This essay first appeared on Grizzly Groundswell
Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels
He would be proud.
The opponents of Israel has been pushing the idea that Israel is taking on the characteristics of the Nazis as they fight to defend themselves. In actuality, Israel's enemies don't really recognize Israel's right of self-defense since they regard her as an illegitimate state. The charge of Nazism by Israel/Zionists is not a new one, but it is being used with greater frequency in the light of recent fighting between the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the terrorist groups, Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and Hamas in Gaza at the turn of the year 2008-2009. The idea of comparing Israel to Nazism is absurd on its face.
Much of the accusation is based on charges that in both of the above conflicts, Israel deliberately targeted civilians for death and, in effect, is attempting to commit genocide against the Palestinian people-a charge ridiculous in itself. It is true that civilians died in both conflicts. Civilian casualties in war are eventually inevitable. In Israel's case, they went to great lengths to avoid innocent casualties even as both Hezbollah and Hamas used the tactic of fighting from behind human shields in apartment complexes, schools and hospitals. In effect, they wanted their civilians to die so as to show a willing international media how bad the Israelis were. The media complied-virtually ignoring the causes of both conflicts. In the case of the Israeli incursion into southern Lebanon, it was a result of Hezbollah ambushing and kidnapping two soldiers from across the border. (After the fighting, those soldiers bodies were returned, dead, of course and showing signs of severe torture). In the case of Gaza, it was in response to hundreds of rockets being launched into southern Israel, many of which landed in schoolyards. During the resultant conflicts, the international media paid scant attention to the above as well as Hezbollah rockets lobbed into Haifa in 2006 forcing that city's residents into bomb shelters.
It is also conveniently ignored that in both conflicts, Israel dropped millions of leaflets warning residents in certain areas to clear out. In addition, automatic phone calls were made to residents giving them the same warnings. Contrary to Hamas' propaganda, the Israeli allowed outside humanitarian aid into Gaza during the conflict.
The Nazis never did those things. To be honest, neither did the Allies in World War II. German and Japanese cities were leveled knowing that tens of thousands of civilians would be killed. We were in effect, trying to destroy the will of the Japanese and German people to continue the war. I myself have visited Hiroshima, and it is a profoundly moving experience. This does not mean that I am condemning what we did in World War II. We were fighting for our very survival against two evil regimes that were committing horrible atrocities in the lands they had conquered and occupied.
But back to the comparison between Nazis and Israelis/Zionists. Some questions are in order.
Are the Israelis persecuting their Arab minority living within Israel proper-as the Nazis did to the Jews? No. Arabs/Muslims in Israel enjoy more freedom that they would in any of the neighboring Arab dictatorships. Have Israeli Arabs ever had to wear distinctive clothing in Israel marking them as Muslims or non-Jews?
Has there ever been an Israeli version of Kristalnacht against Arabs or Muslim in Israel? No.
Kristalnacht-November 1938-burning of synagogue in Michelsberg.
In contrast, ask yourself whatever happened to the centuries-old Jewish communities in Arab lands after 1948. The fact is that they were driven out. Today, only a few thousand remain here and there. Yemen's last remaining Jews are trying to get out of that country-where they had lived for centuries- as fast as they can due to persecution.
Do Israeli newspapers and magazines contain perverted images of Arabs or Muslims similar to Julius Streicher's Der Stuermer of the Nazi era? No-but neighboring mainstream newspapers in the Arab world still portray Jews in cartoons similar to Steicher's anti-Semitic images. Here are just a few examples:
Nazi newspaper "Der Stuermer"-headline reads, "Jewish murder plan against non-Jewish humanity uncovered."
The Jewish Blood Libel
Web site of the Arab European League, February 2, 2006
February 3, 2004
There are hundreds more like these that are regularly printed in the Arab media. They are readily available on the Internet. Have you ever heard about Jews rioting over these cartoons?
Who are the real Nazis?
Did the Nazis allow Jews to continue in the Reichstag? Or the universities? The answer is no. Are the Israelis excluding Arabs from teaching or engaging in politics? No. Are the Israelis forcibly taking over Arab businesses and giving them to Israelis? No. Are the Israelis burning down mosques in Israel? No.
Is there anything in Israel comparable to the so-called Nuremberg Laws of 1935 which formally encoded the Jews' status as second class citizens? No. Israel is a democracy, where the rights of minorities are protected-unlike its neighbors, none of whom are democracies.
Do the Israelis punish their citizens for marrying across ethnic or religious lines? No-but Muslims do-they forbid a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim. The penalty is death. That may not be encoded in the legal code of any Muslim nation, but it is part and parcel of Islam. In contrast, Jewish women intermarry all the time.
Eisenach 1940-The sign says, "I am a race-defiler"
Aryan woman and Jewish man in Nazi Germany (same wording on sign)
Other than retaliating or trying to stop armed aggression against them from their neighbors, what countries has Israel invaded and occupied as did Germany, which took over almost all of Europe? True, they have gone into Lebanon in an attempt to defeat those who were at war with them and trying to deny their right to exist, but there is no Israeli desire to make Lebanon part of Israel. Had not Syria, Jordan and Egypt not attempted to destroy Israel in 1967, they would not have lost the Golan Hts, West Bank and the Sinai, which Israel occupied as buffer zones. Can anyone seriously suspect that Israel wants to take over Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and all the other nations of the Middle East? Along those lines, did Nazi Germany ever negotiate peace treaties with any neighboring countries by which they gave up disputed land? No.
Had the Arab world accepted the 1948 UN decision to partition the Palestine area into two states, which Israel accepted, probably none of this conflict would have resulted. The Arab world rejected it and immediately went to war-and lost. The hatred coming from that humiliation has existed ever since.
The fact is that Israel is simply trying to exist as an independent Jewish state-where minority religions are tolerated to this day. Instead, they are faced with a hostile Arab world which refuses to allow the presence of a non-Muslim nation the size of New Jersey to exist in its midst-notwithstanding the historical existence of the three major religions in the Holy Land.
Let's compare the start of World War II with the wars that Israel has engaged in. In 1939, after taking over Austria and Czechoslovakia, Hitler manufactured a hoax to justify his invasion of Poland. A group of operatives were sent to the German-Polish border- a place called Gleiwitz, where they "stormed" a German radio site, left a few bodies behind in Polish uniforms (actually concentration camp prisoners) and made a fake broadcast. That led to the invasion of Poland which Hitler described as a self defense response. In contrast, Israel's wars against its neighbors have truly been in self defense including the last two incursions into Lebanon and Gaza. Unlike Gleiwitz, Israel had two soldiers truly kidnapped at the Israel-Lebanon border-who were eventually tortured and killed, and in the case of Gaza, Israel was legitimately responding to hundreds of rockets being launched from Gaza by Hamas-a terrorist organization which in its own charter, rejects any negotiation and calls for the destruction of Israel and establishment of an Islamic state. Yet American apologists like the discredited ex-professor Norman Finklestein, himself of Jewish heritage, propagate the lie to university audiences that Israel invaded Gaza because Hamas was becoming "too moderate" and "a real partner for peace". (He said that in my presence at UC-Irvine in January 2009.)
Much more importantly, have the Israelis set up death camps, where their enemies or non-Jews-specifically Muslims-have been systematically exterminated? No. Yet, their enemies charge them with "genocide". Why does not the world cry out over the Hama massacre in Syria in 1982 when the Syrian army bombarded the town of Hama while fighting elements of the Muslim Brotherhood resulting in an estimate of anywhere from 7-40,000 deaths? Where is the world's memory of the Black September massacre when Jordan expelled or killed thousands of Palestinians?
Do Jews in synagogues call out for "death to Muslims" or anyone else? No. Is Israel trying to exterminate the Arab/Muslim race? Of course not; it would be impossible to begin with.
One of the most disgusting aspects of the anti-Israel campaign is the insistence of many-especially in the Arab world- that the Holocaust never happened-or was greatly exaggerated. In a region where Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is still a best seller, as well as the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", many leaders are engaging in this ultimate of canards. They ignore the historical evidence of an era that is more well-documented than virtually any other. They ignore the images of the death camps once they were liberated. They ignore the testimony of the Nuremberg trials. They even ignore the confessions of the commander of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoess, who actually wrote his memoirs describing what happened as he was awaiting his execution in Poland after the war. Even a national leader, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, subscribes to this mad idea as he and so many others plan their own "final solution" to the Jewish problem.
This is the real Holocaust. This is what real Nazis did.
This is what the Allies discovered when they conquered Germany
Who are the real Nazis of today?
Speaking of Nazis, it should be pointed out that during the war years, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was Hitler's guest in Berlin, from where he made anti-Semitic broadcasts to the Middle East urging his listeners to purge and drive out the Jews. More importantly, he even helped organize a Muslim SS Division in Bosnia, which made their own contributions to the Final Solution in that region.
Hitler and his ally, al-Husseini in Berlin
Who are the real Nazis?
The charge of Nazism and genocide is not one to be made lightly. To charge the survivors of the Holocaust is unconscionable. Yet, that is what Israel's enemies
do and successfully at that. They have convinced many in the Western World that Israel is no better than Nazi Germany; thus, they argue it does not deserve to exist. No doubt there are many in the West who will accept these lies. After all, so many in Europe are intimidated by an aggressive and radical Muslim immigrant presence, and after all, we need that Arab oil, don't we? So why not accept the lie that Israel is just another evil nation that should be eliminated so we can all live in peace? What naivete.
A more accurate argument would be that Israel is the lone democracy surrounded by Nazis.