Only Israel Labeled "Nazi"

(Los Angeles Times) Walter Reich - Genocidal mass murder continues to foul the world. Yet the foulest epithet in any language - "Nazi" - is hurled not against any of the perpetrators of those crimes but, uniquely and systematically, against Israel. During the last three years in the streets of Israel, numerous city buses, cafes, and restaurants have been turned into bomb chambers by Palestinian organizations whose stated goal is to eradicate Israel and make the area free of Jews. At the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, as many innocents were murdered as during a day's gassing in Auschwitz. Yet the epithet "Nazi" hasn't been commonly used against the organizers of these or other massacres around the world. For six decades after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism was seen as having led to the worst genocide in human history. It wasn't possible to be an anti-Semite in polite company. But if the public could be convinced that Israel is no better than Nazi Germany, then the anti-Semites could again be back in business. When we hear the epithet "Nazi" aimed at Israelis, we should understand its purpose. And we should understand that - whether the term is part of a verbal war or of an effort to make anti-Semitism once again respectable - it will continue to be aimed at Israel rather than at countries and groups that engage in genocide and mass murder. The writer, a psychiatrist and professor of international affairs, ethics and human behavior at George Washington University, was director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum from 1995 to 1998.

2004-06-02 00:00:00

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