Do Not Compare Israel's Security Fence to Nazi Ghettoes

[Emory Wheel] Deborah Lipstadt - In the Emory Wheel of Nov. 14 there was a disturbing cartoon directly comparing the Nazi ghettoes with the separation fence the Israelis have erected on the West Bank. This equation is historically spurious and highly prejudicial. The Germans put Jews from throughout Europe in ghettoes to either die a slow death of starvation, deprivation and disease or a faster death with a bullet or poison gas. Irrespective of what one thinks of the fence/wall (most of it is a fence), it was not built for this purpose. It was built as a defensive mechanism. Even if one opposes it, one cannot ignore the fact that it has tremendously reduced homicidal bombings (sometimes mistakenly called "suicide bombings") of Israeli targets. There was no fence/wall before there were these bombings of busses, schools and other civilian targets. It was built in response to them. The Palestinian Authority has received countless billions of dollars to help its people. During the corrupt regime of the late Yasser Arafat most of these funds disappeared. (Look under Swiss Banks to find some of them, or in Paris, where his widow lives a life of supreme splendor.) The funds obviously were not used to aid the Palestinian people, many of whom are suffering terribly. When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, it left behind fertile farms, hothouses filled with advanced hydroponic systems for growing vegetables, and other installations which could have been used to better the Palestinians' lot. Most were destroyed by the Palestinian people. Whatever one thinks of Israeli policy, to describe it as akin to the Nazi policy of murdering all of European Jewry is to engage in anti-Semitism and a form of Holocaust denial. The writer is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies in the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University.

2008-11-18 01:00:00

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