NBC, Obama & the Lessons of Buchenwald

In our previous communique, we dealt with the abuse of Holocaust imagery as a method of attacking Israel. False parallels are created between Jewish suffering and the Palestinian situation and, inevitably, Israelis are portrayed as Nazis as part of the effort to delegitimize and demonize the Israeli state.

Was this false parallel inside the mind of NBC’s Tom Brokaw when he asked the following question in an exclusive interview with US President Obama at the Buchenwald concentration camp?

Brokaw: What can the Israelis learn from your visit to Buchenwald? And what should they be thinking about their treatment of Palestinians?

Obama: Well, look, there’s no equivalency here.

Click on the video below and view this exchange at 4.05 mins in.

While Obama rightly states that there is no equivalency between the horrors of Buchenwald and the contemporary Mideast situation, one can only assume by virtue of the question, that Tom Brokaw thinks otherwise.

Obama denounced Holocaust denial during his Cairo address and underscored the message by visiting Buchenwald the following day. Tom Brokaw, however, ignored the subtle rebuke to the Muslim world, placing Israel in the spotlight.

Holocaust denial is all too common in the Mideast. While both Brokaw and Obama referred to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s poisonous Holocaust denial, shouldn’t Brokaw have asked what the Arab and Muslim world could learn from a visit to Buchenwald?

Please send your considered comments to NBC News’ Today program – Today@NBCUNI.com


Judging by the response of Adbusters to your letters following last week’s communique, Editor in Chief Kalle Lasn has left us in no doubt as to how seriously he views comparisons between Israel and the Nazis. A number of subscribers received a similar reply to the one here:

Hey, thank you for your letter.

Here’s a link you might find interesting:


Let’s keep the dialogue going, cheers, Kalle

The above links to an earlier Adbusters article by Gilad Atzmon and clearly demonstrates Kalle Lasn and Adbusters’ attitude towards Israel and the Jews. For, as academic David Hirsh states:

Gilad Atzmon is a former Israeli paratrooper, a well-known jazz saxophonist, a campaigner for Palestinian rights and someone who is comfortable employing openly anti-Jewish rhetoric. He has repeated the old libel that “the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus”. He is critical of those who compare the current Israeli regime with Nazi Germany, on the basis that Israel is a more radical evil. Atzmon pushes classic anti-semitic Jewish conspiracy libel:

American Jewry makes any debate on whether the “Protocols of the elder of Zion” are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world.

Atzmon has been outed as an anti-semite in the jazz world, notably by musicians David Adler (PDF format) and Jim Denham.

Those of you who have received a response from Lasn may wish to follow up by pointing out how Adbusters promotes an open racist, not to mention the particularly insulting attitude of Lasn himself.


In a roundup of reactions to the Obama speech, the New York Times’ Opinionator blog quotes an outright lie from the blog of Egyptian journalist Jano Charbel, who wrote:

The US President emphasized the historical relationship binding the US & Israel, and condemned the “violence” of Palestinians “who fire rockets at sleeping children” and the “bombing of buses full of innocent civilians and elderly passengers.” It must be remembered that the last Palestinian suicide bombing took place in November 2004, and that their primitive home-made rockets usually don’t kill Israelis.

The eagle-eyed Elder of Ziyon lists a dozen suicide bombings in the four years after November, 2004, then hits the nail on the head:

Normally, a lying, terror supporting Egyptian blogger is not worth much attention, but when the NYT uncritically quotes him saying something factual, people will believe the fact.

Jano Charbel has since quietly amended his blog entry. The New York Times has yet to do so.