Photo: Gil Yohanan
Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Shalev. 'Harmful to essence of memory'
Photo: Wiesenthal Center
Zuroff. 'Holocaust belittled'
Photo: Wiesenthal Center

Historians: Lieberman’s words belittle Holocaust

Holocaust experts, Arab MKs, even immigrant representatives infuriated by Israel Our Home chairman's Holocaust analogy that 'Arab MKs should be judged as in Nuremburg’; Yad Vashem chairman: Such statements disrespect essence of memory

Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman sparked a political storm on Thursday when he said at the Knesset that “also at the end of World War II, at the Nuremburg trials, not just the criminals but also their collaborators were executed. I hope this is the fate of all collaborators in this house.”


Arab lawmakers were of course angered and insulted, but many others as well – including Holocaust researchers and representatives of the Russian sector – condemned the disrespect tied up in using Holocaust metaphors.


Avner Shalev, chairman of the board of Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Authority, told Ynet that “any connection to Holocaust matters and the terminology of the Holocaust in current politics is despicable and harmful to the essence of memory.”


Ephraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal, responded that “the analogies to the Holocaust are inexact and cause damage and belittle the Holocaust. Whoever follows this sees that it is happening on both sides of the political spectrum, not just on the Right or the Left. All these analogies are unacceptable, harm the memory of the Holocaust and the survivors, and are unnecessary.”


Dr. Hanna Yablonka, a historian from Ben Gurion University who researched Holocaust memory, told Ynet that “all these expressions disrespect the Holocaust. But we don’t need to pay attention to every foolish comment by every stupid politician – that's exactly what he wanted.”


'Lieberman doesn't know what he's talking about'


"Lieberman's comments show that he doesn't know what he's talking about and he doesn't know about the terms he uses," said Professor Yavlonka. "The Nuremberg trials were not trials of collaborators. In the big trial there were no collaborators, but the main criminals from the Nazi regime. In this case collaboration was not the issue., The fact that Knesset Members met with Hamas is no collaboration. Even if they met with them, that is far from collaboration," she said.


The professor added: "Everything is relative. Ten years ago, the same thing was said about people who spoke with the PLO, and then the PLO received approval. I think that it is a matter of five or ten years, and Hamas too will be "approved." In any case, we must remember that Lieberman represents one end of the political spectrum, he does not represent the big center."


'Like Le Pen'


Arab Knesset Members were furious and offended by Lieberman's comments. "The things Lieberman said are not coincidental, but are planned and conniving. His comments form the crossing of a red line over the parliamentary argument in existence until now in the Knesset," said Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al). "This man is a fascist and a Stalinist. There is Le Pen in France,  Joerg Haider in Austria, and Avigdor Lieberman in Israel."


פרסום ראשון: 05.05.06, 01:07
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