (out of anywhere in the world) Israelis have chose to demonstrate their anger there. Sure, if they were the neo-Nazis making pilgrimages, we might deny them entry in glorifying the Third Reich. But, they're not. They are angry and suffering Jews.

History
While I agree that using present-day programs to integrate Palestinians and Israelis would be ideal, this is beside the point. Jewish solidarity and national identity is what is being put under debate here: do young people lose the right to visit concentration camps because of their nation's politics and the Israel-Palestine conflict (which existed prior to WW2)?

I agree that the 2-year conscription of non-Arab Israelis is wrong and that a trip to Auschwitz shouldn't just be for pumping them up to fight. Yet, going to Auschwitz, it's hard not to be angry and horrified; if they send children there to feel these emotions, it is also because the children will feel a resonance and horror for those who died there. It is respectful, in a sense, only wrongly harnessed for political ends which we can only blame politicians for and not the children themselves.

Nationalism and Disrespect
Of course the USSR flag has certain negative connotations, namely that of dictatorship, but this is a reductive representation of the Israeli flag. Israel is the heart of the Jewish faith-- it is where their Holy sites remain, such as the second Temple Mount in it's capital Jerusalem. This is one of the factors of why Palestine and Israel are fighting because both Jews and Muslims/Christians (Palestine) hold claim to the same sites of faith, the same land, to deleterious rivalry and conflict.

The March of the Living event, which takes children from all over the world and takes them to Poland, young people of different nationalities wave the Israeli flag. It is an emblem of Jewish solidarity, not just Israeli nationalism. Here is an image of Canadian students waving it:
https://upload.wikimedia.org...

Jewish nationalism, Zionism, has existed from the start of the 20th century. It isn't a development of modern politics; the conflict has a long history.
https://www.youtube.com...

If some children start talking loudly in a library (disrespecting its behavioural code) do you ban all children from going to the library or do you punish those children who are disrespectful? Punish the disrespectful, sure, but do not deny a whole nation's youth this part of history. There are probably lots of students who go to Poland with nothing but the greatest respect for the sites they visit. Think of the minority Arab population in Israel-- no ties to Zionism or conscription, should they also be denied a chance to go and see the concentration camps? They make up around 15% of the population.

One principal does not by any means show a consensus amongst schools and the latter is what is required if a boycott is going to be put in place. To gain any real authority, nationalistic beliefs by the school system would have to change meaning that there is no longer appeal for the trips. Since this conflict is so deep-rooted in the culture, many teachers and headmasters are likewise Zionists. Therefore, I would argue a boycott is unlikely and idealistic (even if well-intentioned).

Cost
The $400 included return flights, so our figures are the same. I'm sure travel companies don't provide schools just a one-way ticket to Poland; they also need to arrange for them to return. Ethically, I would always be reticent if I was profiting from the Holocaust. There is the same issue about who gets the profits from Hitler's Mein Kampf's, nobody wanting to claim them. This issue tells us more about Israeli economics than it does disrespect. And whilst agree those nine travel bosses should be reprimanded, they in no way represent all travel companies in Israel that schools can operate through. Therefore, providing there are some who offer schools a fair price to send their children across borders, shouldn't Israelis be allowed to go?
Debate Round No. 3
Emilrose

Pro

**Closing Argument**

Firstly I need to remind Con that I am not referring to 'Jews', but Israeli's, or more specifically--student groups from Israel. The Jewish identity is and should be different to that of the Israeli identity. I am Jewish for example, but I am not from Israel.

The Jewish identity, as I see it, is an identity that encompasses many different countries and should rather revolve around the religion itself rather than *politics* or one specific national identity.

I personally see no issue with having other Jewish elements at Auschwitz (lighting candles, holding prayer, etc.) This is what it would mean to truly pay respect to the Jews killed there--a national flag does not, especially as the people held and killed at Auschwitz were not from Israel; what value or meaning does it really hold for them?

I am referring to Jews who had a Polish national identity, a Ukrainian national identity, Russian national identity, a Hungarian national identity...Jews who had lived in Europe for centuries; the Jewish men who had actually fought for Germany in the First World War--the Israeli flag, it holds invariably no intrinsic value to them.

I'd also point out how emigration to Israel was a 'last resort' for some, quite a few tried to re-settle but found that they had obviously lost everything (family, friends, possessions/money). And a lot of Russian Jews did not emigrate until later, due to not being able to openly practice Judaism under Soviet rule.

It remains that while Jews largely dominate Israel's population, Israel is not representative of Jewish people as a whole. (8.) https://en.m.wikipedia.org...

The claim that (they) 'are angry and suffering Jews' just does not work, they are not angry and suffering. They are people that have a relatively nice life in Israel, and most of the ones that go come from wealthier backgrounds anyway as they have to pay the minimum $1000 (sometimes it's 1600) to actually make the trip.

Many of their ancestors suffered, but they, themselves, are not suffering and have no legitimate personal reason to be angry.

Which refers to the point I had regarding 'entitlement' when Israeli student groups visit Auschwitz, which leads to them disregarding other visitors; again I can't link anything specific as there's literally no additional sources, but I've heard various accounts of pushing, shoving and the like from Israeli students from people who've also been at Auschwitz at the time.

And once more, regardless of the souls who perished there, how exactly do they feel about the Israeli flag being wavered about? Though I have relatives and friends who've visited Auschwitz, I have never gone myself but if I did and saw Israeli flags there I would be displeased.

Onto some more of Cons points:

He more or less admits that Israeli students would fare better learning about the current scenario: which is an ongoing and intrinsically harmful conflict with the Palestinians--one that Con is right in saying actually began before WW2, but certainly escalated some time after and with each war, the most recent one being only three years ago--a war which involved many casualties and fatalities, and with pretty high levels of propaganda...that's just so easy to believe.

Auschwitz is basically a preserved site of suffering, not a platform for you to go around waving flags and flaunting your politics, the same should naturally be expected from non-Israeli's.

In going on these trips to Auschwitz, Israeli teenagers are essentially buying into the idea that there is a 'common enemy' and a legitimate reason to be so preoccupied with the military and defending oneself. These days it is of course not Nazi Germany, it is Palestine and other Arab/Muslim states that they are made to believe they're fighting against.

It cements the realisation that Jewish people have suffered...and will never suffer again, no matter what measures or what lengths one has to go to, to reach that.

So things such as military combat, settlements on disputable land, lesser rights for Palestinians...they become justified.

I'm also aware as to how long Zionism has existed, it has two separate forms: religious and political, but since the start of the last century the two become intertwined and Zionism as it practiced now--is a very negative thing.

Con references how the Soviet flag being displayed at Auschwitz would indeed be offensive, on the basis of it being representative of a 'dictatorship'...but I would again argue that the Israeli flag and its political connotations, is extremely offensive for some; non-Jews and Jews alike.

They library comparison is also not really varied, as we are talking about what was formally a death camp, and a controversial nation state.

Con continues to agree with key parts of my argument (Zionist culture, etc.) but asserts that because of this culture, imposing a ban may very well be unrealistic--he has a point here, but it isn't exactly my argument; which is that there's *enough* objective reasons for such a ban to be in place.

It's possible that with the more politically neutral principles that do it, it may become more of an acceptable thing; and there's at least enough parents who either just cannot afford it or see it as wasteful to spend that kind of money on one short trip.

As for Israel's 15% Arab population and Arab teenagers being denied the right to see Auschwitz, Israeli (nationalistic) propaganda is also an issue for them--as they undertake mandatory conscription as well. But the possibility of a non-Israeli Jewish family paying that kind of cost is perhaps unlikely, to my knowledge, I have never heard of a Christian Arab or Muslim Arab family in Israel going on one of these trips.

Concerning the cost, $400 is under half that of the minimum that each student is charged--$1000, which does indeed mean that parents are purposely being shortchanged and that these trips are a marketable area for travel companies in Israel. This strongly undermines the 'education' argument as I have previously noted, and I do not see how charging parents more than you should be (for a trip of this gravity) is justified.

Anyway, I will leave my argument here. I thank you Con again for accepting this debate and doing his research! It was well-written and carefully considered.
TheUnexaminedLife

Con

Thank you for an interesting and well-informed debate,
***********************************************
Dealing with some of the points you raised this round:

As you are a Jew, I am reluctant to question your expertise over your own religion and culture. But, as far as I understand it, the Jewish faith is separate from being a Jew (maternally speaking). Because everyone born of a Jew, is a Jew by definition it is more than just a religion but an hereditary cultural group. God's chosen people, with claim over the Promised Land (claim over Jerusalem), have been identified almost as if a racial group over time with certain stereotypical racial features. There are some minority factions of the faith (like Karaite Judaism) who believe that being born a Jew is the only qualification for being a Jew. Being a Jew, is to be part of all a culture, a religion, a specific national identity, and a race.

One of the issues is that both Israel and Palestine claim ownership of Jerusalem. And because, traditionally Jews have looked to Jerusalem as a centre of their faith they have also looked towards Israel. I personally don't know why at the March of the Living event students of other nationalities (like Canada) would raise the Israeli flag if it weren't a symbol of Jewish solidarity as a whole. It's vexing. Why would non-Jewish Canadian students be showing solidarity for Jews by flying a flag that doesn't in any way represent Jews? Why would there be non-Jewish, Canadian, Zionists? (I know you can't respond in the debate but if you have the answer please put it in the comments).

As regards to the Soviet flag, flying that would be like flying the swastika; it is a symbol of a brutal autocratic regime which ensued in millions of deaths. It is true that the USSR fought against the Nazis, under the Potsdam and Yalta treaties, but I would also have issue with Allied or USA flags flying over concentration camps because although some members of these groups faced the camps, it does not belong to them. If they did, there would almost be a colonist undertone (which we do not want to promote given how they did occupy Germany after WW2). Numerically and culturally, the Jews have the largest claim to the horrors of the Holocaust; Nazism and Judaism are inseparably linked in all of our minds. The Nazis massacred many other groups, the disabled, gypsies, homosexuals and I would have no problem with the LGBT flag flown in support of the latter. If the Israeli flag is being used to support Jews and not Israeli politics, then I think we would both agree that there isn't a problem with its use providing it doesn't encourage domestic anger and aggression in any way.

I course don't mean to say that Israeli Jews are representative of all Jews, only that Israel has historically been a grounding centre for Jews. And, this still does not negate my proposition that 'you cannot deny any Jews access to the sites of the Holocaust.' Even if they act in a certain unfavourable way, Israeli Jews are still Jews and should not be denied the chance to visit a place where the genocide of their race occurred. I would go as far to say that all Jews, no matter of their politics, are entitled to visit a concentration camp if their finances permit it. Asking them not to denies their cultural identity; it is like preventing the various factions of black Americans from visiting the historic sites of the Civil Rights movement because some are ideologically in favour of black militancy. Too restrictive and not dealing with the problem: black militancy. The problem is Zionist militancy: not students going to concentration camps. Those who can should be tackling the former, not banning the latter.

Israeli Jews have every right to be angry; forced to conscript to the Israeli army at 18, to fight a war with Palestine who continually proves to be a threat to Israel as Israel is to them. It was only in the year 2000 when Palestine bombed Israel; I'm sure this gives many affected a right to be angry. This does not excuse their behaviour. Being offended or angry is never an excuse to lash out and be truculent, even if it a reason. And as Jews, they identify with the Jewish struggle of their ancestors. Though the two conflicts aren't directly related, I don't think we can deny a group the right to culturally identify themselves and their current struggles with the past. Arab Israelis (15-20% of the population), because of their identification with Palestine, actually are not conscripted into the army. Some choose to volunteer (1). Therefore, I would say they would be exempt from your argument and should be allowed to fly to concentration camps through their schools.

(1) http://www.ynetnews.com...

Badly behaved students should be punished; not the entire school or school system as a whole. My analogy to the library was meant to illuminate how there ought to be a strict code of conduct, a respect for the environment, at concentration camps as though one were in a place one dared not act in a certain way. If individuals are being disrespectful in such environments they ought to be told off and perhaps acted against depending on the severity of their actions.

I of course agree that commercial exploitation is unfair and should be reprimanded and discouraged. But, it doesn't mean that Israeli students cannot fly to concentration camps like Auschwitz or Flossenburg by non-exploitative companies available to them. Hopefully the nine bosses punished will provide a sufficient deterrent for others in the travel industry not to act in such a manner again.

***********************************************
There I shall conclude. Again, thanks for the debate!
Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Emilrose 8 months ago
Emilrose
I said in the debate that there is such a thing as religious Zionism; but the Zionism that exists in Israel now is technically a political one, that's simply used elements of Judaism...which again if it was a secular country would not state be the case. The reason I point this out is because the 'secularism' is often as a defence and a thing to illuminate some difference with its Palestinian and other Muslim neighbors. Naturally, it's not secular for your leader to make reference to the Tanakh (Bible)--but in this scenario again, it it used for political gains...that's what Zionism does.

In terms of the schools alone, I don't actually think the children would be told that; and I also don't see the long term problem, given that they could make much cheaper trips (again:without the political propaganda) on their own in later years or even still, with their families. In regards to Zionism having 'no cause', it will always have one...but seeing that Zionism is the driving force behind their conflict and other issues, it is that, that should be diffused first.

One wouldn't exactly say that any other extremist political doctrine, should be left ignored and unaddressed, so I just don't know why Zionism should be any different.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 8 months ago
TheUnexaminedLife
You can't claim that Zionism isn't a religious phenomenon and then that because schools systems are Zionist, that they aren't secular. You can be both a Zionist and secular, if Zionism is just a political thing. I raised that article more for what it and Bennett promoted: teaching Israeli pupils in a non-nationalistic way which is currently be impeded by its politics making the entire system Zionist.

Taking another example, it wasn't like I was arguing that all of Islam supports ISIS-- only that ISIS is Islamic and that other members of this faith and culture are more likely to sympathise with than say, white American Protestants. Zionism will appeal to more Jews than it does non-Jews. Of course there can be non-Jew Zionists, but these will be statistically in the low minorities.

If it escalates the violence and feelings of angst, then in the long-term it will worsen this problem. Children will be told, 'no, you can't go because the anti-Semites have stopped you from going', which is in itself a call to arms perhaps even worse than visiting concentration camps. Having read what I've read, it is the conflict that needs to be defused. Only then will Zionism have no cause and then abate over time. If the people and politicians want to fight against Palestine, they will drag students with them, using Zionist rhetoric.
Posted by Emilrose 8 months ago
Emilrose
Plenty of Haredi Jews denounce Zionism...so again, it is not representative of Jewish people at all. One actually doesn't have not be a 'non-religious' Jew to disassociate with it, in fact sometimes it's the contrary. Netanyahu is hardly a pillar of Judaism and he's certainly remained a strong Zionist for years, and there's some people I know that aren't particularly religious (or not at all) that are Zionists--which is mainly because it's a political rather than a purely religious thing.

In some ways I do not think it would cause more 'harm and anger', at least not in the long-term. It's something that can quite easily be intellectually explained and if it's the education system in Israel itself raising awareness to the problem of these trips, then I don't think 'anti-Semitsm' could be used. Throughout the debate, you've agreed there is an issue and I think, from much of what you've said, that it's detrimental--and if that is the case then it obviously should not be left unaddressed. The article you linked (just now) is about the Zionist school system, but surely the best approach from education professionals in Israel would be to make some reforms to that system...whether Naftali Bennet is education minister or not.

Israel can simply not claim to be a 'secular' country (I don't think it is anyway) if Zionism is basically dominating it in all areas.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 8 months ago
TheUnexaminedLife
Saying anyone can be a Zionist is like saying that anyone can be an American nationalist; while technically true, it is often the case that only those who hold residence or resonance with those people will embrace their nationalism. Non-religious Jews have partial connection to Zionists because they belong to the same family of religion/race.
In Israel, Judaism/Zionism have been culturally conflated and combined.

I repetitively agree with you in condemning militant nationalism but my argument is that regardless of it, that A) there shouldn't be a ban on Zionist freedom of movements anyway because it would cause more harm than benefit in angering and perpetuating Zionism and B) that because of the Zionist school system (references below) and strong beliefs in Israel, a universal ban on these trips across Israel arising from schools is a highly improbable contention.

http://www.jpost.com...
Going back to the 1930s: https://books.google.co.uk...

I apologise if we are going off-debate, I just find the issues raised here interesting.
Posted by Emilrose 8 months ago
Emilrose
Well, anyone can be a Zionist. And in regards to Israel and its society--it genuinely does have major issues with racism, extremism and a 'entitlement' complex...now we're talking more about what legal processes there would to enforce this ban, but my argument was centered around the *Pros* for it. However, I still think that schools in Israel could quite easily boycott it. The article I included in the debate reference an actual principle, as I have said. And the one other I left in the comments is referencing a senior Israeli anthropologist, one who's been on 5 of these Auschwitz tours with students.

So there's certainly some who question the validity of them. The anthropologist said himself that: 'In their present format, the trips are driven by an agenda and miss the educational goals.' A few sentences later saying: 'This is so targeted, timed and managed in a manipulative fashion by a very well-oiled educational system, until there is almost no space for the students to say "Let"s look at the suffering of other peoples, too.'

The likelihood of an Israeli with roots in Europe, who's had family involved in the horrors of WW2, actually deciding to go to Auschwitz themselves is perhaps reasonably high...and a more mature age, lesser cost, and less propaganda certainly would be better for them than an organised, nationalistic trips. One principle is undoubtedly not a consensus but it is one professional who's recognised some of the detriments involved.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 8 months ago
TheUnexaminedLife
Zionists are still Jews, hence to deny Zionists the right to travel is to deny the rights of some Jews. I understand your point but the previous context was debating some Jews, not all Jews, and I was writing in line with this context. Because the Zionists identify as part of the whole, discrimination against them, by them, will be viewed as anti-Semitic. And, it would be in part because anti-Zionism is negative discrimination against a certain group of Jews. To do this would only exasperate their anger and not solve the root issue we both see as being militant Zionism.

One principle isn't a consensus; you'd have to persuade a lot more people to support a nationwide boycott. Hence, practically, if a ban were to be proposed it would more likely have to be an international law.
Posted by Emilrose 8 months ago
Emilrose
It wouldn't infringe the 'individual rights of Jews'--again I'm referring only to Israeli's, and obviously not arguing for some kind of ban imposed on each and every individual there--but rather the collective school trips that are taken to Auschwitz, not because Jews or even people of Jewish-Israeli nationality shouldn't be there, but because of the elements surrounding it and *reasons* for such a trip.

anti-Semitism is indeed very different to anti-Zionism--which is what such this kind of ban would essentially be. It would only be anti-Semitic if one proposed a ban on ALL Jews, regardless of country--but I am referring to group student visits only; once again, because of the nationalistic ideas being constantly perpetuated and because of the political elements involved. I also don't think the financial costs are justified.

And I avoided getting into the legalities of a 'ban' in the debate, mainly due to the fact I was arguing from the perspective of Israeli schools and the education system itself--they could boycott and stop these trips, and as that other article mentioned...one Israeli principle already has and possibly as times move, more probably will.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 8 months ago
TheUnexaminedLife
The problem is Israeli politics, not Auschwitz visits. Hypothetically, if international law banned the latter, this would only perpetuate the problem and cause anger is Israel. I'm sure they would claim that the law was anti-Semitic and its enforcers the enemies of Zionism. So I'm agreeing with you: these trips shouldn't be used as military pilgrimages. But, banning them is not the solution and infringes on the individual rights of Jews to travel where they want and visit places important to them.

It's better if they didn't, but if they are going to for whatever reason, the solution is not to impose international law on them (seeing that realistically Israel itself is not going to apply this ban on itself).
Posted by Emilrose 8 months ago
Emilrose
I would disagree; as political Zionism has only proved to be dangerous and detrimental to peace. There is an ongoing conflict in Israel, and in terms of international matters (situation in Syria, the 2003 Iraq war--this was heavily encouraged by the Israeli government)...Israeli students visiting Auschwitz may seem innocent enough, even if you do recognize the nationalistic elements, but it is just a part of a very wide and problematic cycle.

And the man from that article (Dr. Idan Yaron) did say that the educational benefits are extremely minimal to none, seeing as they're not really learning about suffering as a whole--but just this exclusive Jewish suffering, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't used and abused for political means. It would be better if they went there without the flags and actually learned about how Jewish life in Poland used to be...and just displayed some basic decorum.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 8 months ago
TheUnexaminedLife
Whilst I know we both agree that strong and militant nationalism should not be encouraged, I can understand why the Israeli flag is used to represent global Zionism. The Star is David is identifiable for everyone, much like the Crucifix, whilst the word 'Yerushalayim' requires specialist knowledge about the culture surrounding it. And it is also true that many Jews around the world probably do sympathise with the Israelis fighting against Palestine, given that it is a Jewish struggle against Muslims and Christians, and that this shouldn't be played out in concentration camps. But, from this is doesn't follow that Israeli Zionists should be banned from visiting an integral part of their own culture.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Coveny 8 months ago
Coveny
EmilroseTheUnexaminedLife
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's main point was the behavior of teens and I don't feel like it was supported well. For example I don't feel like Pro sufficiently showed that bringing the israeli flag is inherently disrespectful, just that it is disrespectful in Pro's opinion. Con's rebuttal that there are very strong emotions at play even going so far as to cite one of Pros sources about the emotional trauma the trip on on students. Which was a big point to winning the debate in my mind. I felt like this was sufficient support that there should be an expectation of some "acting out" in behavior. Various other points were brought up, but I don't feel like they were about the teens so much as the politics. (as Con pointed out)