The events that transpired on October 7 were a blight on humanity. There is no way to minimize the horror and barbarism that Hamas unleashed on innocent Israelis that day.
That’s why for much of the last three weeks, the country has been immersed in the retelling and reliving of those horrific hours – partially as a national catharsis and partially so there is tangible evidence out there to ensure that we, and the world, never forget it.
It echoes another dark period of Jewish history.
Worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust
Indeed, the murder of 1,400 people on October 7 was the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and the atrocities committed that day are reminiscent of some of those committed by the Nazis.
However, as gruesome as it was, and as evil as Hamas’s aims to kill Jews and destroy Israel are, it would be wrong to compare what happened that day to the Holocaust or Hamas to the Nazis.
Those comparisons have become commonplace on social media and government officials – from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on down – have referred to the Holocaust when discussing October 7 and to Nazis when referencing Hamas.
The latest demonstration of this took place at the United Nations on Monday, where, wearing a yellow Star of David with the words “Never Again,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan delivered a fiery speech to the United Nations Security Council against Hamas.
Erdan, whose efforts to combat the entrenched anti-Israel bias at the UN have been exemplary, made the connection between Hamas’s aims and the Nazis’ Final Solution for the Jews of Europe.
“Hamas is not seeking a solution to the conflict. They are not interested in dialogue. The only solution Hamas is interested in is the Final Solution – the annihilation of the Jewish people,” said Erdan.
The star that both he and his delegation wore on their chests was meant to visually link Hamas’s massacre on October 7 with the Holocaust.
Citing the absence of any UN condemnation of the Hamas attack, Erdan said he and the rest of Israel’s delegation would continue to sport the Star of David at all UN meetings until the 15-member UNSC issues such a condemnation.
Erdan’s visual embellishments to his impassioned plea were not without cause. He connected the similarities between the two stories of destruction – those of his family, who were among the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the Israeli communities that Hamas destroyed on October 7.
“Entire communities were exterminated – only this time, the murderers were Hamas Nazis. Entire Israeli families were turned into smoke and ash, no different than the fate that my grandfather’s family met in Auschwitz,” Erdan said.
The theme does not sit well
As heartfelt as Erdan’s speech was, the recurring theme likening Hamas to the Nazis does not sit well.
We agree with the position expressed by Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan head of the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, who said, “The yellow badge symbolizes the historical vulnerability of the Jewish people and their dependence on the mercy of others. Today, the scenario has changed. We have an independent nation and a formidable army. We determine our own fate. Instead of a yellow badge, we should be proudly displaying a blue-and-white flag.”
What occurred in the Holocaust was a genocide of monumental proportions, perpetrated by Nazi Germany against a defenseless people with very few means to fight back. Six million Jews were slaughtered.
What occurred on October 7 was a crime against humanity perpetrated by a diabolical terror organization against a sovereign people with the means to fight back.
As we mourn the loss of the young soldiers who have fallen this week carrying out their national mission, we must give thanks for our national sovereignty and for the capacity to defend ourselves. This is manifested by the IDF and other security services in their current efforts to deal Hamas a devastating blow in Gaza.
It doesn’t help to link Hamas with the Nazis or October 7 with the Holocaust. Doing so not only cheapens the memory of the six million who perished in the Shoah – it broadly paints the Jewish people today as being equally stateless and defenseless.
Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth.