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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Holocaust as Political Football

From today's The Guardian comes this story of how the militant wing of the Israeli settler movement are appropriating symbols of the Holocaust as a protest against Ariel Sharon's proposed withdrawal from Gaza.

Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip have adopted Star of David badges similar to those which Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis in the 30s in protest at Israel's plan to evacuate them from their homes.

Many of the settlers equate the prime minister, Ariel Sharon's plans to evacuate the settlements next year with the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis. Mr Sharon wants to remove the settlements by next autumn.

Moshe Freiman, 56, whose mother survived the Holocaust, and is now buried in a settlement, said he would wear the star on his shirt.

"We, the second generation of Holocaust survivors, always complained to those who were there - why did they not rise up, why did they not cry out and do something?" he said.

"Today, justifiably, this is said about us - why are we not doing anything against this plan?"

On Sunday, Haaretz reported that 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland has compared Israel's nuclear arsenal to the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camps.

"When I think about nuclear weapons, I've been to Auschwitz concentration camp," Maguire said during a joint press conference with Vanunu in Jerusalem.

"Nuclear weapons are only gas chambers perfected... and for a people who know what gas chambers are, how can you even think of building perfect gas chambers?"

Humanity - proving forever that the temptation to make bad historical analogies cuts across all ideological boundaries.

|| RPH || 7:15 PM || |