January 8, 2009
THE HAMAS WAR: HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS SLAM WORLDWIDE CAMPAIGN TO EXPROPRIATE THE SHOAH AND ITS IMAGERY
Holocaust survivors and their families gathered at the Simon Wiesenthal Center to protest international campaigns that compare Israel’s attack on Hamas strongholds in Gaza to the Nazi Holocaust. Protestors in such major cities as London, Paris, Sydney and Los Angeles used images of Nazi death camps and swastikas to cast Israelis as Nazis and Gazans as Warsaw Ghetto victims. Survivors of the Holocaust say that this "outrageous comparison exaggerates the truth and desecrates the memory of our loved ones who perished at the hands of the Nazis." At the press conference, the survivors held up cards the showed the name of the concentration camp they were incarcerated in by the Nazis.
"The memory of the Holocaust is being distorted in a deliberate campaign to deny Jews and the State of Israel both their past and their future," said Rabbis Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, and Abraham Cooper, the Center's associate dean. "We are deeply angered by the chants on the streets of our cities, ‘Death to the Jews’ and ‘Jews to the ovens’," they said, adding, "Those Muslim leaders who express concern over Islamophobia should be the first to denounce the hateful rhetoric."
Representing the survivors were Renee Firestone and Jack Lewin, who both survived Auschwitz. Firestone asked, "Do the protesters know what happen to us in the Holocaust? I was 'only' in Auschwitz for 13 months and on many of those days they took 12,000 men women and children to gas Chambers and murdered. How dare they debase us and our loved ones this way!"
Representing the survivors were Renee Firestone and Jack Lewin, who both survived Auschwitz.
Another survivor, Dave Lux, said it is not Israel who is committing war crimes, but Hamas, who put innocent women and children in harm’s way. "I have a question," said Lux, "What if Hamas stopped using [Gazans] as human shields? Wouldn’t that reduce the killing of civilians?"
"We’re not going to allow lies to dictate what is happening in the Middle East," said Rabbi Hier. "What Israel is doing is what every single nation would do, including our great country."
In a related development, the Wiesenthal Center has contacted senior officials in Europe to protests the growing number of anti-Jewish attacks in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom.