The “Zionazi” trope and the accusation that Israel is committing genocide akin to the Holocaust are outright lies perpetrated by terrorists and their defenders, which should be rejected and confronted by any responsible media outlet. The falsehoods are plain from even a cursory comparison.
The contrasts between Israel’s actions in Gaza and the Holocaust are too many and too obvious to list exhaustively. Two core distinctions suffice – the scale of the casualties and the intention of the parties.
First, the Holocaust was horror at an incomprehensible scale. The Nazis killed 6,000,000 Jews alone and 11,000,000 people overall in the Holocaust. These Holocaust figures refer only to targeted non-combatants, and the aforementioned figures do not include the tens of millions of military and civilian war casualties from World War II. Depending when you consider the beginning of the Holocaust, roughly 4,000 Holocaust victims died per day.
In the almost 70 years since Arab irregulars invaded pre-state Israel, in 1947, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians in aggregate have suffered about 85,000 killed in conflicts with Israel, and Israel has suffered just under 30,000 killed. These figures include both civilian and military casualties, and include all forms of the Israeli/Arab conflict — the War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai war, the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the 1980s Lebanon war, two intifadas, the 1990s terror war, the Second Lebanon War and two large-scale Gaza battles since Israel withdrew in 2005, as well as terror attacks and counter-operations.
As of this writing, around 190 Palestinians have been killed in the current, eight-day Hamas-Israel war. That’s about twenty-seven people per day – including combatants – compared to 4,000 innocents killed per day in the Holocaust. Every civilian death is terrible, but the Nazi analogy is void and inapplicable.
Second, the distinguishing and lasting horror of the Holocaust was the conscious, concerted effort to rout out and annihilate a population totally unrelated to the war. Certainly many Holocaust victims were killed ad hoc at the front. However, millions of Jews and other “undesirables” were herded into ghettos where they were left to die en masse of disease and hunger. Those who survived the ghettos or were found elsewhere were shipped by railroad cattle cars to concentration camps where they were gassed to death, worked to death, or again died of hunger, disease and exposure. Whether murdered as targets of opportunity collateral to actual battle, or in bulk far in the rear, Holocaust victims were not unintended victims of otherwise legitimate military operations.
In short, the Nazis’ intentional, systematic extermination of undesirables had no military rationale, but the extermination itself was the goal.
The differences are absolute. Hamas and Israel are at war – Hamas has fired around 1,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli population centers in the last week and Israel has bombed military targets in Gaza. All of the casualties in Gaza have been either military personnel or unintended victims of attacks on military targets. Israel pursuing valid military aims and causing civilian casualties in the process bears no comparison to the Holocaust.
Further, there is zero evidence that Israel intends to harm civilians. Far from targeting civilians, Israel makes every possible effort to prevent civilian casualties. Israeli pilots are authorized to call of strikes in progress if civilians are present, and have done so. Even the U.N. has acknowledged that Israel warns civilians of forthcoming strikes on nearby military targets so that civilians can evacuate the danger zone. Col. Richard Kemp testified to the Israel’s historically unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian casualties in 2012.
In addition, Hamas itself contributes to Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas maximizes the overlap between military and civilian areas by placing military bases, munitions and rocket launchers in population centers. A recent Hamas video asked Gaza residents not to post photographs of Hamas fighters firing rockets “from the middle of town.” When Israel warns of the civilian population of imminent attacks on military targets, Hamas has civilians mass and form human shields at the targeted infrastructure. Using human shields in this manner is, of course, a war crime, but Hamas hopes to either ward of Israeli strikes or inflate civilian casualties for propaganda purposes.
For Hamas and its supporters and defenders, propaganda is the key. Comparing Israel to the Nazis, and the Israeli war effort to the Holocaust evokes a powerful sense not only of good versus evil, but of the evil being even greater, even viler and crueler, as the former victim becomes the perpetrator.
But it’s a lie. Without even delving into Hamas’s terrorist nature (it is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Canada, the European Union, Japan, Jordan and Egypt), the origins of the current conflagration or the history of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, it is obvious from objective facts that accusations of genocide are pure falsehood.