Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The New Blood Libel: Israel=Nazi

If there is one theme that stood out in the demonstrations around the world during the Gaza conflict it was the narrative that Israel is “like the Nazis.” At virtually every pro-Hamas demonstration, people carried signs showing the Israeli flag with a Swastika instead of a Star of David. The word Nazi in reference to Israel was shouted out frequently from Islamabad to Amsterdam to Toronto. Ironically, in many places pro-Hamas demonstrators accused Israel of being “like Nazis” at the same time they were shouting “Jews to the ovens” and “Hitler was right.” At least at one location that I know of, in Calgary, Canada, pro-Hamas demonstrators actually marched side by side with real Neo-Nazi skinheads while comparing Israel to Nazis.

To accuse Israel of being "like Nazis" accomplishes a great deal for your average Israel hater/anti-Semite. After all, what does one do to a Nazi? Is violent “resistance” and total war against Nazis and their sympathizers not justified? There is no worse thing you can accuse a person of being than a Nazi, there is no insult that cuts deeper, no words that could be more incendiary, especially if you throw the charge at Jews whose families and close ancestors were the primary victims of the Nazis... and Muslims know it. They also know that some guilt-ridden Europeans and some Christians (especially leftists), take perverse comfort in the idea that the victims of the Holocaust are somehow “like Nazis”. If the children of the victims of Nazi crimes can themselves be labeled “like Nazis” than perhaps the parents and grandparents who committed the real Nazi crimes (or were indifferent to them) are not as guilty as has been portrayed. Perhaps the victims are not as innocent as has been portrayed. That's why you have more than a few Catholic priests (certainly not a majority) who like to make the "Israel=Nazis" analogy, hoping that such warped observations might help absolve Vatican indifference to the greatest crime and the greatest sin in all of human history, an indifference lead by Pope Pius XII.

Some Islamists and their leftist fellow-travelers seem to think that by calling Jews Nazis they become immune to the charge themselves. Indeed, they should look in the mirror. The old blood-libel is back in a new form: "Kill the Jews... because they're like Nazis," and it's coming from Islamists and leftists. Open, unrestrained Jew-hatred of the kind not seen since the 1930's flooded the streets of major world cities last month. If that is not an alarm bell, I don't know what is.

Joe Gelman

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