Netanyahu’s "Nazi Language"?

Comparing Israel to the Nazis or attempting to draw false parallels with the deliberate genocide of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust is a tactic regularly deployed by anti-Israel activists despite being classified as anti-Semitism under the EU’s own working definition.

Two recent incendiary headlines illustrate this point by implying that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted “Nazi language,” thus contributing to the false and insulting impression that Israelis behave like Nazis:

In fact, the stories refer to Netanyahu’s meeting with the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, where he reportedly used the term “Judenrein” to describe a situation where Jews would not be allowed to live on the West Bank.

Indeed, it is worth noting that approximately 20% of Israel’s population define themselves as “Palestinian Arabs” who have full citizenship of the State of Israel and enjoy the rights that come with this. Therefore it is perfectly legitimate to ask whether Jews would enjoy those same rights in the event of the possible future creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Putting aside the headline, analyst Robin Shepherd takes apart Peter Beaumont’s op-ed in The Guardian, writing that it effectively accuses Netanyahu of using the term Judenrein as a form of moral blackmail. Shepherd argues against Beaumont’s assertion that the word “Judenrein” has been creeping into the discourse as a reaction to the policies of US President Obama. Shepherd instead says that Beaumont betrays a profound misunderstanding of the core issues at the heart of the conflict in general and the dispute over settlements in particular.

Examining how Beaumont’s piece ignores the hatred of Israel and underlying opposition to the existence of a Jewish state irrespective of settlements, Shepherd continues:

The fear that the underlying maxim defining Palestinian opposition to the settlements is the same “no Jews allowed” maxim that has defined Palestinian rejectionism of the Jewish presence in Palestine for decades is very real and fully justified by a rounded reading of the historical context.

This does not mean that deals cannot or should not be done on the settlements. It does not mean that Israel settlement policy has been right. But it does mean that to portray Netanyahu’s use of the word Judenrein as “the most cynical of ploys” represents a deep-seated misunderstanding of the underlying issues.

But all Beaumont can see in the Israeli position is cynicism. Concluding his piece, he says: “To use “Judenrein” so cheaply to score a political point dishonours the memory of history and its victims. It shames Israel’s prime minister.”

It does nothing of the sort. And, on the evidence of his piece, Peter Beaumont is in no position to be delivering lectures on what does or does not dishonour “the memory of history”.

Read the full article in The Guardian and send your considered comments to


The Jerusalem Post has published an op-ed by HR’s Managing Editor Simon Plosker:

In the latest shot across the BBC’s bows, the corporation has been accused of bias – in favor of Israel. And it’s not just the BBC. Al-Jazeera is also pro-Israel! Yes, you read that correctly. Arab Media Watch’s Sharif Nashashibi conducted a study of the BBC and Al-Jazeera Web sites over a four-month period (February-May 2009). It concluded, among other things, that while every BBC article included Israeli sources, 35 percent had no Palestinian sources, and of the remaining 65% that did, 82% devoted more words to Israeli sources.
BBC studios.

So, have Jeremy Bowen et al. become paid up members of the Zionist Organization of America? Not quite. HonestReporting has published a number of studies on the BBC over a longer period of time and concluded the exact opposite of AMW.

HR’s material has also appeared in an article in the Israel Medical Association Journal – “British Medical Journals Play Politics” :

Today, it is almost fashionable, intellectual, even “politically correct” to be anti-Israel. This phenomenon does not limit itself to the general media; it has spread to the pages of elite medical journals.

A quick review of Medline shows the trend beginning in earnest in the early to mid-1990s, and centered in the UK, although other countries are not exempt. Over the years, leading British medical journals such as the BMJ, the Lancet and the Journal of the Royal College of Medicine have delighted in publishing political rhetoric disguised as medical articles. The articles have accused Israel and the Israel Medical Association (IMA) of a host of human rights abuses, including occupation, torture and cold-blooded executions of civilians.


HonestReporting’s Gary Kenzer continues to tour the USA giving presentations on media bias. He is now scheduling his travels and events for the 2009-2010 program year. Call him toll free anytime at 1 866 508 7884 to find out how you can put a program together in your community.

=articletext>Already scheduled:

  • Central Florida – October 25-28
  • New York City – November 15-18
  • Sarasota, Florida – January 10-12, 2010
  • To be scheduled: New Orleans, North Carolina, Southern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State.