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Israelis believe their own propaganda

January 27, 2009

According to a prominent speaker at a World Holocaust Conference in Jerusalem, “The operation in Gaza put an end to the European taboo on equating Jews to Nazis.”

Haaretz reports that one of the subjects discussed at the conference held for International Holocaust Remembrance Day was that the Gaza offensive has “legitimized equating Jews with Nazis”.

According the Professor Dina Porat – apparently an international authority on anti-Semitism – the comparison is prevalent among leftist Europeans for two reasons:

a) a coordinated propaganda campaign by Muslims – according to Porat, Muslims had

“prepared in advance a public campaign against Jews and Israel, which they see as one and the same. [Muslims] were waiting for a signal or a pretext to launch this campaign and the Nazism comparison.”

b) European leftists wanting to displace their own Holocaust guilt:

“Europeans are burdened by the Holocaust, and accusing the victims of being like the Nazis helps distribute some of the burden and guilt.”

Since this is a message intended for internal consumption within Zionist circles, it really seems like they believe their own bullshit.

They are paranoid and see an anti-Semite under every bush.They appear to believe that anti-Semitism is the only possible motive for criticising Israel. This isn’t just spin – they actually believe it.

I don’t see anti-Semitism as different from any other kind of racism. It has its particular characteristics, due to the fact that the Jews were – along with the Roma – a significant minority in Europe for such a long time, but I reject Jewish exceptionalism – the idea that racism against Jews is worse than racism against anyone else.

As for Porat’s argument, the conspiracy theory of a coordinated PR offensive by Muslims is just rubbish. Only Israel has that kind of coordinated PR.

More offensive is the suggestion that European leftists are the dupes of Muslim terrorist sympathisers, making the comparison to assuage their own guilt at the Holocaust.

Guilt? For the Holocaust? You’ve got to be joking.

I certainly don’t feel any guilt. I never dunnit, guv. If anything, most European leftists would feel pride in their role in ending the Holocaust. While the behaviour of the Allied governments was hardly exemplary, Allied soldiers were generally much more left wing than their leaders, and many of them saw the war as explicitly a fight against fascism.

Aside from this, the generation implicated in the Holocaust has been replaced by one which is much more sensitised to human rights and the need to prevent suffering elsewhere. In fact, this is probably why Palestinian suffering is such an issue.

Largely because of Israel, we are brought up to associate the Holocaust with Jews (and forget the Roma and everyone else who died). Is it any surprise, then, when we see images that remind us of the Holocaust – of actions taken by the Jewish state – that we see a certain strange irony that is worth drawing attention to?

Look at these images comparing Germany in 1940 to Israel today. The fact that it is even possible to take these pictures and make the comparison is the problem.

How can Gaza not remind us of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Hamas of the Ghetto Fighters? (And remember that the Ghetto Fighters were also brutal with Jewish collaborators, as Hamas are with Fatah).

Clearly, Israel is not Nazi Germany, and nothing on the scale of the Holocaust is happening. But there are a substantial number of people in Israel who are fascist, who do want to see a Final Solution to the Palestinian Question, who openly call for the murder or expulsion of Arabs. The state of Israel is committed to the slow ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

We need to draw attention to this fact. Holocaust analogies are crude, but rather obvious: “Look, Israel, you’re behaving like Nazis. Is this what you intended?” Instead of accusing us of anti-Semitism, Israel should look at its behaviour, and ask “is that really how we come across?”

Fortunately some Israelis appear to be waking up to the fact that there are other perspectives on Israel’s. Here it dawns on a former media adviser to the prime minister that

The narrative shown in the Western media, especially in Europe, is based on a different world of cultural references than Israel’s. It says the era of wars is over, that military force is not the way to solve disputes and that there is a direct link between occupation and violence. The challenge facing Israeli hasbara is not simple – certainly as long as the Palestinians’ tragedy is shown to the world. The Western media scrupulously present the Israeli side, but does not accept its narrative.”

Well done for noticing.

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