Not surprising

Mrs. Spoons retells a story told by Victor Davis Hanson on the National Review cruise a few months back:

He related that when he was a guest speaker at the University of Salonika in Greece recently, the assembled Greek students and professors gave Hanson all kinds of grief for the US’s invasion of Iraq and our support of “fascist” Jews in Israel. The decried America as a war-mongering destroyer of people, and they couldn’t imagine anyone supporting such actions.

Hanson paused, and then responded with what seemed to be a non-sequitur: “Do any of you know the history of this university, the University of Salonika?”

The group was a bit non-plussed, but had few replies. One or two knew it was built in the early fifties.

“Yes,” Hanson replied. “It was built entirely with American money, donated to the Greeks to help rebuild their shattered country after WWII, as part of the Marshall Plan. The very school you all attend was a gift from the country you’re reviling. But moreover, do you know why the land here in the middle of the city happened to be empty, and thus a perfect place to erect new buildings?”

His audience– upper-class, well educated Greeks, both young and old– had no idea.

“This area was empty,” Hanson explained, “because the citizens of Salonika bulldozed the Jewish cemetery that used to be here, right after they had shipped all their Greek Jews off to concentration camps to die.”

Silence from group. They had never been told this. They hadn’t known what their city had done during the German occupation. There was nothing anywhere to commemorate a Jewish cemetery, nor any sign that a whole community of Jewish Greeks had ever existed in the city, only sixty-odd years before.


  1. The reasoning in this little story is that if one group of people is bad then any group that attacks them is good. Everything the United States does for the rest of time is good because we attacked a group that was evil 60 years ago. Excellent reasoning…if you’re 5 years old! A corollary to that is that if you’re attacked by a bad person then you are good. So the Israeli’s can’t do anything bad because some of their relatives were killed 60 years ago. Who gives a shit? Move on, please. There are few historical events that are more relavent than WWII…all the shit that’s happened in the last 60 years.

  2. I think you missed it by a mile, Lamp. Or two. The reasoning is that people are ignorant of history and that their ignorance hampers their ability to make good decisions today. People often don’t understand why things matter because they don’t have a context to look at it in. The fact that people sitting on a spot where a Jewish cemetery was destroyed could call Israel ‘fascist’ pretty well makes that point. They called America a destroyer of people, yet their own forebears supported the most effective destroyers of people in human history. Nowhere does it say that the Israelis can’t do bad. And ‘Move on, please’? Pathetic.

  3. If you’re going to widen their knowledge of history, don’t stop there. Under the Ottomans at one point the Jews outnumbered the Greeks, and even had a pogrom against them. I’m not trying to make ani kind of positive point, just to show the irrelevance of the Jewish historical connection with Salonika. It wasn’t a case of the local Greeks owing their own persecutors any respect and failing in that.

  4. So since the Jewish historical connection with Salonika is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter that Jewish cemeteries were bulldozed? Who decides relevance? You? The UN Relevancy Council? I’d say it was relevant to the families that had members buried in that cemetery and that lived in that city before being carted off.

  5. Why is it people don’t want to learn from history that doesn’t agree with what they want to hear? Why is it that people say the ‘holocaust’ is not relevant? Why is it that so many people see the state of Israel as ‘evil’? What I see in Israel is the only long term government in the middle east that has any type of civil liberties. Mind you, I’m not saying they’re perfect, or that they’ve got it right, I just want to know why it is that a country that’s defending itself from daily attack is ripped up so verbally all the time by the left. From the day that the british left palestine, Israel has been under attack, I’d say they’ve kept as much of the rights of people as intact as they can. People say that the palestinians are oppressed, but I tell you they’ve done it to themselves. Yassar Arafat got billions of dollars in foreign aid from around the world. What happened to it? It got turned into weapons and explosives. President Clinton gave the palestinian authority weapons and training to start an anti-terrorism police force, so that they could curb the violence. What ended up happening? We trained terrorists in counter-terrorism, so they could be better terrorist. Then they took the M-16s they’d been given, and shot a schoolbus full of women and children to death with them. It’s proven that the men that did it (by their own admission) were given counter-terrorism training at Langley. Which they then used to elude the police and counter-terrorist units of the government. (and the whole time the palestinian authority was laughing behind their khaffiyahs (( you know the thing Arafat wore))). I don’t get it, tell me why these greek students are right to revile us, the Israelis, and anyone else that stands up for freedom. Why? What have they done about Iraq that could’ve removed the problem so we didn’t have to do it by force? How about the french? What did they do to uphold the U.N. resolutions? Hell, they were one of the biggest ‘customers’ of oil for food. (which didn’t deliver much food anyway) I say if you’re going to take potshots at us for doing what needed to be done, (and it did) don’t consider yourself MY friend anymore.