On the Daily Beast: “Tel Aviv is Not Vilna.”

By Emily L. Hauser
Friday, April 20, 2012 18:47 EDT
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It’s that time again: I have a column up at Open Zion on The Daily Beast! This week I rage at the Israeli government for its abuse of Holocaust imagery for geopolitical ends. Good times!

Following is the top of the piece – to read the rest, please click here, and, you know: Please do click! If you don’t help me get page views, the terrorists win! Or something.

On the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Prime Minister chose – as so many have done before him – to compare a current geopolitical circumstance to the dark days of Nazi Germany.

“People who make light of the Iranian threat have learned nothing from the Holocaust,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said, adding that during a recent trip around the country, “for a moment I replaced Tel Aviv with Vilna, Haifa with Białystock, Degania, Nahalal, Be’er Sheva with Plonsk, Riga, and Odessa.”

There’s nothing new here, of course. Nasser, Arafat, Ahmadinejad – they’re all Hitler. Palestinian nationalism is Nazism. The 1967 borders are Auschwitz Borders. On and on Israel’s leaders go, misusing and abusing the memories of the six million, even as they claim to be fighting in their memory.

The words “false equivalency” come up a lot in discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but arguably the worst case of it is perpetrated by successive Israeli governments when they compare the Jews in the Jewish State to the Jews in mid-century Europe.

Can there be any equivalency more false than that drawn between a starved, terrorized population without access to hope or help – and the Middle East’s most successful country, its borders guarded by the Middle East’s most powerful army, its people fed, clothed and housed in the Middle East’s most successful economy? In what way, exactly, is a nation bristling with armaments like people gunned down by the Einsatzgruppen? How, precisely, are Israel’s internationally recognized borders even remotely like the gates reading “Arbeit Macht Frei”?

These are ahistorical and frankly grotesque comparisons. The damage they cause cuts deep, and in many directions.

To read the rest (ahem), please click here.

Crossposted at Emily L. Hauser In My Head.


Emily L. Hauser
Emily L. Hauser has been a freelance writer for 20 years. She has contributed to publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News, covering topics ranging from Israel/Palestine and domestic politics, to women’s issues and the occasional burst of geekery. She is a regular columnist at The Daily Beast’s Open Zion, and blogs at Emily L. Hauser In My Head. Follow her on Twitter at @emilylhauser.
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