Saturday, October 23, 2010

Adbusters: one trope over the line

One of my favourite culture-jammers has published a photo-essay (no on-line link) that compares Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto--and it's not the first time that this comparison has been made.

I think the following letter, sent by email, makes my own feelings plain. I urge others, should they so desire, to send their own notes to Adbusters. Let's stay classy, folks. Not everything we oppose is reducible to Hitler.

The Editor,

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to let you know that your photo-essay on Gaza, in your November-December issue, does not sit well with me--to put it mildly.

I am non-Jewish. More importantly, I have defended the rights of Palestinians in my blog for several years. I am no supporter of the present government of Israel, as a quick perusal of the blog will indicate.

But you go too far comparing Gaza to a Nazi extermination staging point. That is grossly insensitive, and factually wrong.

Conditions in Gaza are deplorable. It is little more than an open-air prison, and until very recently even some basic necessities of life were prevented from passing into the area--building materials, for example, desperately needed to re-build homes after large residential areas were demolished during Operation Cast Lead. I hold no brief whatsoever for the behaviour of the state of Israel towards the people of Gaza.

But I am appalled that this is being mentioned in the same breath as the Final Solution. Get a grip. The Gazans are not being slated for mass extermination; no gas chambers or crematoria are in existence, or being built. The distinction is not a minor one, and I suspect that you know it.

I believe that such invidious comparisons are being made simply for polemical value, and as a kind of moral blackmail, throwing the Holocaust into the faces of Israeli Jews--some of whom are Holocaust survivors, and know the difference.

I don't think that it helps the cause of critics of the state of Israel to (effectively) equate Israel to the Third Reich. That adds nothing useful to the debate; rather, it falsifies it. It is simply hurtful, and arguably even hateful, serving no imaginable constructive purpose.

Your magazine does great work, and I have followed it for years. Frankly, you're much better than this. I urge you to publish an apology, and move back into the light.


Comments welcome, as always.

UPDATE: (October 25) More slander from the Babblers. (And note what happens when I get defended.) I'd swear these caricatures are being planted by the far Right.

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