Monday, September 19, 2005


Cathy Young on the unfortunate attempt by British Muslims to downgrade "Holocaust Memorial Day" into "Genocide Memorial Day," and to include the Palestinians as victims of genocide.

Come on. There is no doubt that a grave crime was committed against the Palestinians in 1948, one for which the state of Israel has never properly been held to account. It is, however, plain stupidity to think that there's some measure of justice to be gained for the Palestinians by de-emphasizing the singular crime of the Holocaust. Neither is it any good to equate the experiences of the Palestinians in al Nakhba to European Jews in the Shoah, as it hardly needs to be pointed out that, as tragic as was the former, the latter was, by any possible measure, larger and more sinister in scope.

This isn't to say that there aren't disturbing parallels between the two events, there are, or that there hasn't been an ongoing effort by Israel to violate Palestinian rights, there has (through a process which Israeli scholar Baruch Kimmerling has termed politicide), but any argument which starts off by casting the Israelis in the role of Nazis seems to me to be a loser. Yes, the irony is hard to resist. Please try.

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