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August 25, 2015 1:33 pm

Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

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A flier for the Sept. 7 event for a new book drawing parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba. Photo: Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

A flier for the Sept. 7 event for a new book drawing parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba. Photo: Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7.

The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership.

The book is a collaboration between the institute and the Hakibbutz Hameuchad-Sifriat Poalim Publishing Group.

In the letter, Im Tirtzu told the institute’s director, Professor Gabriel Motzkin, that “we are highly disturbed by this preposterous comparison between the Holocaust of the European Jewry—when millions of Jews were burnt to death, shot and buried alive despite doing nothing wrong—and the colossal defeat of Israel’s enemies during the War of Independence, which is referred to in Arabic as the Nakba.” The letter called the event “an affront to Holocaust survivors who live in Israel and abroad by disrespecting their plight, by insulting our collective intelligence, and by disgracing human ethics.”

Motzkin told Israel Hayom, “We are not equating the Holocaust to the Nakba; we are just drawing parallels between the way both are memorialized—it is not the same thing.”

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  • harri

    not a moral equivalent. who is the author’s pay master? and why are displaced Jordanians called “palestinians?”

  • There’s no comparison. Nor is the State of Isreal unjust in its dominion.

    Under Israel and in no other way can the region find balance. Many steps are needed.

    But Israel is the answer to the whole mess, Iran and Saudi Arabia by comparison are simply sick.

    Playing politics with religion is nuts. None really matter.

    The players need to grow up and stop the games, of which there are many on all sides.

    Obama can no longer lead. Bibi through difficult must.

    Let’s hope our next president has a good head and is comfortable in his skin.

    Let’s play this for the children and dump the rest. The children get it.

  • I haven’t read the book and probably won’t, but we Jews are very good at self-flagellation.

  • Putting together the Nakba and the holocaust on the same level as a matter of comparison is a case of subliminal Taqiyya and history theft.
    The Palestinian entity had no history or existence until the san remo conference and even then had no existence. There were 250000 refugees in the 1948 war (450000 enrolled at UN for the rent) but they were not gassed, they were not cremated, they were not starved or transported by trains, they were not wiped off from an entire continent, and they did not suffer from a 2000 years old history of Western anti-Semitism with pogroms, Real and official Naqbas (for example, expulsion of Jews from Spain) inquisition, they were not accused of butchering little Christian boys and using their blood for Matza bread, and other horrors.
    The attempt to establish an identity by sneaking in a neighbourly fashion under the name Holocaust (which they do not use, because it is too powerful, so they use the word Shoah) is just as monstrous as the destruction of the ancient cities in Syria.
    The people who support the Van Leer are enemies of truth. Where there is no truth there is no proper science, no proper advancement.
    The worse thing is that I am certain this book will be bought and placed in many libraries.

    • ESLombard

      Polly van Leer would be horrified. When it was proposed that there was a comparison between the Palestinian nakba and the expulsion of an even greater number of N. African Jewry, the Palestinians shrieked that there was no possible comparison considering how much suffering they’ve endured. I’ve never seen word that they are aware that have been victims of the Arab League or sustained in their humiliation by the West’s thoughtless UNRWA and NGOs.
      Most Jews in Israel today are of N. African descent where for thousands of years they suffered from blows and humiliations. It’s a pity that they didn’t have cameras then.

  • testing

  • Beverley Price

    The slippage is always a risk. Holocaust Nakba – just a matter of time and reaching numbers – especially less circumspect audiences -for the two terms to be aligned and to lose the ” metaphor’

  • Dani Renan

    This is a total misread of the Nakba. The catastrophe wasn’t the displacement of Arabs, it was the fact that they lost. And thus the inability to carry out a second Holocaust as an anti-climax. It would be smaller (about 10% of the European) but it would have then probably led to a renewed “Farhud” in most of the Arab countries. And since they Jews would have no place to go except the grave, that would have been another 1.5 million.

    Having the Jews stopping them from carrying it out was the catastrophe.

    Note: Did all the Arabs think that? Of course not, just like today. But for the small percent that achieved political power(either religious or secular)all over the Arab world, they all seem to agree or compete who can be the most extreme.

    • consultingdoc

      Wonderful comment. Right on point. Kol Hakavod to you.

  • Jews Suffered Auschwitz, Then they as my Jewish Grandfather said should be the Last ones to Commit Atrocities Like Gaza and the other Massacres of the Palestinians.
    Accept the Arab Peace Plan of 2003 , with limited changes !

    • Dante

      Then they as my Jewish Grandfather said should be the Last ones to Commit Atrocities Like Gaza and the other Massacres of the Palestinians.

      And rather accept massacres of Jews like during the 1929 Arab riot, multiplied by some power of ten? This would certainly be the wrong lesson.
      Today humans can’t descend from utterly peaceful people who even responded to any violence against themselves by turning the other cheek because this is too often simply suicide. Not even Christians ever did so and are surely not competent to recommend this to Jews.

    • Dante

      The ‘atrocities’ and ‘massacers of the Palestinians’ are not despotic acts by Israel but simpliy part of a war Israel is forced to wage if willing to survive, propagandistically exaggerated by Arabs and so-called Pro-Palestinians who wouldn’t care about their fosterlings if not Jews but Arabs suppressed them.

  • hillel

    It is an affront to human dignity to even attempt to compare the Jewish holocaust to the defeat that the Arab hoards suffered at the hands of “David” once again. It plays in the hands of all the antisemetic tropes that have plagued us for millennia. It wouldn’t surprise me if Motzkin is a Jew. It is that spoonful of borscht again where one Jew will drown another in for a buck or a pat on the back from a gentile (in particular antisemetic one).

  • anon

    I’m waiting for the sequel which then must say that the Syrian troubles which have killed and displaced many magnitudes times the number of Arabs killed and displaced by Israel since 1948 is Holocaust times 10.

    • ESLombard

      The world fails to understand that having expelled their Jews,the Arabs must have an object for their cruelties and feelings of inferiority. Without their favorite Jewish whipping boys, they must consume their own minorities by gassing, torture and killings. By their logic, they should be rushing to the UN to complain that Israel is guilty of kidnapping their favorite whipping boys. They really cherished their Jews and want them returned else they will continue to destroy each other.

  • erik

    Grace,for your information Motzkins is a semite.

  • Stanley Schuckman

    At a time when anti-semitism is on the rise throughout the world, I say, to minimize the evil and the resulting tragedy that befell the Jewish people in any way, even by the mere suggestion, fuels the fire of anti-semitism. For it looks like the history of the Jewish people is fiction, a lie.

    For a Jew to initiate or participate in such distortion cannot be expressed in words, but I must try. Shame on you Gabriel Motzkin.

  • grace

    Is Motzkin a Jew or a gentile arab? Thats just my question first of all.