United Against Forgiveness

Gilad Atzmon

The Jewish world is outraged this morning [14/04/19] with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who apparently said he believes the crimes of the Holocaust can be forgiven, but not forgotten.

The far-right leader made the comments on Thursday night at a meeting with evangelical pastors in Rio de Janeiro.

“We can forgive, but we cannot forget. That quote is mine. Those that forget their past are sentenced not to have a future,” Bolsonaro said, adding that actions are needed for the Holocaust not to be repeated.

Bolsonaro is probably not the most forgiving person around. He freely spews misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ, and racist statements. However, he is a devout Christian and forgiveness is central to Christianity of all denominations. Forgiveness is not an ‘option’ as far as Christianity is concerned, it is actually a must. Forgiveness in Christianity is a manifestation of submission to Christ.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:14-15

I guess that those who subscribe to the Old Testament’s ‘eye for an eye’ paradigm see forgiveness as an existential threat or a sign of weakness. Otherwise it is hard to grasp the hostile reaction to Bolsonaro’s statement.

But Israelis have been forgiving the Germans for more than a while. Back in 1953 Israel signed a reparation agreement with the West German Government. According to the Agreement, West Germany was to “compensate” Israel “for losses in Jewish livelihood and property resulting from Nazi persecution.” The legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eban coined the precious adage ‘there is no business like Shoa business’ in the light of the Israeli-German reparation agreement. Israel was happy to transform Germany’s guilt into hard cash, yet some may argue that forgiveness wasn’t part of the deal. As a matter of fact, more than seven decades after the liberation of Auschwitz, the Brazilian president is singled out by Jewish and Israeli outlets for stating the true meaning of Christian ethics; forgive but don’t forget. Be merciful, however learn not to repeat your past sins.

It is also important to mention that from time to time Israelis and Jewish leaders explore forgiveness when there are clear political or material gains. Back in 2015 we learned from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu that it was the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haji Amin al-Husseini, who gave Hitler the idea to exterminate the Jews. Needless to mention that Netanyahu’s claim was ludicrous and harshly criticised, but it practically confirmed that within certain political circumstances even Hitler could be vindicated as long as a Palestinian is there to take his place as the ‘ultimate evil.’

But Netanyahu was neither the first nor the last Israeli to forgive Hitler and the Germans. Back in 2014 we learned about Olim L’Berlin (Ascending to Berlin), a movement of young Israelis returning to the German capital because it was cheaper, cleaner and simply nicer. We would like the believe that Olim LeBerlin enthusiasts must have finally forgiven the Germans and even learned to love their new neighbours as much as they love themselves.

I am obviously not a supporter of the Brazilian president. However, I think that for us who dwell within the borders of the English-speaking empire, forgiveness and Christian values may as well be our last hope. I would have liked to think that president Trump and his dedicated Evangelist vice president Mike Pence take Jesus’s teachings into account when they consider whether to pardon Julian Assange for telling the truth. They should explore Christian mercifulness and reject the barbarian Old Testament vengeance that has made it into the true ugly face of America’s new century.


If you enjoy OffG's content, please help us make our monthly fund-raising goal and keep the site alive.

For direct-transfer bank details click here.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris Williams
Chris Williams
Apr 20, 2019 6:08 AM

Pleased to see Gilad writing here and not wasting his time – as so many good people have done in the past – at the DNC/Clinton Foundation front known as Veteran’s Today.

Denis O'hAichir
Denis O'hAichir
Apr 19, 2019 9:26 PM

Publicity stunt.

Apr 19, 2019 7:11 PM

Expect a false flag reprisal against Brazil any day soon then?

I wonder how many people are aware:
”Since 1951 Germany has paid more than 102 billion marks, about $61.8 billion at 1998 exchange rates, in federal government reparation payments to Israel and Third Reich victims. In addition, Germans have paid out billions in private and other public funds, including about 75 million marks ($49 million) by German firms in compensation to wartime forced laborers, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported recently. These figures are based on calculations by the German Finance Ministry, the influential paper said.
Of the total, Germany has paid out 78.4 billion marks ($47 billion) on the basis of the 1965 Federal Restitution Law (BEG) to persons, especially Jews, who had been persecuted during the Third Reich era on the basis of race, religion, origin or ideology.
While most of those who were alive during the Second World War are now dead, in recent years Germany was still paying out some 1.25 billion marks (about $75 million) to 106,000 pensioners in Israel, the United States and other countries on the basis of the 1965 Restitution Law.”

After years of denying that dormant accounts of Holocaust victims even existed, in 1997 Swiss banks produced a list of thousands of people with accounts that had seen no activity since the War. They set up a voluntary fund to aid elderly survivors of the Holocaust, and contributions to the fund quickly mounted to some $200 million. Payments ranging from $500 to $1,200 were sent to more than 100,000 Eastern European Holocaust survivors in November and December 1998, with those in Western Europe receiving disbursements in February 1999.
Though the $200 million fund was an important step in acknowledging the role the Swiss played during the War, it was largely a public relations effort. The fund was voluntary and admitted no liability — the banks had set it up rather than acknowledge responsibility for laundering the profits of Nazi looting and slave labour in factories.
It was not until March 1998 that an agreement was reached to negotiate a global settlement of many legal claims against the banks. The three most prestigious Swiss banks—Union Bank of Switzerland, the Swiss Bank Corp., and Credit Suisse—agreed to set up a restitution fund in the U.S. to repay Holocaust victims for economic losses facilitated by the Swiss.
The agreement encompasses deposits by individuals who were killed during the war, as well as deposits of the proceeds from the sale of looted gold, real estate, and art. The fund will also include deposits of German companies who profited from slave labour, but notably does not include any money from the Swiss central bank, which received the majority of the gold stolen by the Nazis.
The banks ultimately agreed to pay $1.25 billion into the fund, which will be distributed as financial aid and medical services to hundreds of thousands of survivors, 50,000 of whom reside in the U.S. Under the agreement worked out in November 1998 in Jerusalem, all legitimate claimants and their heirs to dormant Swiss bank accounts will receive their full proceeds, which will account for approximately $100 million of the fund.

But Black people are told to ”forget their History”

Not to mention the Indigenous Native American and the Australian Aboriginals, who were all but annihilated and to this day STILL suffer pernicious treatment.

Somebody is having a fu*king laugh here!
Is there any wonder they have money coming out of their ears and can afford to buy Governments?

Apr 19, 2019 6:49 PM

“Bolsonaro is probably not the most forgiving person around. He freely spews misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ, and racist statements.”

What has his views on women, gays and race got to do with forgiveness?

He may have been raised as a Christian, but hate is not a part of modern Christian teaching. He is certainly not a devout Christian.

I very strongly object to your conflation of Christianity with this odious man.

Ian Fantom
Ian Fantom
Apr 19, 2019 3:35 PM

The idea of a resurgence in antisemitism, particularly in Russia and Germany, in order to encourage a transfer of Jews to Palestine came from the Patron Saint of Israel, Theodor Herzl. See my article ‘UK’s Labour Antisemitism Split: Just what the Doctor Prescribed’ (http://www.unz.com/article/uks-labour-antisemitism-split/). So when it comes to forgiveness, perhaps Israel should be a little more humble.

Apr 19, 2019 9:39 PM
Reply to  Ian Fantom

Israhell umble? Hell will freeze over first.

Take a look at this article and the comments:
The latest news from the one and only Jewish state: Israel’s minister of religious services says that Reform Jews (infiltrated by Zionists) are not Jews. The report is from Isabel Kershner of the New York Times:

“The moment a Reform Jew stops following the religion of Israel, let’s say there’s a problem,” the minister, David Azoulay of the Shas party, said on Army Radio, adding, “I cannot allow myself to call such a person a Jew.”
Kershner notes that the Israeli president also has said he doesn’t believe that Reform Jews are Jews:
President Reuven Rivlin infuriated American Reform Jews with remarks he made in the 1980s, when he was a member of the Israeli Parliament. After attending a service at a Reform synagogue in New Jersey, he told an Israeli newspaper, “This is idol worship and not Judaism.”
So what about Theodor Herzl? He was the founder of Political Zionism, beginning with his 1896 book The Jewish State. He died in 1904, but his portrait rose above the declaration of Israel’s establishment in 1948,.

Especially note this comment:
”Rob Roy July 10, 2015
People should know that Theodor Herzl didn’t want the home of Jews to be in Palestine. He didn’t like the place. He wanted it to be in Argentina and even wrote a paper. “Palestine or Argentina?” He was out voted. A few years ago I had dinner with the then director of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I said, “I understand that many Jews are atheists.” He immediately responded, “85%.” By the way, Netanyahu said, “My opinion of Christian Zionists? They’re scum. But don’t tell them that. We need all the useful idiots we can get right now.” He also said, “Once we squeeze all we can out of the United States, it can dry up and blow away.“


Ian Fantom
Ian Fantom
Apr 19, 2019 11:01 PM
Reply to  Maggie

That’s an interesting comment, and an interesting article linked to. I’ve known a lot of Jews but I don’t recollect ever having met a religious Jew, other than two rabbis. Religion is a pretext. Also, I don’t believe that “He was the founder of political Zionism, beginning with his 1896 book The Jewish State”. The ideas behind the Jewish State were in circulation amongst the Yiddish community long before Herzl. I think Herzl was a front guy for the pre-existing Zionist cause. As such, he would only have known what he needed to know, and so he would have missed the point that the Jewish State in Palestine would be used as a launchpad for military expansionism in the strategically important Middle East. With such a reading, everything starts to make sense.

lynette cracknell chaplin
lynette cracknell chaplin
Apr 19, 2019 9:50 AM

Forgiveness is important in the Christian religion, but as I understand it, forgiveness does not exist in the Jewish religion.

Apr 27, 2019 12:23 AM

As I understand in Judaism only God can forgive sins – not humans.
True forgiveness is a self-release. We hate our own sins in others and suffer our hate while thinking to have projected it away from self.
As we release others – so are we released – but that does not mean others have to accept us – only that we are free to relate presently instead of being hostage to a past made in grievance.

As you sow – so shall you reap – and as you release judgement so are you released of the measure that you set.

As for the article – it isn’t for anyone to ‘forgive’ any acts of murder or deceit no matter the scale or the nature. But Jesus made famous the saying ‘forgive them Father, for they know not what they do. In terms of the mind in the world they knew what they were doing – but the mind in the world is what Jesus came to call awake. A mind in fear’s denial set in hate and vengeance against the ‘other’, cut off from love’s true relation and armoured against anything threatening to weaken its identity in self-specialness can hardly know anything but possession and control – as the defence against dispossession and loss of power.

This mind may be more extremely exemplified in some but is part of our human conditioning or a predicate of our consciousness (sic).

I note that Jewish power elites operate the jewish identity over a diaspora of otherwise different outlooks – but the common enemy of ‘Others’ who at any time rise up to kill you just because you are Jewish – is a way of saying ‘you can never become one of them’. Divide and rule takes many forms. Fear of extinction sets the basis for justifying rebellion – and such is the fear of dispossession of an inheritance taken in God’s Name – but hardly in his praise – unless he be a god of vengeance.

Who can accept a god of vengeance aligns with power over a hated life – projected out onto ‘others’ and gratified upon their subjection. But whatever we accept becomes the basis of our own thought, perception and response. No less so if our source of identity is an ideology or scientific theory.

Apr 19, 2019 9:37 AM

The hyphen in ‘Judeo-Christian‘ is now thousands of years old.

An Executive Summary by Rev. Dr Giles Fraser is available from The Guardian archives.

Apr 19, 2019 9:49 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

The Off-Guardian/Wordpress editor discombobulates itself yet again. The first embedded link was, in plain text:


Apr 20, 2019 1:12 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

Now the second link has sfopped sorking, too! So, again in plaintext:


Apr 19, 2019 9:30 AM

Forgive Who? That’s the point. Bolsonaro is abusing the humanistic trope as a screen to cover his own fascism. What have we learned from what the nazis did is that we, each one, are all capable of cruelty and inhumanity and have to change our hateful culture.

Apr 19, 2019 3:28 AM

Yes simple facts tend to allude most zionist. Like Gilad has aptly pointed out the obvious paradox and blatant hypocrisy in Israeli real politik. Any decent human being with a scintilla of grey matter can plainly see that Zionism is racist,fascistic,supremacist and anti human.