Sunday, November 18, 2012

Go Godwin yourself

Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. From The Telegraph.
From the Telegraph (H/T Glenn Greenwald):

Palestinian activists routinely claim to be suffering a "shoah" at the hands of Israel, but the Jewish state normally denies any moral equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians today and European jewry under the Nazis.  
Matan Vilnai, deputy defence minister, broke that taboo when he used the term "shoah" during interview on Army Radio. 
"The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," he said.
Hmm. Does everybody remember Godwin's Law, according to which every online discussion, if not cut off, will eventually lead to a comparison of something with Adolf Hitler and the German National Socialist Party? And the corollary that
once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.
How does that apply in this case? Can we just say the Israelis have now lost their war and it is now over? Or have they, by the unusual expedient of Godwining themselves, broken the entire system, so that we are now all licensed to compare the Israeli political establishment to the Nazis whenever we want? Personally I would have been satisfied with being allowed to compare them to Apartheid South Africa. But they condemn themselves out of their own mouths, like Haman in the book of Esther.

“The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences,” wrote [Gilad] Sharon in the extremist publication The Jerusalem Post. Sharon elaborated:
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. 
There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire. 
Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared. 
Sharon added that “There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.” (Quoted from Ali Abuminah in The Electronic Intifada)
Yes, that's Gilad son of Arik, Arik King of Israel as his followers called him, who started the fashion of campaigning for the premiership by starting a war when he took his famous trip up the Holy Mount and launched the Second Intifada. Hatred for democracy? Check. (They "are not innocent", they voted for the wrong party.) Collective punishment? Check. Race hatred? Check. And now we have a call for holocaust from that ex-general Vilnai, an Israeli cabinet minister, a member of Ehud Barak's "Independence" party!
The images from Europe were unpleasant too. Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names.
(And would you like to tell me that the Hamas warriors would do the same to Jewish Israelis? Maybe they would, who can tell? But one thing for sure is that they won't, because they are too weak. Of course if you carefully cultivate the hatred, over another generation or two, as the population continues to grow... But maybe there's another way; why do you suppose Israel hasn't nuked Germany yet?)

Actually that issue of the Telegraph (the Vilnai quote, not the picture) was from February 2008, just before the last time the IDF invaded Gaza on the ground (nowadays, he has just left the cabinet and Knesset and is off to be ambassador to Beijing), and the government explained at the time that "holocaust" doesn't always mean "holocaust", so the whole thing is a bit less meaningful than it was meant to be (I'm blaming you, Glenn). Alas, so little has changed otherwise that he might as well have said it today, so I'm sticking by the post.

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