(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – A 13-city speaking tour that compares Israel’s relations with the Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews during the Holocaust has attracted at least one protest and objections by Jewish groups.
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The “Never Again For Anyone” tour is meant “to honor those who perished in the Holocaust by advocating for the human rights inherent to all people – and particularly for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation,” according to a video on the tour’s website.
The tour is being sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist-Network and the Middle East Children’s Alliance, and is concentrated on college campuses across the United States as well as in Toronto.
In the tour’s video, tour speaker and Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer quotes the Jewish sage Hillel as saying, “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.”
“That is the essence of Judaism, in complete contrast to this terrible Zionism,” Meyer says.
Another Holocaust survivor who speaks on the tour, Hedy Epstein, says on the video, “I had heard somewhere along the line that the Palestinians were supposed to be my enemies.
They are not my enemies.”
The video juxtaposes pictures of wagonloads of murdered Jews during the Holocaust with living Palestinian children amid rubble.
The Anti-Defamation League described the campaign, timed to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as “a blatant attempt to exploit the memory of the Holocaust as a tool to demonize Israel.”
“Despite promoting the tour as a call for an end to abuse of all
minority groups, speakers at every event thus far have solely focused on
demonizing Zionist ideology and comparing the Israeli government to
Nazi Germany,” ADL National Director and Holocaust survivor Abraham
Foxman said in a press release.
“They have misappropriated the message of ‘Never Again,’ a reference to a
genocide of an entire people, in a blatant attempt to exploit the
memory of the Holocaust as a tool to demonize Israel.”
At the tour’s first stops – Rutgers University in New Jersey, Barnard
College in New York and the University of Maryland – speakers described
Israel as an apartheid state, referred to IDF solders as Nazis and
compared Gaza under Israel’s blockade to a concentration camp or ghetto,
according to the ADL.
Rutgers Hillel, with the cooperation of local Jewish federations, led a protest against the event.
In a statement in advance of the event, Hillel President and CEO Wayne
L. Firestone said: “Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
strongly supports Rutgers Hillel’s ongoing efforts to pro-actively
engage, educate and advocate for Israel while it opposes the strident
and reprehensible anti- Israel activities taking place on its campus.
“The scheduled anti-Israel program that compares Israel to Nazi Germany
is repugnant, anti-Semitic and defiles the sacred memory of the millions
who perished during the Holocaust. We encourage Rutgers Hillel’s
courageous and exemplary work to express outrage over this anti-Israel
campaign. We welcome the participation of campus and community partners.
“Hillel expresses gratitude to the local federations that have provided
emergency aid to Rutgers and whose ongoing support has helped to make
Rutgers Hillel a thriving center of Jewish life.”