German, Polish ambassadors blast comparisons of Gaza campaign to Holocaust

Warsaw envoy calls such analogies "pure anti-Semitism."

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
January 19, 2009 21:31
2 minute read.
German, Polish ambassadors blast comparisons of Gaza campaign to Holocaust

venezuela graffiti 248 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The ambassadors of Germany and Poland on Monday blasted the recent comparisons to the Holocaust being made at rallies worldwide against the IDF's three-week anti-Hamas operation in Gaza. "We have to reject such absolutely inappropriate remarks firmly and strongly," German Ambassador to Israel Dr. Harald Kindermann told The Jerusalem Post during a a cornerstone-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem for a new wing of the Holocaust Memorial's International School for Holocaust Studies. "It cannot be that in Europe we have such ideas and thoughts, since they pose a threat to us, not only to the Jewish people," he said. The ambassador said that while one could oppose Israel's attack on Gaza and feel for the victims and the difficult humanitarian situation, such comparisons were egregiously false. "There is always the risk that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic movements' ideas and behavior are mixed in [with the opposition]," he said. Separately, Polish Ambassador Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska said that any comparisons between Israel's operation in Gaza and Nazi Germany's extermination of one-third of the Jewish people were "pure anti-Semitism." "Any comparison to what has happened to the Jewish people in the Shoah is pure anti-Semitism which cannot be justified, even if we don't like everything that happens in Gaza," Magdziak-Miszewska said. She noted that the Jewish state's right to self-defense was paramount to any future peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. The diplomats' condemnations come not only amid continuing comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany at anti-Israel rallies worldwide, but amid a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, including synagogue firebombings and vandalism. "Unfortunately we see a new wave of anti-Semitism brewing in western Europe, which, in contrast to classic anti-Semitism, is being carried out with elements of the European Left, which has a lot of power in the media," Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said. "We are talking about systematic anti-Semitic incitement under the guise of political criticism," he said. Demonstrations equating Israel to Nazi Germany and the destruction in Gaza to that of the Warsaw Ghetto have become commonplace in anti-Israel protests both in Europe and the United States. Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies, established in 1993, hosts hundreds of educators from around the world every year for dozens of seminars on Holocaust education, which German ambassador Kindermann called a "firewall against new anti-Semitic ideas." The school's multi-million dollar wing, which is expected to be ready in two years, is being built with the support of a Polish-born Canadian Jewish philanthropist, Joseph Gottdenker, who survived the Holocaust as a child. "Holocaust education is a firewall against new anti-Semitic ideas," Kindermann concluded.

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