"We came out naked on the other side of the shower room, and stood there wet, naked from mid-afternoon till' about midnight. I remember my sister and I hugging each other for a little body warmth, we were freezing and at midnight they took us to this barrack and where they shaved our heads, our bodies, they sprayed us with DDT- pesticide. And then we walked through a door where two prisoners greeted us, one gave us a recycled dress, which we put on our naked bodies, and another prisoner had a bucket of yellow paint, and a brush about 4-inches wide and painted a yellow streak from the top of our shaved head down to our back. This was the identification of the Jewish prisoner" (Firestone, 1994).
This is a testimony by Renee Firestone, a Czechoslovakian Jew who now lives in the United States. You may not know her, but she is a Holocaust survivor. Losing her sister, along with many other Jews that have also lost countless loved ones, her people have been raped. They have lost their freedom, justice and liberty. They have been stripped from their pride and have suffered the blood-filled masquerade referred to as the Holocaust. The Nazis did this to her and the other Jews that have lost their lives.
Cold, ruthless, brutal- the Nazis have gassed millions, pulled gold teeth from naked corpses and burnt down synagogues with Jews still inside. So it is unbelievable that anyone in the modern world could ever be compared to these killers. However, Pat Oliphant claims that the Israelis are the modern-day Nazis. It is shocking and unbelievably deplorable that someone would ever compare the Israelis, the Jews; the victims of this genocide to perpetrate policies that are reflective of Nazi Germany. They do not. It was essential to look at the laws of Nazi Germany and apartheid that was committed and to compare this with Israel to truly see if they are parallel. They are not. Furthermore, the Israeli social policies regarding the Palestinian living conditions, specifically ghettoisation have been compared to the Warsaw ghetto during World War two. The assumption that they are similar is a lie. They are not. Finally, the Nazi's doctrine of a "purified" Aryan race and the Jewish "biblical" claim to the land as "Gods chosen people" of Israel was compared and contrasted to look at the implications on the victims of each belief to prove to you today that Pat Oliphant's claim the Israelis are the modern-day Nazis is completely and utterly unjustified. They are not.
The Nuremberg laws of 1935 and anti-Semitic legislations that were passed during this time in Germany were appalling. The Middle Tennessee State University published the original copy of the Nuremberg Laws on their website. In article 4, the document explicitly states, "A Jew cannot be a citizen of the Reich. He cannot exercise the right to vote; he cannot hold public office" (Nuremberg Laws, 1935). This unambiguously shows the control and restriction that the Jews had from freedom. Now when compared to Israel; Ben White, though he is not an internationally renowned writer, he is a freelance journalist who is an expert on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict which makes him a credible source. In his article, 'Israel's "law of citizenship" will have dire consequences' written in 2010 he has stated Israel's "Law of citizenship", supporting a proposal that would require non-Jews seeking to become citizens to swear allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state" (White, 2010). Now does this sound like Nazi Germany's law on citizenship? Does it explicitly claim that a Palestinian cannot become a citizen, that he cannot vote or hold public office? No, and this can further be proved by appendix 1, which shows all the currently serving Arabs in the Israeli parliament. So how in the world is this similar to Nazi Germany? Furthermore, according to the Holocaust memorial museum, which provided the article of 'Examples of Anti-Semitic Legislation, 1933-1939' stated, on May 21st, 1935 "Army law expels Jewish officers from the army" (Holocaust memorial museum, 1935). Since those that serve the army are implied as 'loyal citizens' who serve their country, the expulsion of the Jews from the army suggests that the Nazi Party saw the Jews as untrustworthy. Now looking at Israel, Jamal Zahalka is an Israeli Arab who serves as a member of the Knesset representing the democratic Balad party draws on primary and secondary evidence in his article, and is found to be bias towards Palestinians, attempts to argue that in the"National Insurance Law, Israel voted for a 25 percent cut in child allowance for families without a member serving in the army. This comes after a February vote to decrease the allowance by 12 percent. Ninety percent of Arabs do not serve in the Israeli army" (Zahalka, 2002). This insinuates that Israel is atrocious for giving a 25 percent cut in child allowance for families without any members serving in the army because ninety percent of Arabs do not serve in the military. However, there is no evidence appointing to the fact that Arabs cannot serve in the military, meaning that they too are eligible to avoid this cut if they were to serve their country. Moreover, though it is controversial whether the Jewish people can be referred to as a race, apartheid has undoubtedly occurred in Nazi Germany. Once again, Jamal Zahalka who is trying to argue that apartheid is evident in Israel by the family reunification law which prevents an "Israeli citizen who marries a Palestinian from the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas or someone of Palestinian origin will not be allowed to petition Israel for Israeli citizenship on behalf of his/her spouse" (Zahalka, 2002) but, according to Human Rights watch article written in 2012 "From 2001 to 2010, the ruling said, 54 Palestinians who had received residency status in Israel or whose parents received such status were 'involved in terrorist activities'" (Human Rights watch, 2012). This demonstrates that the reason for this law is not out of malice for the Palestinians, it is not to make them suffer but rather a response to the actions of Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas that promote these horrid actions. Additionally, Nelson Mandela the former South African president who is convinced that apartheid is occurring in Israel states, "Israeli Jews are able to accrue special rights which non-Jews cannot do. Palestinian Arabs have no place in a 'Jewish' state" (Mandela, 2001). But according to Jimmy Carter, an ex-president of the United States, he "never…would imply that Israel is guilty of any form of apartheid in their own country, because Arabs who live inside Israel have the same voting rights and the same citizenship rights as do the Jews who live there" (Carter, 2006) proving once again that it is blatantly clear that Pat Oliphant's claim that the Israeli's are the modern-day Nazis is immeasurably unjustified. They are not.
Furthermore, the living conditions of the Jews during World War two were atrocious to say the least. In 1935, Reinhard Heydrich- the leader of the SS and Gestapo wrote in the 'Instruction's for measures against Jews' "Only such measures are to be taken as do not endanger German lives or property (i.e., synagogues are to be burnt down only where there is no danger of fire in neighbouring buildings)" (Heydrich, 1938). This type of atrocity is further shown in the Yad Vashem archives in 1945, "the local synagogue and a nearby block of 15 houses where Jews dwelled were set on fire and more than 100 Jews perished in the flames. Those trying to escape from the burning houses were shot on the spot" (Yad Vashem, 1945). This is truly disgusting and heart-breaking at the same time. To think, all of a sudden your house is on fire; as you see your neighbours escaping the flames you soon find their dead bodies infested with bullets from Nazi soldiers. The reality is horrendous. Though during these times, death for Jews was inevitable. And this became more so, when ghettoisation began to shadow Europe. The University of South Florida published the article, 'The ghettos' which proclaimed, "the Nazis' ghettos differed, however, in that they were a preliminary step in the annihilation of the Jews, rather than a method to just isolate them from the rest of society" (University of South Florida, 2005) which implies that the Ghettos were a stepping stone to the full annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe, or in other words a way to keep the Jews contained, so that when the concentration camps or extermination camps were ready, they would be sent there. Furthermore, the article stated, "Larger cities had closed ghettos, with brick or stone walls, wooden fences, and barbed wire defining the boundaries. Guards were placed strategically at gateways and other boundary openings. Jews were not allowed to leave the so-called 'Jewish residential districts', "under penalty of death". Grace Halsell is a journalist who covered both Korea and Vietnam, was a White House speech-writer under Lyndon Johnson and was named the Green Honors Chair Professor of Journalism. She visited a Palestinian ghetto and has claimed in her article 'Life in a Palestinian refugee camp', "We walked along streets crowded with Arab Palestinians, looking into shop windows filled with TV's and even commodes, and I realize anew that the world is divided between those who can buy and those who cannot" (Halsell, date unknown). While this is extremely poignant it shows that Palestinians can leave their camps unlike the Jews in the Warsaw ghettoes. Therefore, this highlights that the abhorrent conditions in which the Jews were being kept can in no way shape or form ever be compared to the Palestinians living in Gaza. Israeli guards have not barricaded any Palestinian houses and have not put a death penalty on anyone who tries to leave. Halsell continues to describe the ghettos and says, "Nahla's family does not own a television set, but hundreds of camp refugees do" (Halsell, date unknown). Her comment shows that though Nahla's family does not own televisions, other family's do which highlights the fact that Jews in the Warsaw ghetto would never have had permission to have any sort of entertainment compared to the Palestinians today. Nathalie Rothschild, a Swedish Jew and international correspondent for Spiked argues "Israel is not dotted with labor camps and gas chambers; there is no plan to exterminate the Palestinians….It has been reported that Israel is offering some injured Gazans hospital treatment (for the bombing of houses as a result of Hamas provocations), which is certainly not something the Nazis ever did for Jews". Though the bombings of the Palestinian houses can never be justified as of Hamas activity, it clearly shows that the Israeli's cannot be compared to the Nazi's. Yes, ghettoisation is occurring to some Palestinians but it can by no means ever be compared to Nazi Germany's treatment, and ghettoisation of Jews. Yes, the situation in Israel is not entirely black and white. There are a lot of grey areas, but that does not excuse Pat Oliphant's ridiculous claim that the Israelis are the modern-day Nazis. They are not.
"A National Socialist will never tolerate a foreigner—and that means the Jew—having a position in our public life .... A National Socialist will never tolerate a non-German being the educator of a German, a Jew being the teacher of our people" (Hitler, 1929).
This is an extract from Adolf Hitler's speech in Munich of November 29, 1929. From this, we can automatically see the anti-Semitic propaganda that Hitler was unleashing onto Germany. His passionate and firm beliefs have surrounded the Jews into a tight corner which have resulted in devastating consequences. This is evidently seen in the SS' booklet, 'SS theory and mate selection guidelines'. Here it is stated that it is "necessary for the racial consciousness of humans of the same race to be raised and the dangers correctly recognized which lead to a mixing, alteration, degeneration and hence annihilation of the races affected" (SS, date unknown). This is obviously referring to the Aryan race, and Hitler's ideology that it should be kept pure, untainted by the Jewish "disease". The mention of the "annihilation of the races" demonstrates that the Nazis were afraid. They were afraid of their "purified" race, their "culturally superior" Aryan race becoming infected by Judaism. And as a result, euthanasia was implemented; the T4 program is a perfect example of this. This was the embryo stage of what was to become the gas chambers in the extermination camps. The Nazis were so afraid that their race would become tainted, that they in return wanted to obliterate the Jewish race. Hitler himself, commented in his book 'Mein Kampf'- 'My struggle', that "if the Aryan, who is the creator and custodian of civilization, should disappear, all culture that is on an adequate level with the spiritual needs of the superior nations to-day would also disappear" (Hitler, 1926). His comments further alleviate the Nazi's position that the Aryan race should be upheld, and left untouched by other races which offcourse would result in the catastrophic event with the name of the Holocaust.
So the question is, are the Jewish people today reminiscent of the Aryans? Do they view themselves as culturally superior, as a race that determines to wipe out any threat, in this case being the Palestinians, a threat to the Jewish homeland? Well, according to Pat Oliphant they are and this assumption would be derived from Deuteronomy, chapter 14 "For you are a holy people to Hashem your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy, chapter 14). Now doesn't this state, "to be His treasured people from all the nations"? Isn't this implying that the Jewish people, Gods chosen people, are superior to all other nations? I beg to differ. This can easily be interpreted this way, similarly to how extremists interpret certain texts from the Koran. What about Surah 9:5 "fight and slay the pagans (or infidels or unbelievers) wherever you find them?" (9:5). I mean, does this not state that Muslims should kill everyone who does not believe in Islam? It certainly does not. But suicide bombers and extremists groups interpret this literally, and thus the killing begins. It would be unjust to paint every Muslim the same colour. But isn't this exactly what Pat Oliphant is doing with Israel, with the Jews? Painting everyone the same colour, by saying that all Jews are Zionists, and that all Zionists want to hurt and expel Palestinians. In the video, 'Jewish man says Zionism is the cause of the problems' featured in Jerusalem, a Jewish man says "I know the Arabs, the Arabs are very good. No problem until the Zionist movement start…the idea of Zionism you take away the land from the Palestinians, from the Arabs…not the Arabs the problem, not Jews the problem…only Zionism" (Jewish man, date unknown). His comment implies that Zionism is the underlying problem between the Israelis and the Palestinians but it also shows that not all Jews are Zionists. Avi Shlaim, a British Academy Research Professor and international author wrote the article, 'Why Zionism today is the real enemy of the Jews" claims "Zionism does not equal racism, but many of these hard-line settlers and their leaders are blatant racists" (Shalim, 2005). This shows that as not all Jews are Zionists, and not all Zionists are extreme Zionists which once again proves that Pat Oliphant's cartoon is completely unjustifiable. It is completely subjective to paint any country or religion all the same colour.
Therefore, it is evident that though there are atrocities occurring between both the Palestinians and Israelis, it is truly immeasurable to compare this to the Jews living in Nazi Germany. I can only hope that Renee Firestone and countless others have not gone through all that pain just so that it can be repeated in history again by the Jews themselves. All in all, it is evident that through this analysis, Pat Oliphant's claim that the Israelis are the modern-day Nazis is unjustified. They are not.