Friday, February 29, 2008


Israeli politician threatens Palestinian "holocaust"

by Larry Geller


From the Daily Telegraph story (picture caption: Relatives of a Palestinian boy killed in an Israeli rocket attack):

A senior Israeli politician provoked controversy today when he warned that Palestinians firing rockets from Gaza would be punished with a "bigger holocaust" from Israeli armed forces.    

The use of the Hebrew word for holocaust, "shoah", tends to be used exclusively in Israel to describe the Nazi persecution of Jews.

Palestinian activists routinely claim to be suffering a "shoah" at the hands of Israel, but the Jewish state normally denies any moral equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians today and European jewry under the Nazis.

Matan Vilnai, deputy defence minister, broke that taboo when he used the term "shoah" during interview on Army Radio.

"The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," he said.

Israeli Minister Threatens Gaza “Holocaust”

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, at least 18 Palestinians have been killed in continued Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Thursday’s Palestinian toll includes four young boys, killed by bombs as they were playing soccer. The youngest was eight years old. Another Palestinian child was killed along with two adult civilians. Palestinian officials say at least nine Palestinian militants also died. At least thirty-one Palestinians, including nine children, have died in the past two days of Israeli attacks. Israel says its responding to Palestinian rocket fire, with forty-five rockets launched from Gaza on Thursday. One Israeli was killed this week in the town of Sderot, the thirteenth Israeli killed by Palestinian rockets in the last seven years. A seventeen-year old girl was lightly injured Thursday when Palestinian rockets struck the Israeli town of Ashkelon.  [snipped from today's Democracy Now headlines]

This needs to stop. I don't think firing missles into civilian areas can ever be condoned. As the news item states, 13 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets in total over the last seven years. Israel killed at least 31 Palestinians in the last two days alone.

If one is wrong, the other is much more wrong. And to talk about escalating Israeli attacks into a "holocaust" is something I never thought I'd hear said. A "holocaust" is not something that a Jew does to other people.

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I am so saddened and disappointed to read this.

My entire paternal ancestry is composed of Jews from Eastern Europe. Although my upbringing was not "Jewish" in the sense that there was any religion or emphasis on cultural heritage and customs, I do feel a deep sense of connection, on a level I don't completely understand, to the history and condition of Jewish people.

I find the debate about the state of Israel and its war against Palestinians, particularly in the US, to be fertile ground for anti-Semitism (even among those who would consider themselves leftists), and at the same time I am deeply disturbed by reflexive charges of anti-Semitism leveled at those who are critical of Israel. This is a problem we are all familiar with, of course.

Thanks for discussing this report, Larry.


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