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Turning memories of the Holocaust against the Jews

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 5, 2009 | 2:14 pm

It’s no revelation to readers of this blog that part of the anti-Semites verbal arsenal now includes referring to Jews, specifically Israelis, as Nazis. The Washington Post, in a headline for a column by a former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, calls this “the new anti-Semitism.”

The columnist, Walter Reich, runs through many of the images we saw during Israel’s war in Gaza and then concludes:

Are all those who have accused Israel of being a Nazi state anti-Semites? Hardly. There’s genuine anger in the Muslim world, as well as in Europe and elsewhere, about Israel’s actions in Gaza. The suffering is terrible. So are the images of devastation Israel left behind. And there are also plenty of people who are angry at Israel because it stands for the reviled United States.

But the reality is that much of the vitriol directed at Israel has indeed been spouted by anti-Semites. Not only have they hurled the Nazi canard at Israel, they’ve expressed clear anti-Semitism—some of it openly violent or even eliminationist. The pro-Israel but reliable Middle East Media and Research Institute has been documenting anti-Semitism on Palestinian television for years, including calls for the murder of Jews. It reports that, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, one Egyptian cleric admitted on an Islamist TV channel that the Holocaust had happened—and added that he hoped that one day Muslims would do to the Jews what the Germans had done to them. To demonstrate what he had in mind, according to the institute, he showed footage of heaps of Jewish corpses being bulldozed into pits.

In designating an International Holocaust Remembrance Day back in 2005, the U.N. General Assembly acted with noble intentions, even if parts of the world body still aim to delegitimize Israel. Such commemorations help the world understand that the goal of the Holocaust was the annihilation of an entire people—and help them appreciate the vast differences between that event and, for example, the war in Gaza. But even as the Holocaust has been increasingly acknowledged and explained, it also has been increasingly used as a cudgel to beat Jews and the Jewish state.

 

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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