Don't Cheapen Mass Suffering by Drawing False Analogies

Cape Times (South Africa), November 10, 2011 | Go to article overview

Don't Cheapen Mass Suffering by Drawing False Analogies


Moira Levy's article "Never again can we allow persecution" (November 7) saddens me.

It substitutes knee-jerk emotionalism for balanced analysis, blatant partisanship in favour of one side's version of events instead of giving due weight to all conflicting claims in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. All in all, her wholly biased, unscholarly approach typified that of the recent Russell Tribunal, on which her piece is largely based.

In posing a number of questions, I would like to address the writer directly.

To commence, thank you for reminding us of Kristallnacht, the pogrom that marked the start of the Nazi Holocaust against European Jewry. I hope, however, that it was not your intention to equate that atrocity with what you suggest is happening in the Palestinian territories. The Jews of Germany did not attack and plunder their neighbours, nor did they seek to kill as many of Christian neighbours as possible through terrorist attacks.

The Holocaust was the result of a systematic and meticulous plan to murder every Jew in Europe, men, women and children. I am a survivor of the Nazi death camps, and witnessed at first-hand what genocide means. Ever since, I have striven to communicate to others the terrible lessons of those times, namely of what human beings are capable of doing to one another when driven by ideologies of hatred.

The situation in the Palestinian territories has been described by some very strange individuals as a Holocaust. Can you present one shred of evidence that this was intended or inflicted on the Palestinians? Do you not understand, moreover, that by likening that situation to a Holocaust, you cheapen and diminish what the real Holocaust represented?

We are confronted by his eminence Archbishop Desmond Tutu expressing "anguish" at the sight of security walls and checkpoints. Would it not have lessened the poor man's suffering if the tribunal had been told that said security walls had lived up to their name by reducing the rate of suicide bombing against Israeli civilians by 90 percent? …

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Don't Cheapen Mass Suffering by Drawing False Analogies
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