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Why Nazi Germany references are banned on my blog

I have made up my mind to ban all Holocaust and/or Nazi Germany references on comments to my posts, for the following reasons:

1.    Israel is not Nazi Germany. It’s not even close. I find the current political trends troubling, even dangerous, but this country is not engaged in a systematic, full-scale genocide, and since 1948, it hasn’t committed mass deportations. There are better ways to say that the Palestinians deserve justice.

2.    Some argue that Israel has one or several laws that were introduced by the Nazis too. Even if that’s the case, so what? The same could be said of many laws, in many countries. Nazi Germany is the symbol of the ultimate historical evil because of the death camps and the industrialized genocide, and nothing else. It’s not even because of the concentration camps themselves, since those weren’t unique to Germany (the USSR had them, and so did the US), and surely not because of racist policies alone. Many countries have had racist policies at one stage or the other. Saying that a racist law immediately turns a country into the equivalent of Nazi Germany is like saying universal health care makes a country Nazi – a claim so stupid no sane person would even think of it.

3.    Saying someone is a Nazi means he represents the ultimate evil – something that shouldn’t be negotiated or compromised with, but only fought. If you think Israel should be wiped off the map, not just the country but its people themselves, you won’t find support on this blog (if you think the political structure which makes Israel what it is should be changed, or that the country should become bi-national or multi-cultural, you are welcomed to express your ideas here – but leave the WWII references out).

4.    My grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, and maybe because of that, I simply find these analogies offensive. I would rather not read them on my own blog.

5.    Adding WWII references to your argument sounds like a good way to get attention, but it’s actually counter-productive. More often than not, people start debating Nazism (usually revealing very poor historical knowledge) and the real issue you wanted to discuss is forgotten. I want debates here to be focused and on-topic, and I want them to deal with real issues, not propaganda.

This policy will apply for both sides. I will not allow such references to Israelis and Jews, but I will also delete all comments comparing Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims to the Nazis, or calling left wing activists Kapos, as some readers have.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Joe Blow Report

      Personal invective and foul personal accusations serve only to change the subject anyway. Some (most) people are incapable of distinguishing between what they think and who they are and are personally offended at anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Peace has to start somewhere – GOOD GOING!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ex Israeli

      It was Israel’s most famous and regarded intellectual who said, and repeated his warning more than once, that Nazi mentality is acceptable and widespread in Israel. This was said around 30 years ago! Yeshayahu Leibowitz also added that this mentality is REAL and that it manifestations are a daily occurrence. The fact that purpose built trains and death camps haven’t been built yet is irrelevant to that observation.

      Reply to Comment
    3. if all WW2 references were on Leibowitz’s level, I guess we could have lived with them.

      Reply to Comment
    4. maayan

      Mazal tov.
      I would like to point out one more thing which for some reason you didn’t include in your list. Calling Israel a Nazi state or comparing Israelis to Nazis is done in large part because Jews were the primary victims of Nazi genocide. It’s an intentional insult that seeks to undermine Jewish victimization under the Nazis while vastly expanding the idea of Israel’s purported offenses.

      ——-

      How about you also eliminate apartheid references from your site? The same reasons apply.

      Reply to Comment
    5. BlightUntoNations

      The opinions of Norman Finkelstein and many OTHER children of holocaust survivors are not permitted. Nor the opinions of Mandella and Tutu–victims of apartheid who compare the situation Israel has created. But Mayyan, a child of segmented worms, is permitted to say whatever crosses her sickening, racist “mind.”

      Good policy!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Maayan: I think Apartheid references are fair game, and when discussing the West Bank, justified.

      Blightuntnations: By saying the I reject the Nazi analogy I’m not defending Israel or joining the ridiculous anti-delegitimization campaign. I’m setting limits to the discourse here, that’s allץ and as I said, they will apply to both side.

      Reply to Comment
    7. כל הכבוד נועם

      אני מסכים

      Reply to Comment
    8. Brown brownie

      Noam, I am generally with you in your effort to keep discussions serious and to the point. And I also agree to often comparisons to Nazi Germany serve only to classify something as an expression of total evil instead of making a serious critical statement.

      Still, I thought that the following would be interesting, and truly educational, to look at in this context:

      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/01/12/israels-orthodox-rabbis-palestinians-to-the-ovens/

      http://www.o139.org/ (sorry, but this is in Hebrew)

      Reply to Comment
    9. Noam, I am afraid this is a bit simplistic.

      Beyond the sharp observations of the late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who coined the phrase “Judo-Nazis”), we have very clear indications of genocidal tendencies among *certain* sectors in Israeli society. You haven’t clarified whether Israeli right wingers (most, but not all of them religious) egging on Israeli soldiers to murder Palestinian men, women and children indiscriminately should be exempt from the harshest form of criticism.

      Furthermore, there are some valid comparisons, *not* between Israel and Nazi Germany’s genocidal project in its later stages of the Reich, but between our reality and the reality of incitement, street thuggery, and racially based *legal* persecution* in Germany of the late 1930′s.

      If one of the Israeli right wingers’ conclusion from history is embodied in graffiti such as “Arabs to the gas chambers” ( http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2004/01/arabs_to_the_cr_1.html ), you may wish to allow a less restricted conversation here.

      Thanks

      ofer

      Reply to Comment
    10. Look. The contributors at +972 Magazine are committed activists who are doing everything in their power to make their country a better place. These are people who devote hours of their time, for no remuneration, to that goal. And these are people who truly mourn for what is happening to the country lately – the anti-democratic legislation, the hyper-nationalism, the unchecked racism and most of all the occupation, which passed the absurd stage a long time ago.

      The commenter who used the Nazi analogies took great pleasure in the very things that have us in a state of sadness and anxiety. He used Nazi analogies in order to express his satisfaction at a situation that keeps us awake many nights and inhaling tear gas many weekends.

      Now, if that reader had used the Nazi analogies in an appropriate manner, once in awhile, in order to make a valid point in an empathetic manner, I wouldn’t have a problem with his comments. But that was not the case. He used those analogies as a means of expressing hatred.

      That is why I am satisfied with Noam’s decision.

      Reply to Comment
    11. BlightUntoNations

      Many in Germany were ALSO doing everything in their power to make their country a better place, at enormous sacrifice and personal risk. The trouble was, it was too late. Their country was too far gone–it COULDN’T be reformed–the disease had simply progressed beyond the point of no return. Today, a growing consensus is emerging among honest people throughout the world that your country is likewise unsalvageable. Obviously, you are free to disagree with this conclusion but the facts are not in your favor.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Ex Israeli

      To Ofer N, and others,
      Leibowitz observations were indeed related to some sections of Israeli society but not just. Similar criticism was directed to the state apparatus as well, namely the activities of the military and even in the judicial system at its highest levels. All this led him to openly and publically declare that he considers himself to be a traitor! I suppose today he could have been arrested or made to shut up in some other way.
      I guess times have changed in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    13. blightUntoNations

      …………………………………… Israelis are beginning to realize that when an objective person takes the time to sit down and actually read the catalog of horrors recounted in the Goldstone Report, that person is NOT likely to find the comparison we’re talking about “offensive” or “beyond the pale.” They are far more likely to experience a chilling deja vu. They are more likely to ask “where else have I read of people waving white flags who are gunned down in front of their children–solely for the crime of not belonging to the ‘master race?’ Where else have I read of children left in shock in their dead mothers’ arms while the army forbids any medical help to reach them?”

      What I personally think is much more harmful in the big picture is when the ghastly sadism recounted by Goldstone (and 10,000 other witnesses) is presented to the public through innocuous euphemisms. Let’s face it, no one bats an eye when they read “Israel used disproportionate force in Gaza.” I think it’s a whitewash to say that and to completely leave out the fact that the crimes committed are overwhelmingly the result of a Judeo-supremacist mindset, an ethos of racial purity, a nation-wide murderous contempt for and devaluation of all non-Jewish life.

      Reply to Comment
    14. BlightUntoNations and Anti-Israel are, in case our astute readers have not noticed from the vocabulary and cadence, the same person.

      Clearly, a person who insists upon imposing his presence, even after he has been told several times that he is not wanted.

      In other words, a troll.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Robert: you are right. I should have mentioned this. all I can say is that I had only the Palestinians in mind.

      Ofer: I know that things in Israel remind some people of Germany in the 30′s. I am not sure we are there, but that’s only my opinion. but as I said, the Nazi analogy is used on most comments to make a point about genocide and industrialized killing. this is not the case with Israel.

      BlightUntoNations: unlike Lisa, I don’t think that the fact the some of us are activists or that we oppose Israeli policies is what makes the difference. You can write here that Israel remind you of South Africa or Russia or whatever other example you can think of. I might disagree, but I won’t ban you. The Nazi analogy is different, for the reasons stated above. the examples you cited – Cast Lead and more – don’t make a place the equivalent of Nazi Germany. not until you have Auschwitz. and if you interpret this last statement as too supportive of Israel, I think the problem is yours, not mine.

      Reply to Comment
    16. maayan

      No, Noam, apartheid does not reflect the situation in Judea and Samaria, but we’ll leave that to another discussion since this one is about Nazism.

      Robert is wrong, by the way. Links to websites with these types of advisory boards, http://www.israeli-occupation.org/about/about-us/, should raise red flags in everybody’s mind.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ex Israeli

      I’m not in favour of using the ‘Nazi’ term where it is inappropriate. BTW people use many other terms inappropriately (sometimes not even intentionally). We already see “hasbara agents” here objecting to ‘Apartheid’ being used as well. Thats the nature of such bans, once you start – why not ban some more…

      Suspending the use of a certain term (for as long as Auschwitz has not yet materialized again in Israel) seem therefore of be an arbitrary nature. And why not have other pre-conditons for similarity; why not wait until all Israeli soldiers speak German for example? It just looks like every time the similarity grows so does the effort to find differences grow with it.

      To be honest, this is the first story I’m responding here, and I am not such a frequent reader of your (very nice) blog anyway so basically why should I voice an objection? Maybe because I think this is a seriously the wrong thing to do. And if you have on this blog a problem with trolls misusing emotive terms how is this going to solve anything? Maybe just ban the subject of politics altogether?

      Sorry for being such a pain, its just they way I think.

      Reply to Comment
    18. E-I

      Your concerns are understandable – and that’s why I hesitated before taking this move. I guess there is something about the Holocaust references that changes the debate in ways I don’t like. I won’t ban the use of the Armenian genocide or the term Apartheid, because these don’t usually lead to the irrational debate that the WW2 references create. I try to make people stay on topic. if someone comes up with a specific issue that must be addressed through WW2 analogy, I guess I won’t have a problem with it. But I am tired of people throwing the term Nazi at each other all the time.

      Reply to Comment
    19. maayan

      “hasbara agent?”

      Heh. I’m going to show this to my significant other for a great laugh.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Branko

      Noam,

      While I understand your wish to prevent abuse of Nazi comparison (which are, by the way, rampant on both sides of the political spectrum. “Auschwitz Borders” is not an expression that was coined in the liberal side of the spectrum), I am not sure I agree with refraining from comparison only because it is abused.

      While we must be aware of the Godwin Law, we must also beware of its reverse version, where people refrain from legitimate, logical and justified comparisons to Nazi regime and its policies only so that they don’t invoke the Godwin’s law.

      I’m sorry, but calls for racial purity, nationality/religion based boycotts, tombstone desecrations are reminiscent of some (but not all) Nazi policies. Actually, as we have made certain that we learn how those policies came to be, how they were brought to level of legislation and how they were executed, it would be ignorant, if not foolish of us to wait for all those steps to play out so we can make a valid comparison to the 1939 Germany.

      As for singling out Israel in such comparisons, one would expect that in a country which makes sure a large percentage of their high-school students and all of their combat officers go to the scene of crime to learn about this tragedy, nothing so similar to (some) Nazi policies would ever exist. It is obvious why Israel is held to higher standard in this aspect.

      Besides, I don’t think Nazi comparisons are limited to Israel. Ask Obama.

      But, at the end of the day, your blog, your rules.

      Reply to Comment
    21. BlightUntoNations

      ………………………My personal take: I think it’s the responsibility of Israelis to clean up the nauseating toxic mess that is their country and stop the abominations against innocent human beings, rather than dictate to the world what language they do or do not find appropriate in characterizing the racism and sadism that today permeate every facet of their society. Israelis don’t get to use the holocaust at every possible occasion. like a bat to beat their opponents, then declare the topic off limits when unsettling similarities to their own conduct are raised. No one is saying or implying that the Israelis are carrying out industrialized slaughter along the lines of the Germans. No one is implying that the situation is identical. I think most understand quite well what is meant when the term is applied. There ARE a host of horrifying similarities in mindset and tactics on display. An Israeli official was even quoted as saying Israel should study the means by which resistance was put down in the Warsaw Ghetto. But how dare anyone make the comparison?

      I post again the superb and heart-wrenching piece by Sara Roy. I wonder how any honest person can read it and feel her remarks are not deeply perceptive and entirely valid. I think she speaks for many Jews (and non-Jews) of kindness and decency in the world.

      http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/roy_holocaust.html

      ……and if you find validity in Roy’s essay, then we should ask the same question you’ve posed: Why can’t she describe Israel’s behavior and criticize it without reference to “the N word.” I think the reason is because the parallels are extremely important to recognize and understand. And because the parallels bring to light more than anything else ever could, the tragedy that is Israel. The tragedy that people who suffered in this way could ever turn their vengeance toward similarly innocent and defenseless victims.

      Reply to Comment
    22. BlightUntoNations: you touch what is for me the heart of the problem. you say “No one is saying or implying that the Israelis are carrying out industrialized slaughter along the lines of the Germans.”

      Yet for me, this is what the Nazi analogy means.

      if you want to talk about racial politics, why not discuss the segregated south, or south africa?

      Reply to Comment
    23. rbmeritt

      If wonderful discourse were the answer these things that are going on would never have happened. Those that never talk of the Nazi mindset nor draw analogies to how it got to that point are singing hymns while the train passes by. The song is civilized but the train is full none the less.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Robert

      Maayan:

      I am right about the ethnic cleansing of the Golan. This is the original Haaretz link.

      http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/the-disinherited-1.304959 .

      Noam:

      Regarding Apartheid and Colonialism, have you seen the South African on Apartheid in the OPT report by John Dugard?

      http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Document-3227.phtml

      This document should be as important as the Goldstone report, in my opinion. This report draws the critical comparison between Occupation and Apartheid, in a legal framework. Perhaps you, or Yossi Gurvitz might read it, blog on it and try to get it widespread distribution.

      From where I’m coming from (the US) the decline of democracy in Israel is an ever-increasing unpleasantness, but Apartheid will kill you. Apartheid has a 100% record of destroying regimes.

      Robert

      Reply to Comment
    25. miri

      I am glad you opened this debate if only in order to read some reasoned argument on the topic for a change. I agree there are different ways and motivations of comparing – some legitimate, others not. I think the better way is to let legitimate, important comparison pass, and to block what you feel to be offensive or racist. How do you do that? Well, for me, with racism and hate, its more a matter of the ‘smell’ of what is said than the actual content. I know hate speech when I see it and I reject it. On the other hand I know quite well that not all comparisons to 1933-1945 in Germany are hate speech. On the contrary, many such comparisons are essential to Israelis and indeed to everyone, as important red lines to beware of and to fight against. Fear it as we must – we have no choice – we have to know, face and analyse the full horror of what we are fighting to prevent. No Pasaran. Good luck.

      Reply to Comment
    26. miri

      2 more points.
      The first is, just because Israeli society has not so far engaged in outright genocide does not mean we are immune from going there in the future, if nothing or no one stops us. I am not interested in ‘atrocity competitions’ but in learning from history to protect our common future. (that’s Israelis and Palestinians).

      My second point is about how hard it is for some 2nd/3rd generation survivors to deal with such comparisons because of the personal load it involves. I agree there is a problem with using a real event in history as a kind of metaphor for another completely different event in history. It is always a simplification and it is likely to trigger powerful emotions and generalisations. But there is no choice but to try and distill some rational comparison from there – in order to understand our particular mechanisms of oppression. Israel today has no choice. Some years ago, a sensitive friend came from his home in Berlin to visit me and see the OPT. He found it very hard. He said – ‘too many echoes’. Today I feel that too.

      Reply to Comment
    27. George

      Noam, you ask “if you want to talk about racial politics, why not discuss the segregated south, or south africa?”. I think that in the context of the 972 discussions, which are targeting the international, or the more educated Israeli, community, it is a valid question.

      However, just something to think about: In the Israeli, Hebrew, discourse, the case is different. Israelis are, in general, completely ignorant about the history of the segregated south, and not much better in the context of South Africa. However, Israelis are also extremely educated about the Holocaust (at least they believe so and are much more knowledgeable about it). This is why the Nazi comparison has higher potential merit IN HEBREW. This is true even without accounting for the added ‘shock’ value that Jews/Israelis have when they hear comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany (clearly, this ‘shock’ could also be counter-productive in the sense that it might block the attention of many).

      Reply to Comment
    28. BlightUntoNations

      Hi Noam and all. Good points. Noam, I think you’ve hit on the basic discrepancy. Your focus seems to be largely on the physical manifestations of Nazism. No death camps–No Nazism. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate position to take. I respect it but don’t quite agree with it. People are free to regard me as a dullard but I don’t think that accusation holds for someone like Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The guy had what–like 9 PhDs or something? A simpleton, he wasn’t. I’m sure he was acutely aware of the fact that what the Israelis are doing in the Occupied Territories is not the Shoah. By a longshot. So why would he use this inflammatory term “Judeo-Nazism” that upset so many people and got everyone’s underwear in a knot? Merely to be provocative? I don’t think so. I think he’s using the term Nazism for an ideology that encourages the stripping of an entire people of their dignity, their fundamental humanity; that involves the brutal subjugation of a group on the basis of ethnicity, religion, ideology or what have you. An ideology that fails to acknowledge the fundamental equality of all people and instead, singles out its own tribe to pose as overlords and singles another out as essentially valueless. Now you may claim that such a usage renders the term meaningless. I don’t think it does. I think it captures the essence of Nazism, at least as some, including Leibowitz–have used it. The other reason I think it’s important is that using it fundamentally changes the response to the situation. It is one thing to say ‘israel has its problems like any country and reforms are needed.’ It is quite another to claim that they are engaged in a form of Nazism, because in this case, we are not simply talking about a problem, but about an INTOLERABLE problem, a problem the world can not allow to continue. I also think it takes away Israel’s exclusive use of the holocaust as a political weapon, to remind the world who the eternal victims are. This dogma deserves to be broken. As to the ban on this forum, it’s really a minor point either way. If you ban me, I still support 972 and would happily send people to this site to learn a lot about what is going on in the Mid East these days. I don’t take it personally.

      Reply to Comment
    29. BlightUntoNations

      ……………….ps: a reasonable question might be to ask me if America’s conduct in Indochina, in which 3-4 million people, mostly civilian, were murdered with napalm and high explosives constitutes a form of Nazism. I would unhesitatingly insist that is does.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Ex Israeli

      BlightUntoNations asks:
      “So why would he use this inflammatory term”…
      Apparently Leibowitz himself was asked that very same question.
      His reply:
      - I have merely stated a FACT. That’s all”.
      “But do you really mean it “?” Do you really see it as a fact”?
      “Yes I really do see it as a fact” he replied once again, probably wandering why on earth does he have to repeat himself twice …

      This interview is available btw on youtube if anyone hasn’t seen it already:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMNi5_M_-rc

      Reply to Comment
    31. maayan

      Robert, I read that article and a number of others just to refresh my memory this afternoon, before I posted that you were wrong. You are wrong. There are differing viewpoints about what happened, in the first place, and in the second place, the Ha’aretz article is suggestive but ultimately inconclusive. It was and is in the interest of Syria to push this story.

      As for quoting Dugard, a staunch anti-Israel activist who accepted a task for which only 4 nations (and now only two nations) in the entire world qualify, one of them being Israel, you couldn’t find a more partisan authority. And of course, who should be a key contributor to this document? Adalah.

      So I read it. I loved page 16 and 17 where the authors have a couple of problems they need to cover up. On page 16, where the charge of Colonialism is leveled, they only give their fifth of five requirement for Colonialism, a short paragraph. So they write, “a people entitled to exercise the right
      of self-determination has the right freely to develop and practice its culture. Israeli practices privilege the language and cultural referents of the occupier, while materially hampering the cultural
      development and expression of the Palestinian population.”
      What bullshit. What an utter and complete lie.
      Of course, without this criterion, their entire argument falls apart, so they try to push it. In the meantime, it looks like Palestinian culture is developing just fine, certainly if we consider the tv programs they use to inculcate their kids with hatred of Jews and Israel.
      But that’s not enough. On page 17, also in the Executive Summary, the authors apparently realized that even when they try to take “apartheid,” a South African concept and apply it universally (although only to Israel, of course), they hit a roadblock proving Dugard’s thesis. So what do they do? They hedge: “This list is intended to be illustrative and inclusive, rather than exhaustive or exclusive. Accordingly, a determination that apartheid exists does not require that all the listed acts are practiced…”
      Of course not. If all the elements of apartheid were present, then they would declare a list and demand that it be comprehensive, just as they did a page earlier with Colonialism (even if they fudged on the cultural issue). Since they can’t do that, they change the tune to “some” elements of apartheid being sufficient to label Israel an apartheid state.
      But then they really twist facts to suit their argument. Apartheid, of course, was a racist policy. In order to call some other system “apartheid,” they need racial groups. Oops! That doesn’t work with Israel. So what did the geniuses here, with the assistance of Israeli-trained Arab-Israeli lawyers from Adalah do?
      “In the OPT, this study finds that ‘Jewish’ and ‘Palestinian’ identities are socially constructed as groups distinguished by ancestry or descent as well as nationality, ethnicity, and religion. On this basis, the study concludes that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs can be considered ‘racial groups’ for the purposes of the definition of apartheid in international law.” How lucky for them there are few Druze in Judea and Samaria…

      It gets better. Later they write, “The comparative analyses of South African apartheid practices threaded throughout the analysis of apartheid in Chapter 5 is there to illuminate, rather than define, the meaning of apartheid, and there
      are certainly differences between apartheid as it was applied in South Africa and Israel’s policies and
      practices in the OPT. Nonetheless, it is significant that the two systems can be defined by similar
      dominant features.”
      Translation: we have a few round pegs and a square hole, but not to worry, everything will fit after we hammer it in really hard.
      And then they dance around the really important issues that undermine their entire presentation:
      “Whether the confinement of Palestinians to certain reserves or enclaves within the OPT is analogous
      to South African ‘grand apartheid’ in the further sense that Israel intends Palestinian rights ultimately to be met by the creation of a State in parts of the OPT whose rationale is based on racial segregation engages political questions beyond the scope and method of this study…”
      Oh!!!! So Israel believes it can facilitate a state for the Palestinians, the existence of which would nullify every claim made in this research paper (and the offers of such a state disprove the thesis conclusively), but this one detail, this little itty bitty detail, is to be ignored in a 293-page paper. Why? Because acknowledging and addressing the Israeli push for a Palestinian state undermines EVERYTHING else this study claims. They have scope and method for interposing a South African black/white racial policy on a century old war between several Arab nations and Israel, but when it comes to a key element that negates their entire argument, that falls outside their scope and method.

      Yes, Robert is right and apparently this Dugard-initiated report falls along the lines of the Goldstone Report. Goldstone took liberties like admitting that his witnesses may not have spoken freely due to Hamas pressure, and then accepted their testimony at face value anyway.

      Apparently, when you want to blacken Israel’s name, you just do it. Never mind consistency or fairness.

      Reply to Comment
    32. blightUntoNations

      ……………………………………..Maayan is right.

      Furthermore, the holocaust never happened.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Robert

      Maayan,

      Do you know about the former Tobacco Institute (the tobacco lobby) in the US? This institute’s primary role was to say that the dangers of smoking to your health was “disputed”, or there was a “scientific debate”. You are using the same disgraceful tactics, to separate the observer from documented facts and create a phony “debate”.

      “There was flight and there was expulsion. Even though this is considered a controversial subject, anyone who has studied the period even a little knows very well that there was some of both. Testimonies about expulsion and being prevented from returning reached me.”

      Shalem believes the inhabitants left the villages as soon as the shelling started, but says they didn’t abandon their land and apparently were waiting to return home once the battles ended: “It’s a behavior pattern we’d seen in earlier conquests in the war … Civilians flee their homes, but stay where they can maintain eye contact with the village, to see how things evolve. These were simple folks for the most part, not big politicians by any means, and in the absence of any leadership they did what was necessary to preserve their homes and property.”

      Shalem’s account is supported by most of the testimonies of fighters interviewed for this article.

      So these testimonies are now “disputed”, right? What was that commandment about “bearing false witness”?

      As far as Dugard’s report, no two countries that practice Apartheid will have precisely the same flavor of Apartheid. There is differing geography, differing circumstances. The point is that no nation should get near the situation described in the Dugard report.

      As far as Dugard himself, don’t ask the question,”is this partisan”? Ask the question, “is this true”?

      Robert

      Reply to Comment
    34. maayan

      Ha’aretz articles – especially Ha’aretz articles – don’t constitute history. For example, even the basic premise about the Golan Heights population on the eve of 1967 as reported in the article is actually the larger estimated figure.
      Then you have this: “Almost everyone who poked his head out of his tank or armored vehicle remembers seeing hundreds of Syrian civilians gathered outside the villages during the two days of fighting in the Golan. The accounts say many civilians were in fact heading east in convoys, sometimes with the retreating army, but that many also remained…”

      Hundreds of villagers. In the meantime, Syria itself reported 54,000 refugees even according to this. Hundreds does not constitute the tens of thousands Israel would have had to evict. Furthermore, the same report by the same fighters also lists the extensive movement through convoys. It’s possible, isn’t it, that not everybody could move at once? Another fighter, if you want to respect what the fighter is also quoted, “Shaked insists that he and the forces who served under him did not expel a single Syrian civilian. but confirms that, in accordance with an order from high command, every villager found in the area under his control was taken to Quneitra and from there, in coordination with the Red Cross and UN, transferred to Syria. He says there were only A FEW DOZEN CASES like that.” Continuing with my theme that while you’re talking about mass expulsion, I am not seeing evidence of that even in this article, you will then find “About the last half of September, one such report said: “Our forces opened fire 22 times to chase away shepherds and infiltrators who approached outposts. Three Syrian and two Lebanese infiltrators were apprehended for questioning.” It is important to note that it is explicitly stated that these were unarmed civilians.”
      22 incidents.
      “The army combed through seven villages in those two weeks, all of them were found to be abandoned. Also during that period, according to the report, 24 people were transferred to Syrian territory by the Red Cross.”
      24 people.
      My point is not that there wasn’t movement, or that Israel didn’t close off the Golan, but Syria also closed off their side and the vast majority of the the Golan residents who found themselves on the Syrian side were not pushed there by Israel. That’s without even getting into the entire question of how Syria was using the Golan Heights against Israel.

      So instead of insulting me and my integrity, why don’t you read the article again and note, again, that I said the article was inconclusive. It is certainly that. At most, even if ALL of its insinuations are right – since it does not provide actual evidence of the removal of population – it is discussing hundreds of residents. In my opinion, even that number is exaggerated when the article is read carefully. Perhaps there was a mass expulsion, but this article didn’t prove it and as I looked around to find other sources that weren’t fed info by the Syrian government, I failed to find them.

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    35. maayan

      Robert, you also write, “no two countries that practice Apartheid will have precisely the same flavor of Apartheid.”

      That’s because apartheid is a South African racist paradigm. It has nothing to do with Israel where there has been a war between two nations for a century, and where the outcome of the war has dictated the current situation and not some malicious bigotry by Israel. It’s not apartheid because Jews are actually the majority in this area and it’s not apartheid because Israel has offered the Palestinians a state which would automatically removed the vast majority of claims made on behalf of the apartheid argument.

      Like I said, it’s a matter of trying to put round pegs into squares. It isn’t apartheid.

      Regarding Dugard. It’s hard not to judge a person who was willing to take a role being a rapporteur for a democracy like Israel when the only other special rapporteurs that have ever been appointed by the UNHRC have been among the world’s most terrible violators of human rights even as the HRC ignores the vast majority of human rights violating countries that do far worse than Israel. To take such a role, Dugard was accepting participation in a lie and a hoax, so why should his follow-up project to label Israel something it is not be considered truthful?

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    36. I don’t know the context of the offending comments or what they said, but I think, along w. Ofer, that this is a far too simplistic approach.

      Look, it is the Israeli extreme right who introduce these analogies with their own racialist thinking & rhetoric. When three prominent Orthodox rabbis publish an editorial advocating Palestinians should be put in death camps, how can you fence off this portion of the political debate & say it’s treif. It’s the other side that’s introducing these themes. So you’re going to say that only you can write posts about this but yr readers can’t comment on the subject? Or you’re not going to write about this subject at all?

      Sorry, but I don’t get it.

      In my own comment rules I deal specifically w. this & say that MOST references to Nazism & calling the other side Nazis, etc. is treif. But I also say that if such a reference is developed carefully and applied in a nuanced way that such a comment would be acceptable.

      I just don’t think a hard & fast rule works so well in this particular subject area.

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    37. The label really doesn’t matter. Actions and policies are what determine the nature of governments.
      While exaggerations by their very nature do not address reality, the fact is that some trends in Israel regarding “the other”, are reminiscent of the trends in 19th century Europe which eventually led to the creation of the Nazi party in Germany.

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    38. I agree with Richard Silverstein. For reference his posting on these rabbis call for death camps is below. Banning certain themes is really just a way of sweeping a deeper problem under the carpet. That problem is the paucity of quality thinking and dialogue, from all camps, and a fundamental inability of many to effectively communicate their ideas without resorting to hyperbole, jargon and unhelpful (and inaccurate) historical references.

      But, like it or not, sometimes one does need to be able to refer to 1930s Germany because sometimes it is relevant and useful to do so, even if it is in only 1% of cases where people actually do so.

      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/01/12/israels-orthodox-rabbis-palestinians-to-the-ovens/

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    39. Dear Noam, I fully appreciate your conclusion that Nazi-Germany is NOT the Israel of today (and there is much more proof that could be provided for this conclusion. Take the internal aspects of 30s’ Germany: no freedom of press, no freedom of speech, arbitrary arrests by Gestapo, incarceration of political opponents without charge and trial, occupational bans etc.pp.).
      As an historian I’d like to add that the often used remark “you can’t compare X with Y” most often is not applicable. Because you neccessarily have to compare two things to be able to draw a correct conclusion. The conclusion then might be or not be that X is similar or equals Y. Practising the reverse order is of no help.

      Therefor, the hint from Richard should not be put aside. If there are certain aspects in todays Israel that do show similarities to Germanys 30s then they should be pointed out and discussed, especially for the reason Arieh provided: even Nazi-Germany did not occur overnight. It was a development (and only few observers like the brilliant Sebastian Haffner were capable to predict very precicely what was in store for Germany).

      The problem in the reality of a blog like this one is that there are potentially so many commentators who are tempted to use the Nazi-term in a frivolous manner.
      Thus, the challenge is how to fend them off without restraining a debate too much. I unfortunately have no satisfiying answer to this.

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    40. Wonderfully thought-provoking, many thanks, Noam.

      I recall Uri Avnery, a wise old owl with much experience, once saying ALL references to the holocaust boomerang. Certainly tends to distract the argument, as do references to apartheid. But on one occasion I called someone a Nazi, and honestly it seemed appropriate. It was in 2003 in Sheikh Jarrah at midnight, when 80 settlers, bussed in from Hebron, had attacked the a-Ghawi and Hannoun homes, smashing windows, thrown kids out of a 2nd floor broken window, chained the gates closed so no one could come to help, all of them apparently armed with small handguns. It felt so close to what one imagines as Kristallnacht. What got to me most was that no one in the crowd collected outside actually SAID anything. It was spookily silent with all the Palestinian neighbours in shock and all the criminals (Feiglin was there, as was then Minister of Tourism Benny Elon, doubtless all the other usual suspects) being allowed out of the homes as if nothing had happened. No arrests, no police files opened. When Nasser a-Ghawi went to the police a few days later to report a stolen watch during the fray, he was told the police had no idea who anyone had been no names were taken. Indeed, it just felt so evil that one sought for a word to try to get through to the “trespassers” what they were doing…

      Now, angrily dismissing people as Nazis fails to come to terms with what made otherwise normal people behave the way they did as Nazis, and which gestalt may be behind what’s happening here – abused families abuse, traumatised don’t have awareness or humility and so on. (“Who are you to tell us.. where were you when we needed you… we’ve suffered so much now no one can tell us what to do…”, all those familiar excuses.) I wish we in Israel would try to be more analytic as to what created Nazism to break the vicious cycle dragging us down, specifically holocaust studies folks. As Burg has written (The Holocaust is Over, We Must Rise from its Ashes), Israel should become a light to the world in understanding the psychology of holocausts, instead of our tendency to make of it No Bizness Like Shoah Bizness and only “our” holocaust was one.

      Maayan, I suggest you google the 1970s UN Covenant to Eradicate Apartheid because it’s an international law concept, not just a paradigm specific to South Africa. As someone who lived in or passed through SA during some of the worst years, the situation here’s much worse in many features. Collective punishment and forcibly preventing work were never the norm in SA where the blacks were an integral part of the work force and never attacked by Cast Lead type-operations. (Yes there were military incursions into the townships, John Vorster Square torture, etc. but nothing like the F-16 or Black Hawk or drone missile raids.) I humbly suggest you study the situation here far more – the permit system especially, but also the separate roads and total separation of whole populations, evictions, demolitions, family reunification denials, ID revocations, checkpoint humilitations and death rates there, etc. Sounds like you don’t actually know much about how the Occupation and its matrix of control works.

      Miri – my 86 year old Austrian neighbour said some four years ago how the smell of fascism is all too familiar to her. “I know this smell, I know this smell” she said, anxiously. And whilst I grew up believing the holocaust could never be understood, it was just too evil (my mother nursed Bergen-Belsen survivors in a London hospital so one picked up the later whispers as a tiny tot), by now I’m beginning to get a clearer picture, and it’s just so tragic. I mostly blame an ignorant leadership, but maybe we lost the best brains and spiritual voices – pace Leibowitz – in that holocaust, so it may even be part of that legacy and trauma. Which doesn’t necessarily disappear over time, but may gather resonance or ingrained cultural psychosis over time. For example, blind adherence to conservative values as a means of clinging to what is left and not having the internal security of being open to reform or freedom. etc.

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    41. BlightUntoNations

      ……………………angela

      Absolutely superb post! The worst thing we can do is try to whitewash the fact that Israel is a profoundly diseased society. I think decent Israelis are not merely incensed but deeply frightened by the comparison with the Nazis because similar crises may imply similar remedies, namely a military dismantling of the Jewish state, war crimes trials for the central architects of Cast Lead and other major atrocities and an imposed interim government to oversee a society no longer capable of managing its own affairs.

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    42. maayan

      Oh another of these idiotic “you don’t know what we know” comments?

      How about you stop telling me what to read, since as you’ll note above, I read the Dugard-led paper pretty carefully. Why, instead, don’t you read the decisions arrived at in the Sixth Fatah Congress where they openly state that they will continue to attack Israel on the basis of the “South Africa” model. Not because there’s apartheid, but because it’s effective propaganda.

      As for apartheid, to remind you, there are lots and lots of Arab Israelis who drive and can drive on the separate roads, and who have access to building permits, and who receive subsidies from the state if they’re unemployed or have enough children, etc. One-sided lies like “forcibly preventing work” that completely ignore how the Palestinian workforce in Israel became much smaller (although apparently it feeds 35,000 Palestinian families in Judea and Samaria) due to the terror attacks of 2000-2004, or discussions of “Cast Lead type-operations” that do not account for thousands of rockets launched at Israeli civilians have no relationship to apartheid. These are events in an ongoing war. A war, by the way that is driven by the Palestinians, not the Israelis. There are NO justifications for either the terror attacks or the rocket attacks, but without those you would not have your Cast Lead or your extensive roadblocks.

      I humbly suggest you study the situation without the blinders. Sounds like you know some stuff but interpret it incorrectly. There is a war going on here and both sides are fighting it. While one side is physically stronger, the other has many strengths as well and uses them effectively.

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    43. Robert

      You show an amazing ability to take history, put yourself at a distance from it.

      “the outcome of the war has dictated the current situation and not some malicious bigotry by Israel.”

      Maayan, if the Palestinians of the OPT were Jews, they would not be treated the way that they are.

      “It’s not apartheid because Jews are actually the majority in this area.”

      The key to Apartheid is *separateness*, not majority.

      “and it’s not apartheid because Israel has offered the Palestinians a state which would automatically removed the vast majority of claims made on behalf of the apartheid argument.”

      Israel offered the Palestinians a Bantustan series of state-lets. Nelson Mandela turned down offers of Bantustans for years and stayed in prison, rather than accept Bantustans.

      ” Sixth Fatah Congress where they openly state that they will continue to attack Israel on the basis of the “South Africa” model”

      Pro-Israel argumentation tries to make “Palestinian” a synonym for “wrong”, “lie” or “evil”. Just because Fatah said that they would attack Israel on the South Africa model doesnt mean that the model’s wrong.

      I know that you are Israeli, love Israel. I love Israel, too, I visited 3 years ago and absolutely loved it. My reading in 2010 took me in unexpected places. I place a high value on ground truth, the way that a scientist would. For me, the data comes first, conscience second, partisanship last. If I got rock-hard data from a right wing source, then that’s OK, too.

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    44. BlightUntoNations

      …………………………………..Talking to Mayyan only convinces him he has something to say. In my experience, these sorts of schistosomes are best ignored. I don’t bother to read his crap anymore. He’s irrelevant.

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    45. wow, this will go on forever.
      Both sides make legitimate points, all beside the actual point since the headline of this article is “Why Nazi Germany References are Banned on MY blog”.
      but, I guess going over the history of the world to attempt and change the writer’s opinion is everyone’s prerogative.
      I would think that a cup of coffee and movie invitation would achieve the same results.
      btw- I find it hard to believe no one yet has mentioned Virginia Wolf’s take on the Armenian Genocide. ..

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    46. Mori Rothman

      Thoughtful, Noam (not necessarily everyone else). I think that it is clear -even from this discussion- that usage of the Holocaust/Nazi comparison, especially on blogs, almost always come from a place of self-righteousness and a desire to portray anyone who thinks differently than you as not only wrong, but evil and even murderous.

      I, like Noam, am very disturbed by many happenings in Israel, but I am also disturbed by home much pleasure certain blog-commentators seem to derive from these happenings, joyously proclaiming Israel to be like Nazi Germany.

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    47. BlightUntoNations

      ……………………………….I guess the moderator is not joking! He really DOESN’T want anyone to see what Israel is. That’s not too surprising, as the picture is pretty sickening.

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    48. BlightUntoNations

      ……………………………………………….Hi Mori.

      …………………………………………. “……almost always come from a place of self-righteousness and a desire to portray anyone who thinks differently than you as not only wrong, but evil and even murderous.”

      That’s what you call rounding up Arab children and beating them half to death (after you’ve destroyed their homes? ) That to you amounts to “thinking differently.” ?!?

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    49. maayan

      I’m not a right winger and my sources are not partisan sources. I gather information from everywhere and I seek to have integrity for any claim I make.

      Quoting the Fatah Congress in a manner you dislike doesn’t mean I put a spin on it. They are forthright, unlike their, please forgive me, their useful idiots, about what using the apartheid analogy is really about. That’s all. It’s propaganda that helps their cause, as far as they’re concerned. And their cause is not about ending occupation or any silly thing like that. They are clear about that as well.

      Now let us also be perfectly clear about this. Israel did not offer bantustans or anything like bantustans to the Palestinians. Both Barak and Olmert offered not just a contiguous Judea and Samaria, minus about 3.5% of the entire territory, virtually all of it near the Green Line, and not just all of Gaza, but also a means for Palestinians to move between these two areas to ensure they were as contiguous as the circumstances permitted (and let’s not forget these circumstances exist because of the wars launched by the Arabs and Palestinian Arabs). If you compare what Barak offered at Camp David to what he offered at Taba, it will become crystal clear that the bantustan argument is a red herring.

      There is no apartheid. There is a war along national lines. It has taken on dimensions that never should have happened, but let’s be honest and admit that the Arabs didn’t/do not want Jews in Israel, didn’t/do not want an Israel, didn’t/do not want to negotiate with Israel, didn’t/do not want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and before as a state at all, and have ensured that no Jews lived in areas they conquered as part of this war. Let’s not forget their terrorism that included everything from murdering children in schools like Ma’alot to athletes in the Olympics in Munich to diners in restaurants all over the country and riders on buses on major bus routes. And this terrorism was led by the same people who run the PA now.

      Let’s not forget the endless construction in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria BY THE PALESTINIANS, not to mention the non-stop planting of new olive groves to define parcels of land that were never theirs previously but which Israeli law protects once planted, the constant barrage of diplomatic attacks on Israel and of media attacks and political games.

      The Palestinians at the Sixth Fatah Congress also voted to keep the refugee camps open because, as they pointed out, they were an effective educational tool.

      Israel’s response to all of this is apartheid? No. Bantustans? No. Settlements to contest Palestinian growth. Yes. Harsher security standards. Yes. Peace offers. Yes!!

      Reply to Comment
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