Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Double Standard of Holocaust Comparisons (updated)

There has been a tremendous uproar, both in Israel and abroad over the attempted comparison by some, of Ariel Sharon's "Disengagement" plan that consisted of the destruction of Jewish communities and the expulsion of their Jewish residents. (Orthomom has covered this issue extensively, as can be seen from this post).

That being said, I take offense with the hypocrisy of many in Israel who have offered strong condemnation for those who have made allusions of comparison between the "Disengagement" and the Holocaust, while they themselves have cheapened the memory of the Holocaust through comparisons of their own when it has suited their needs

I will use MK Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, head of Israel's anti-religious Shinui party, and Israel's Holocaust survivor poster boy, to show the extent of the double standard involved as to whom and when the memory of the Holocaust may be invoked.

Today's Ha'aretz reports the following:
A organization opposed to the disengagement has announced plans to build a memorial center called "Yad Vashem for Gush Katif and the Northern Samaria…"

Shinui party chairman Yosef Lapid, a survivor of the World War II Nazi Holocaust, reacted with anger to the idea of the center, whose name recalls the national memorial to Hitler Germany's wartime destruction of the Jews.

"They are saying that the IDF is the SS, and [are equating] people that were moved from their homes to hotels to people in gas chambers," Lapid said.

"It is very sad that people exploit the name of the Holocaust for political ends."

Let's compare this with the following comments by Lapid from just over a year ago:
In stark and emotional language, Deputy Prime Minister Yosef Lapid… told Israeli radio that the country risked further international condemnation if the army continued its campaign of pursuing Palestinian gunmen, demolishing homes and expelling civilians from the heart of the populous Rafah refugee camp.

"On TV I saw an old woman rummaging through the ruins of her house looking for her medication, and it reminded me of my grandmother who was thrown out of her house during the Shoah," (or Holocaust).

"We look like monsters in the eyes of the world," he added. "This makes me sick."

As I see it, either it's ok to make comparisons to the Holocaust, or it's not, but one can't have it both ways.

(Kudos to Orthomom, who in spite of being among those who are passionate in their opposition to Holocaust comparissons, was able to recognize the double standard that exists on this issue, and posted her feelings about it here).

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