Monday, January 19, 2009

Jewish Leaders Say Nazi Imagery at Protests Incites Anti-Semitism

still images here

JERUSALEM (AP) — The use of Nazi imagery at recent anti-Israel demonstrations across Europe has fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and incited violence against Jews, the head of Israel's Holocaust memorial said Monday.

Protests against Israel's Gaza offensive have included signs and slogans comparing Israeli soldiers to German troops, the Gaza Strip to the Auschwitz death camp and the Jewish Star of David to the Nazi swastika.

The protests have come amid a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic acts, including attacks on synagogues, beatings of pro-Israel demonstrators and proposed boycotts of Jewish businesses, according to the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League.

Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem museum and memorial, said the comparisons were "manipulative distortions of history" and called for the Holocaust to be left out of contemporary political discourse.

"It is legitimate to constructively criticize the policies of any nation, including Israel. However, the baseless use of Holocaust imagery and terminology as a weapon against Israel has incited a tangible surge of anti-Semitism," he said. "That is the danger inherent when people cynically use the Holocaust to distort a present political conflict."

More than 1,200 Palestinians were killed during Israel's three-week operation, launched on Dec. 27 to halt near-daily rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel. More than half the dead were civilians, according to the United Nations. Thirteen Israelis also died in the fighting.

Images of the devastation in Gaza — including the bloodied bodies of children and anguished victims in hospitals — stoked protests around the world.

Anti-Semitic incidents during the war spiked markedly in Europe, the Anti-Defamation League said.

"We have always seen a link between violence in the Middle East to anti-Semitism but we have never seen anything like what we are seeing now," said Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the national director of the ADL. "Not on this scale, not in this intensity."

He said similar protests have also taken place in the United States. In San Francisco, protesters burned Israeli flags and carried banners reading "Jews are terrorists," ''ZionismNazism," and "GazaHolocaust." Some read "Zionazis."
"If you think Israel is too aggressive, say it! But don't use the words 'Ghetto' and 'Nazi,'" Shalev said.

Speaking at the cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new wing at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies, he said the school's students study the painful lessons of that era. He said that includes speaking out against injustice anywhere.

"But they also learn that absurd and vicious comparisons of current events in the Middle East to the Holocaust do nothing to further understanding of the current situation," he said. "Instead they cloud our judgment and our perceptions."

Read the entire source article here.

P.S. Oh, and anti-war protestors, continue to leave Israel/Zionism out of your protests. We appreciate your support on this matter.

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