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Hamas are not the heroes of a latter day Warsaw Ghetto


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‘Activist’ and associate of Vandal in Holy Orders Gerard Burns, John Minto wrote another one of his regular columns for The Press which was published on 6 January. It is not on line, Adam has linked a PDF, but the flavour can be gathered from this extract.

John Minto - The Press - 6 January

John Minto - The Press - 6 January

Now Adam has blogged elsewhere about how he considers the Israelis have for various reasons fallen into a media trap set for them by Hamas and unless they achieve the aim of silencing the rockets, Hamas will claim a win and be seen by many, no doubt including Minto as being vindicated.

Here though Adam takes umbrage at the notion of equating the terrorist thugs of Hamas with the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. This imagery is not new and it is not of Minto’s making.

Read this article from The Times , from which this extract is taken:-

For months – years even – the historical twinning that some campaigners have chosen for the situation in Gaza has been with the Warsaw ghetto. There’ll probably be a sign up soon, because in the past week Ken Livingstone, the activist-musician Brian Eno and George Galloway have all made the comparison.

“Gaza is a ghetto,” said Mr Livingstone, “in exactly the same way that the Warsaw Ghetto was, and people are trapped in it”; while Eno predicted: “They [the Israelis] will continue to create a Warsaw Ghetto in the Middle East.” The less-restrained Mr Galloway pronounced: “Those murdering them [the occupants of Gaza] are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1942.”

Busy people sometimes hurry their reading. Mr Galloway, for example, may only have skimmed the day-by-day reports made by SS Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop on the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. On the third day of the operation Stroop tells how “large numbers of Jews – entire families – already on fire, jumped from the windows. We made sure that these, as well as the other Jews, were liquidated immediately.”

Stroop’s operation was made necessary because the inhabitants of the ghetto took up what few arms they had, having already seen more than half their number transported to extermination camps – a figure which, if translated into Gaza terms, would mean the deliberate killing of 500,000 Palestinians.

A year earlier in this place that was, pace Livingstone, “exactly” a ghetto in the same way as Gaza, the death rate from starvation and disease was more than 4,000 a month – the equivalent of 12,000 in the Gazan “ghetto”. On these grounds alone, never mind any others (rockets, Hamas, etc), we may conclude that Gaza 2009 and Warsaw 1943 have very little in common.

So why the philistine insistence on this particular match? Partly, I imagine, so that the matcher can mention the “irony” of Jews supposedly doing to others what the Nazis “did to them” – as if there weren’t a thousand other closer, but far less narratively satisfying, comparisons.

People like Minto, Livingstone, Galloway et al seem to think that we will listen to them and blithely accept their view. That is not the case, there is right and wrong on both sides of this issue. Using a flawed comparison just does not ehlp the situation, it only inflames it and leads to outrages such as that perpetrated by the Holy Tagger Gerard Burns.

To gain a better view The Times article helps, as do these two pieces by Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish called Proportionality and Terror and Proportionality and Terror continued. In these pieces Sullivan looks at various arguments and points made by a number of commentators. Now you might not agree with everything he writes, but he does not take the Minto approach, of a flawed comparison and no consideration of rationales. Then of course what would expect from Minto who entitled his piece – Kiwis must condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza, whose description of the Hamas provocations is dismissed as the firing of a few homemade rockets into Israel.

Sullivan whilst not agreeing with the strength of the Israel response notes that since May 2007:-

Hamas has fired several thousand Qassam  rockets with such imprecision that no distinction between civilian and military targets is meaningful (which is to say they were all war crimes).

Immediately before that comment he had discussed what defined a war crime. So on at least one level Hamas is guilty of thousands on war-crimes. Not quite the ‘few’ of Minto. But what are thousands of war crimes committed by Hamas on Israel, nothing to Minto.

Finally to take a different view of the historical perspective and one which explains more than Minto’s tosh did, read this very poignant article by the Chief Leader Writer for The Times, Daniel Finkelstein, which concludes with these observations:-

A year or so back I met a teacher while I was on holiday and fell to talking with him about Israel. He was a nice man and all he wanted was for fighting to stop and to end the suffering of children. And he had a question for me.

Why, he asked, doesn’t Israel offer to give back the West Bank and Gaza? Why doesn’t it just let the Palestinians have a state there? If the Palestinians turned it down, he said, then at least liberal opinion would be on Israel’s side and would rally to its assistance.

So I patiently explained to this kind, good man that Israel had, at Camp David in 2000, made precisely this offer and that it had been rejected out of hand by Yassir Arafat, not even used as the basis for negotiation. I told him that Israel was no longer in Gaza, having withdrawn unilaterally and taken the settlers with it. The Palestinians had greeted this movement with suicide bombs and rockets. Yet the teacher, with all his compassion, wasn’t even aware of all this. And liberal opinion? Sad to relate, my new friend’s faith in it was misplaced. It has turned strongly against Israel.

Israel has made many mistakes. It has acted too aggressively on some occasions, has been too defensive on others. The country hasn’t always respected the human rights of its enemies as it should have done. What nation under such a threat would have avoided all errors?

But you know what? As Iran gets a nuclear weapon and so the potential for another Holocaust against the Jews and world opinion does nothing, I am not so sure that the errors of world opinion are so much to be preferred to the errors of Israel.

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  1. Edward Johns permalink
    09/01/2009 18:24

    Hamas have accepted the Arab peace plan and have also, independently, offered a meaningful ten year truce.

    This is recognising Israel.

    What they refuse to do is recognise Israel as a Jewish State which entails the Palestinian people forfeiting all claim to compensation for, or return to the land that they are legally entitled to under both the Geneva Convention and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. This is not to mention the U.N. Declaration 242 which has been re-stated every year since 1967.


  2. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    09/01/2009 17:33


    Thanks for your comments.

    regrettably to many, the right and wrong whatever that might be is now lost.

    As a later post points out this has been going on for a 100 years

    An earlier post here suggested that by their failure to understand what is going on, the Israelis are in effect defeating themselves it is no longer 1948 nor the 1960s.

    Israel’s ‘leader’ have become like the Bourbon kings of whom Talleyrand supposedly said

    “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”



  3. Edward Johns permalink
    09/01/2009 17:19

    A perspective that is not often considered is simply this.
    The legal ownership of the land upon which Sderot stands is apportioned thusly:

    Palestinian – more than 12,000 dunums
    Israeli – approx. 400 dunums.

    The Palestinian owners of that land were terrorised off their property before the State of Israel was declared and before the Arab League moved to stabilise the area on May 15 1948. They took up residence in Gaza, which is 14 ks from their land.

    The total number of Israeli deaths caused by rockets in the nearly 8 years leading up to this present outrage was 15, less than 1% of Israel’s road toll. The death toll among Palestinians during this period exceeds 1,000, the children killed, 156. The attack on Gaza has added another 100 children to the toll.


  4. Manny Goldstein permalink
    09/01/2009 09:43

    It is not a question of swallowing Arafat’s line, but rather that the central premise of the article by Daniel Finkelstein is not correct.


  5. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    09/01/2009 09:09

    Tony, thank you for the additional information


  6. Tony L permalink
    09/01/2009 08:44

    Fatah also undertook to amend its charter calling Israel illegal and seeking the “liberation” of all Palestine – which it never did. So the lies and deception under Arafat simply continued (leading to Intifadeh 2). One version for the West and another diametrically opposed version for Arab consumption.

    The PLO charter as it currently stands is still opposed to the existence of the State of Israel. Manny Goldstein has simply swallowed Arafat’s line, just as Clinton and his State Department did.

    Of course, the bigger issue now is the Hamas terror gang, which has, for the time being, pushed Fatah / PLO into the shade.


  7. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    09/01/2009 07:22

    Arafat did so, but Hamas and Hizbollah do not as far as I am aware, neither does Iran the paymaster of both groups.

    But I accept that as regards Fatah that you are correct


  8. Manny Goldstein permalink
    09/01/2009 06:53

    Daniel Finkelstein states in his ‘poignant’ article that the Palestinians have never recognised the state of Israel or its right to exist in peace. This is incorrect, they did exactly that on September 9th, 1993.

    The U.S. State Department website provides the full text here;


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