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February 28, 2019

Diminishing the Horrors of Nazism

There is an unfortunate tendency by some who possess a pulpit -- whether media or otherwise -- to embellish valid (or invalid) points by flippantly tossing out the epithet "Nazis".

For example, MSNBC's Velshi & Ruhle program recently featured journalist Elise Labott demonizing far-right wing parties in Israel as "neo-Nazis" in her discussion of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's alliance with them. She said:

A lot of these right wing parties which Netanyahu has been cozying up to ...[are] the extremist parties that have some kind of neo-Nazi tendencies, white Supremacist tendencies, if you will...

What she was criticizing was Netanyahu's widely-condemned alliance with the right-wing Jewish Home and National Union parties that formed a voting bloc with the controversial Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party.While the first two are simply nationalist parties on the right, Otzma Yehudit has its roots in the late Rabbi Meir Kahane's Kach party, established in 1971 and eventually banned because of its racist platform. Otzma Yehudit's radical platform includes establishing a theocracy in Israel, taking over the Temple Mount and encouraging the emigration of the "enemies of Israel" from the country, which they take to mean most Arabs, or at least those who oppose a Jewish state.

Whatever one may think about the party's platform --illiberal, undemocratic, or racist -- it is a gross overstatement to compare it to Nazism, a movement that considered Jews, Gypsies and others inherently inferior--sub-humans to be starved, tortured and brutally mass-murdered. To call Jewish Home, National Union, or even Otzma Yehudit akin to Nazis is to abuse the memories of the milliions who were slaughtered by Hitler's followers.

Posted by rh at February 28, 2019 05:01 PM

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