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Let's Talk About a "Proportionate Response"

I am an Israeli citizen. I am an American citizen. I am also completing a Master's in


Holocaust studies and a resident of Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements in the West Bank
in Israel. Now that I've laid all my cards out on the table, I am going to rail against the
following phenomenon that has developed over the past few years: comparing Israelis
to Nazis. The comparison is insulting and blatantly, historically inaccurate.

Let's begin with the facts. Nazi Germany was a murderous totalitarian dictatorship intent
on taking over Europe and cleansing their conquered territories. Driven by the economic
depression in their country, Hitler and the Nazi party created a hierarchy based on
Social Darwinism, eugenics, and antisemitic ideology. The Israeli Knesset is
democratically elected, comprised of many parties of various viewpoints, and even MK's
who call for the destruction of the very government they represent. Israel is
the only democratic country in the Middle East, "guilty" of equal rights for women,
homosexuals and Israeli Arabs.

In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union in order to fight a sweeping
ideological war against Communism. Under this guise, they began rounding up
defenseless Jews and shooting them (they began with men, but after a few weeks, also
included women and children). By 1942, the Nazi government had erected various
death camps to enact the "Final Solution:" the total extermination of the Jewish people
throughout Europe, and eventually, the entire world.

This systematic, cold-blooded murder is in no way reminiscent of the Israeli response in
Gaza. Fact: in 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, handing it over to the
Palestinians. Instead of using the beautiful infrastructure that existed, the homes and
greenhouses, to build their own communities, the Palestinian leadership burned and
destroyed anything and everything that the Israelis left. Fact: Hamas has been baiting
Israel by shooting rockets into Israel and, one month ago, by kidnapping three innocent
boys on their way home from school for the weekend. Fact: since the beginning of the
ground invasion of Gaza, the IDF has uncovered several tunnels dug from Gaza into
Israel whose purpose is to enable terrorists to smuggle their way into Israel to murder
innocent Israelis. Have there been civilian casualties in Gaza since the operation
began? Yes. Is it unfortunate? Yes. Is it equally unfortunate that three innocent boys, an
Arab teenager, and to date, over 40 Israeli soldiers have been murdered? Yes. Has
Israel extended generosity in the form of temporary ceasefires, blood donation and
medical services to Gaza civilians (and that is without mentioning the warnings they
give to civilians to evacuate buildings that house weapons before destroying said
buildings)? Yes. Are any of Israel's actions in the slightest way similar to that the of
Nazis' during World War II? Absolutely, unequivocally no.

I stand firmly behind Israels actions from a political and moral stance, and, though it
pains me, I understand that there are those throughout the world who disagree with my
point of view. However, as a student of the history of the Holocaust, as a thinking
individual, and, most of all, as a Jew, I can no longer sit silently while comparisons are
drawn between Israelis and Nazis, and while uniquely Holocaust references are thrown
at Israel. Comparing Israelis, Jews, to the destructive Nazi regime whose very goal was
to eliminate us three-quarters of a century ago, is at best ignorant, and at worst,
horrifying and repugnant. Nazi Germany was one of the most oppressive, evil and far-
reaching regimes in history. Yehuda Bauer, academic adviser to Yad Vashem, asserts
that one aspect that differentiates the Holocaust from all other genocides was that all
Jews, not just German Jews or European Jews, but worldwide Jewry, was targeted for
extermination. I am saddened that today, in a time that humankind has the opportunity
for exposure, for education and enlightenment, there exists such a misunderstanding of
history and truth.

And just to prove my point even further: what of the worlds blind and deaf acceptance
of the antisemitic riots and violence throughout Europeis that not more redolent of
World War II? Perhaps the Western world has not learned as much as they claim, and
that is the most frightening of all.