This is in the ‘Hitler wore pants, Israeli’s wear pants, Jews must therefore be Hitler’ category of absurd leftist logical fallacies.
Bernie Farber and Len Rudner: Selling anti-Semitism in the book stores
National Post October 22, 2010 – 7:09 pm
By Bernie M. Farber and Len Rudner
Adbusters Media Foundation, which publishes the slick, anti-consumerist Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, describes itself as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.” Judging from the latest edition of the magazine, the Adbusters “activist movement” has become infected with plain, old-fashioned bigotry.
In the current edition, Adbusters offers its readers a one page “photo essay” — Truthbombs on Israeli TV — that makes comparisons between the situation that Palestinians are experiencing in Gaza and what the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto experienced under the Nazis. There are pictures of people fighting fires in Gaza … and people fighting fires in the Warsaw Ghetto. There are pictures of people injured in the Warsaw Ghetto … and of people injured in Gaza. There are pictures of people smuggling food into the Warsaw Ghetto … and of people smuggling goods into Gaza. It’s truly a tour de force of investigative journalism.
The argument is obscene, and continues the disgusting tradition of some supporters of the Palestinian cause to turn Jews into Nazis and Palestinians into Jews. In so doing, these propagandists not only demonize Israelis (i.e., Jews), but minimize the murderous extent and intent of Nazism’s genocidal project. In other words, such vile analogies become a form of Holocaust minimilization.
Adbusters postures as chic and eco-friendly. It describes itself as a magazine concerned with the “erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.” In the present case, they should have been more concerned with the erosion of their own moral and ethical standards.
When we contacted the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), from whom Adbusters got the Warsaw Ghetto images, they were shocked — and they gave us this statement: “Any comparison between the Warsaw Ghetto (or the Holocaust as a whole) and the situation in Gaza is wildly inaccurate, a gross misrepresentation of the facts and offensive to victims of the Holocaust.” Interestingly, the USHMM told us that they granted permission to Adbusters to use the pictures because they were told that the magazine was doing a story on “war crimes” that would address what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto. The USHMM has sent Adbusters a cease and desist letter demanding that the photos be immediately removed from their website.
Let’s take a moment for the obligatory statement that criticism of Israeli policies is acceptable, and that one can be critical of such policies without being anti-Semitic. But let’s also take a minute to stress that the differential treatment of Israel by Adbusters and their fellow travelers crosses the line into anti-Semitism. Natan Sharansky’s observation that criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism when it demonizes, delegitimitizes and employs a double-standard is relevant here. Let’s take a further moment to consider that such Nazi analogies are specifically identified as anti-Semitic by both the European Union and the U.S. State Department. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) also employs that definition.
The reason for this is simple: Germany under Nazism was beyond redemption. It could not be repaired. It had to be destroyed and then rebuilt. This destruction was a task accomplished by the free democracies of the world and their allies. This is what the analogy of Israelis to Nazis implies: that Israel must be dismantled. The same may be said about comparisons to apartheid.
Imagine for a moment that a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto were to come upon this vile comparison. How is it possible, they would ask themselves, that anyone could compare the murder of hundreds of thousands in the Warsaw Ghetto to Gaza? How, less than 70 years after the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto could anyone offer such an analogy? How indeed?
It’s for these reasons that Canadian Jewish Congress, along with HonestReporting Canada, decided to alert our community to the content of the Adbusters issue. And we’ve asked our community members to take a moment to see if their local bookstore or newsstand sells the magazine, to show the clerk or the owner the offensive material and to tell them that “this is anti-Semitic and shameful.”
This latest Adbusters anti-Semitic pictorial isn’t like what the real Nazis published in Der Sturmer — that would be a wrong analogy after all — but it doesn’t have to be to qualify as garbage. Should it be forced off the shelves? We aren’t asking for that, but we do think that store owners need to find out — from their customers — what strange goods they are selling.
Bernie M. Farber is CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress. Len Rudner is CJC Ontario Regional Director.