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New York Times Opinion Piece Paved Way for Oscar Night Comparison of Israel to Nazis

Director Jonathan Glazer, of the United Kingdom, poses with the Oscar for Best International Feature Film for “The Zone of Interest” in the Oscars photo room at the 96th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US, March 10, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria

On Oscar night, British director Jonathan Glazer used his movie about the Holocaust to condemn Israel’s “ongoing attack on Gaza” as an example of the same “dehumanization” that characterized the Nazis’ genocide against the Jewish people.

Glazer was widely — and appropriately — condemned by Jewish leaders, thinkers, and organizations who found his remarks while accepting the Oscar for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday repugnant.

Less noticed, but just as outrageous, was a New York Times op-ed published on Saturday previewing Glazer’s argument.

The opinion article came from David Klion, a writer whose views are so loathsome that I have long had him blocked on X/Twitter.

Klion writes about Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, contending that it “finds something new and profoundly unsettling to say about the Holocaust” and “also accomplishes something more relevant to the present, forcing viewers to confront difficult questions about our own proximity to atrocity, and succeeding as a bracing reminder of how art can alert and sensitize us to the historical moment we inhabit.”

Klion writes that the movie “depicts the life of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, and his family at their handsome estate just outside the walls of the death camp.”

He continues: “Watching The Zone of Interest as US-made bombs rained down on civilian neighborhoods in Gaza, I couldn’t help but dwell on the banal acceptance of these mass civilian casualties that I’ve witnessed closer to home.”

The op-ed goes on to complain about “Israel’s military siege against the Palestinians.”

It goes on further: “For Jews like myself, who publicly oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza, one of the hardest realities to confront is the fact that plenty of people in our communities are aware that the Israeli offensive is killing tens of thousands of Palestinians, many of whom are children. But in the wake of the gruesome Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israelis that touched off the war, many people we are close to are not just incurious about Israel’s assault on Gaza but are willing to justify it without apology.”

In case anyone missed the point, Klion spiked the football about his piece in a March 9 post on X: “Proud that my first print appearance in NYT is, among other things, an argument that what Israel is doing in Gaza amounts to a genocide.”

The widely adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism includes as an example “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” That practice — also known as “Holocaust inversion” —is deeply problematic.

As the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has explained, “Any alleged wrongdoings on Israel’s part cannot be compared to Nazi crimes during the Holocaust. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is a territorial and political one, whereas the Holocaust was the attempt to systematically annihilate European Jewry. Despite the unfortunate outbreak of violence during the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian population has grown by all metrics, and is projected to continue doing so. To compare this to the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust is preposterous and diminishes the pain of those who have suffered during the conflict.”

The WJC also quotes Deborah Lipstadt, now the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism: those who accuse Israel of genocide and other such crimes “are making a false comparison which elevates by a factor of a zillion any wrongdoings Israel might have done, and lessens by a factor of a zillion what the Germans did.”

It should be obvious that the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust and Israel’s just war of self-defense against Hamas are nothing like one another. In the Holocaust, the Nazis intentionally set out to kill all the Jews, who had done nothing wrong. In the Gaza war, the Israelis are being careful to minimize civilian casualties in an operation aimed at uprooting an evil terrorist militia that is dedicated to killing the Jews and wiping Israel off the map. If there’s a parallel to be made with the Nazis, the parallel is with Hamas, not with Israel.

Glazer’s comments generated substantial pushback. Klion’s New York Times piece, on the other hand, published on the Jewish sabbath, went widely unremarked upon in the mainstream Jewish community. Perhaps the Times opinion pages have gone so far off the anti-Israel deep end that they’ve lost their capacity to shock anyone. Or perhaps all the pro-Israel readers have already canceled their subscriptions. Whatever the reason, Klion and whatever Times editor made the bad decision to publish his article deserve a place with Glazer among the “Jews like myself, who publicly oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza.” I guess it’s better to know who these people are than to have them lurking unidentified in our midst. May they come to realize their errors, speedily and in our days.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The post New York Times Opinion Piece Paved Way for Oscar Night Comparison of Israel to Nazis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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