Irish Times

Irish Times legitimizes Israel-Nazi analogy


To begin, let’s try to keep two thoughts in our head at the same time: One: General Ya’ir Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army, had the right to make a speech on Holocaust Memorial Day suggesting some parallels between certain aspects of the early days of Nazi rule and Israeli society today.  Two: such a comparison doesn’t hold up to even the most minimal critical scrutiny.

Golan later clarified that he was not comparing Israel to Nazi Germany

However, leaving the question of what Golan was saying aside, it’s troubling that Irish Times editors chose to publish an op-ed by far-left Israeli activist Uri Avnery using Golan’s words to legitimize his claim that “racist bills in the Knesset strongly resemble laws” adopted “in the early days of the Nazi regime”. 

Here’s the crux of his argument:

The discrimination against the Palestinians in practically all spheres of life can be compared to the treatment of the Jews in the first phase of Nazi Germany. (The oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories resembles more the treatment of the Czechs in the “protectorate” after the Munich betrayal.)

The rain of racist Bills in the Knesset, those already adopted and those in the works, strongly resembles the laws adopted by the Reichstag in the early days of the Nazi regime. Some rabbis call for a boycott of Arab shops. Like then. The call “Death to the Arabs” (“Judah verrecke”?) is regularly heard at soccer matches.

A member of parliament has called for the separation between Jewish and Arab newborns in hospital. A chief rabbi has declared that Goyim (non-Jews) were created by God to serve the Jews.

Our ministers for education and culture are busy subduing the schools, theatre and arts to the extreme rightist line, something known in German as Gleichschaltung. The supreme court, the pride of Israel, is being relentlessly attacked by the minister of justice. The Gaza Strip is a huge ghetto.

Of course, the suggestion that any legislation in the Knesset resembles early Nazi laws, or that discrimination against Arab-Israelis or Palestinians is akin to the discrimination against Jews “in the first phase of Nazi Germany” is completely ahistorical.  Here’s a list of significant antisemitic legislation and acts during the first two years of Nazi rule:

1933

  • March 31: Decree of the Berlin city commissioner for health suspends Jewish doctors from the city’s charity services.
  • April 1: Nazi leadership stages an economic boycott of German Jews (Thousands of Stars of David were painted on doors and windows by Nazi Stormtroopers with accompanying antisemitic slogans such as, “The Jews Are Our Misfortune.”)
  • April 7: Law for the Reestablishment of the Professional Civil Service removes Jews from government service.
  • April 7: Law on the Admission to the Legal Profession forbids the admission of Jews to the bar.
  • April 25: Law against Overcrowding in Schools and Universities limits the number of Jewish students in public schools.
  • July 14: De-Naturalization Law revokes the citizenship of naturalized Jews and “undesirables.”
  • October 4: Law on Editors bans Jews from editorial posts.

1935

  • May 21: Army law expels Jewish officers from the army.
  • September 15: Nazi leaders announce the Nuremberg Laws, stripping Jews of German citizenship.

Avnery doesn’t provide any examples of the Nazi-like “rain of racist bills” in the Knesset, perhaps because there are none which could even remotely stand up to such a comparison.  Merely the fact that some Israelis have made racist statements and proposed racist ideas – as some people do in every democratic society – is not similar to the codification of a system of racial discrimination enforced by despotic regimes.

Further, the German word “Gleichschaltung“, which Avnery uses to characterize Israel’s ‘dangerous lurch right’, actually refers to the totalitarian practice (under the Nazis) of ending all independent institutions, and coercing all communal, professional, religious, cultural and judicial bodies into subservience to the state – a term with no relevance whatsoever to life in the pluralistic, democratic state of Israel.  (Avnery may be alluding to a proposal – which isn’t yet law – by the Culture Ministry to cut government funding from institutions that incite to racism, violence or terrorism or support terrorism. Whilst the merits of  proposal are debatable, there is certainly nothing totalitarian, or Gleichschaltung-like, about it.)

Finally, Avnery falls back on classic anti-Zionist agitprop in describing Gaza as a ‘Ghetto’ – presumably akin to the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. The comparison between The Warsaw Ghetto is almost beyond comprehension, but a few facts need to be noted:

In 1941, many Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were limited to a diet of less than 200 calories a day, and in 1942 up to 5,000 Jews in the Ghetto were dying every month due to starvation. Over 100,000 Jews in the Ghetto died due to disease, starvation or random killings. Hundreds of thousands were sent to Nazi death camps.  There is no starvation in Gaza or anything resembling an Israeli “liquidation” or mass slaughter of its inhabitants.  Current restrictions on shipments to Gaza – including a legal maritime blockade – enforced by Israeli authorities limit only military items or goods which could have a military dimension.  Thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies arrive in Gaza daily through Israeli crossing points, even during wartime

Avnery’s Nazi comparison is completely without merit, and the decision by Irish Times editors to publish such a smear – an analogy considered antisemitic per the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism – represents another example of how, when it comes to Israel, even the most hateful, offensive and incendiary accusations are not off-limits. 

 

42 replies »

  1. Uri Avneri the champion of human rights is just a racist bigot – a perfect match to the Irish Times. A quote from one other article of his about the new chief of the police:
    Primitive minds
    The name Alsheikh is a corruption of the very Arabic al-Sheikh – “the old one”. His father is of Yemenite descent, his mother is Moroccan. He is the first police chief to wear a kippah, or skullcap.

    Do you get it folks? He has to have a primitive mind because he is not of pure snowhite Ashkenazi origin. Obviously he is just an Arab with a corrupted Arabic name and if this not enough he is an observant Jew. (Being religious must be sign of a primitive mind naturally – just think of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Robert Aumann and Ada Yonath
    Together with this openly racist crap on the same web page you can find an article penned by Avneri’s spiritual brother- the well known Gilad Atzmon stating the obvious Hitler was an ultra Zionist.
    So being published in the Irish Times shouldn’t be a surprise at all.

    • Actually, Leibowitz did have a primitive mind: he was one of the first, if not the first, to call IDF soldiers ‘Nazis’. I have nothing but contempt for him.

      • This doesn’t mean that he was primitive or had a “primitive mind” this means that he had abominable political views. A person can be a monster and the same time very clever and intelligent.

      • Leibowitz was the foremost Israeli modern orthodox philosopher in the 20th century. Only a total moron would publicly state that he had a “primitive mind”.

        • Interesting. A total moron calls me a ‘moron’ for pointing out that anyone calling IDF soldiers ‘Nazis’ has a primitive mind … which latter is a simple statement of fact.
          Just as Hawking has a primitive mind for supporting BDS.
          Perhaps you should study logical fallacies before exhibiting your stupidity. Look up e.g. the fallacy of appeal to authority. Or read some Popper about empirical evidence as against vox populi reputation.

    • Important to note that in WW2, Ireland was NEUTRAL.

      Ireland could not take a stand and decide whether to side with the Allies or the Axis of Fascist Socialism.

      And when Socialist SHlTler died (blew his brains out in his Berlin bunker) in April 30, 1945, the scumbag fascist leader of Ireland, Devalera, sent a letter of condolence to nazi Germany.

      Ireland has ETERNAL SHAME on its history.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_neutrality_during_World_War_II

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89amon_de_Valera

  2. “General Ya’ir Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army, had the right to make a speech on Holocaust Memorial Day suggesting some parallels between certain aspects of the early days of Nazi rule and Israeli society today” –
    No, he didn’t. He spat in the face of Holocaust victims and their families, mine included.
    He is utter scum.
    So, of course, is Avnery.

  3. Golan spoke inappropriately. The press was far worse in amplifying it and misconstruing it.

    I would argue that both knifing attacks and a call for excessive vigilantism would be the references in Golan’s speech, but it would be inappropriate for him in his position to elaborate. Anything he said further would be spun to indicate a public bias of the IDF. The obvious reference would be the current manslaughter trial of Elor Azaria. IMV the issue rests on whether or not Azaria truly believed that al-Sharif posed an imminent threat because he had a bomb, and whether or not a court trial can truly judge what was in his mind.

    The plague of attacks using knives and vehicles are certainly reminiscent of the thuggish attacks by Hitler youth in the 1930s and do indeed represent the “seeds of fascism”.

    A small minority believe al-Sharif’s attempt at murder deserves the death penalty even if he wasn’t thought to be concealing a bomb. Had he been successful they would have a stronger case. Had al-Sharif been killed while attempting a murder or threatening another they would have had a stronger case. Had this been a battlefield in a war they would have had a stronger case. This is asymmetric warfare. The case does not hold. There is no comparison between this and those who support these attacks as “legitimate resistance”. The latter are not just seeds of fascism, they are weeds in full bloom.

    Those who support Azaria’s killing of al-Sharif tend to support his declared reasoning. If he erred it was in favour of public safety. The following case, which did not get widely circulated and should be, would support his decision.

    One final note: Azaria does not appear to be be Ashkenazi, though I have no idea what his background actually is other than that he is Israel and Jewish. This shouldn’t be an issue but it is an example of how this case doesn’t fit anti-Zionist stereotypes of Jews as “white Europeans”.

    • The name itself tells you that he is not Ashkenazi.
      The label of ‘white Europeans’ is not ‘anti-Zionist’: it’s antisemitic.
      Killing a terrorist merits a medal.

  4. General Ya’ir Golan didn’t have any such right. He serves as an officer and has no right to attack the government or their policies in public.

    I am sick and tired of the leftist that control the generals in our military.

    We are far from anything Germany did, the leftists are the ones that want to impose their viewpoints upon the vast majority of Israelis.

    I notice that everybody is concerned with the ‘rights of the Palestinians’, but we have few organizations that stand up for our rights

      • So how did such a “dreg” manage to become Deputy Chief-of-Staff ? And he didn’t attack the government or its policies – he attacked certain extremists groups in Israeli society and their supporters.

        • Are you claiming that all generals are intelligent and well-informed and socio-historically knowledgeable?
          Yes, you truly are a moron, as suggested above.

          • So now you’re insulting the IDF…

            I infer that you believe that a person qualified to head the largest organization in Israel is incapable of observing society and expressing a simple opinion. What are your qualifications?

            • Maybe there is something to do with the principle that active serving officers mustn’t express publicly any political opinion. Have you ever heard about the role of an army in a democracy? You didn’t? Then you should study the subject a bit more….

              • Golan did not express a “political opinion”. He expressed a personal opinion about social trends in Israeli society, something that generals have always done. The only difference is that this time a lot of people felt uncomfortable with what he said, and I don’t understand why, because a large majority of the public do not support “Tag Mekhir”, “Lehava”, etc – the fringes that he was obviously referring to. Even Adam Levick makes that point on his article about Lehava and the ADL. From a political viewpoint I would have expected the moderate right to support Golan because they are the ones that will lose votes to the extremists. So what exactly is the argument here about?

                • Expressing publicly his opinion about Israeli society is far beyond the limit allowed to a serving army officer. There was similar incidents in the past: for example Yaacov Amidror declared publicly that atheist Israelis are not Jews but Hebrew speaking gentiles. He was forced to apologize and has been disciplined – rightly so. Somehow the left then didn’t started to protect the right of active officers to express their opinion on Israeli society.

            • Cretin. I am not ‘insulting the IDF’. I am criticising one of its officers.
              I didn’t say that he is ‘incapable’ – I said that he DIDN’T (properly observe society).
              He holds a position that properly should prevent him from expressing such sick nonsense, let alone at that occasion.
              I suspect that I know a lot more about Israel and the IDF than you will ever do. Typing in your mum’s basement after drooling over sick publications such as e.g. the Independent doesn’t qualify you to comment on either.

  5. An article from 2014 by Owen Jones, “Socialism’s critics look at Venezuela and say, ‘We told you so’. But they are wrong”, has disappeared from The Independent website

    Current State of Page – http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/owen-jones-socialisms-critics-look-at-venezuela-and-say-we-told-you-so-but-they-are-wrong-9155295.html

    Screenshot of Archived Version of Article – https://i.imgur.com/4cCvQCu.png

    Mirror of Article posted on the website “venezuelanalysis.com” – http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10430

  6. I think the headline should read, “Irish Times attempts to legitimize Israel-Nazi analogy”.
    I do however see a european left analogue to the Nazis, for example, a constant stream of slanders against the only Jewish State, which happens to be the only M.E. country based on democratic norms, coming from publications such as the Irish Times.

  7. Golan’s statement was : “If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the recognition of the nauseating processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016,”

    What specifically is wrong with that statement (other than that it is the uncomfortable truth for some). Adam, why don’t you condemn all of the examples of extremism and discrimination in Israeli society when you write an article like this ? You always demand that of those in the British media that you criticize.

    • Socialists like you must whine that the Americans, Brits and Soviets were “nazis” for bombing the shit out of National Socialist Germany – well they weren’t.

      And Israelis bombing the shit out of Hamass, Hezbullah, PLO etc. are not ‘nazis” either.

      Continue to enjoy your Nakba. It will be Eternal.