Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Over 300 Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants Condemn Israel's ‘Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza’

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip continued on Aug. 20, 2014, targeting a home in the city of Deir al-Balah. Photo by Hussain Abdel Jawwad. Copyright Demotix

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip continued on Aug. 20, 2014, targeting a home in the city of Deir al-Balah. Photo by Hussain Abdel Jawwad. Copyright Demotix

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) has released an open letter signed by 327 Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide “unequivocally” condemning the “massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine.”

The letter was written in response to Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel’s “manipulation of the Nazi Genocide to attempt to justify the attacks on Gaza.” The accusation that Elie Wiesel manipulates the memory of the Holocaust is an old one. In this case, it refers to his New York Times advertisement in which he claimed that “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn,” using biblical imagery by comparing Gazan parents to the Molochites (ancient Canaanites who sacrificed children to their God, Moloch).

Besides his controversial positions supporting Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, Wiesel was chairman of the IR David Foundation, which aims to “strengthen the Jewish connection to Jerusalem” (Hebrew) and create a Jewish majority in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. He was notably accused by Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein in his book “The Holocaust Industry” of promoting the “uniqueness doctrines” whereas all genocides besides the Jewish Holocaust are downplayed.

The letter reads:

As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and Western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia.

Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!

Take a look at the letter on the IJAN's website to see the complete list of signatories.

Andrew Stroehlein, the European media director for Human Rights Watch, tweeted the news to his nearly 17,000 followers:

IJAN also recently announced that their letter will be posted in The New York Times as a half-page ad. Lee Gargagliano of IJAN wrote on Facebook:

We did it! We are placing the letter from survivors of the Nazi genocide and descendants of survivors and victims as a half-page ad in tomorrow's (Saturday 8/23) New York Times! Please spread it far and wide to help maximize the impact and please pass it on to journalists who you think might pick up the story. Thank you to those who signed; thank you to those who contributed; thank you to everyone who will help circulate!

At the time of writing, the death toll in Gaza stood at 2,039, including 540 children and 75 families. Seventy-two percent of Palestinians killed in this offensive are civilians, according to the UN. The death toll for Israel stood at 68, including one child. The percentage of civilians killed is 5 percent, with the majority of deaths being IDF soldiers.

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive

  • hmp49

    I’m the child of two Holocaust survivors. My father is the executive vice president of the largest organization of Holocaust survivors is the US.

    I can tell you with 100% confidence we could get 100x as many signatures in support of Israel, and Israel’s right to defend itself.

    • http://hummusforthought.com joeyayoub

      That’s no surprise. Voices of conscience are always a minority. I’m sorry you’re still buying government propaganda after so many hundreds of children were slaughtered by the state of Israel

      • Mahatma Gandhi

        Of course there is no surprise. The wolves have to stay together. And together with their offsprings.

        • hmp49

          Are you talking about the Palestinians?

          This is what Palestinians teach their children. 11 year olds don’t think these things up themselves – that “martyrdom is better than peace and full rights for the Palestinian people” From official Palestinian TV:

          Host: “You described Shahada (Martyrdom) as something beautiful. Do you think it is beautiful?”
          Walla, aged 11: “Shahada (Martyrdom) is a very, very beautiful thing. Everyone yearns for Shahada. What could be sweeter than going to paradise?”
          Host: “What is better, peace and full rights for the Palestinian people, or Shahada?”
          Walla: “Shahada. I will achieve my rights after becoming a Shahida (Martyr).”
          Host: “Ok, Yussra, would you agree with that?”
          Yussra, aged 11: “Of course, Shahada is sweet. We don’t want this world, we want the Afterlife. We benefit not from this life, but from the Afterlife.”

          http://palwatch.Org/main.aspx?fi=111&fld_id=111&doc_id=446

          • Sarfaraz

            hmp49 with this news — all what you say stand null now :-D

          • Da Noos

            ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………………………………

            What’s with the emoticon? Are you a 14 year old girl?

      • hmp49

        I’m sorry you’re so dense that you don’t understand the Palestinians leave Israel no choice.

        No rockets, no Palestinian casualties.

        No cure for stupid.

        • Sarfaraz

          These 320+ survivors just spitted in your face and hasbara lies

          • Da Noos

            It’s 40 actual survivors who signed the letter, and the rest had distant relatives who died in the Holocaust. I attended a breakfast recently at the Child Survivors of South Florida, and 400 actual survivors stood up to sing Hatikvah.

            Read the letter and the self-identifications, tool. Perhaps you’ll characterize that as “hasbara” too, you little lying Muslim?

            From Islamic Law:

            Reliance of the Traveler (p. 746 – 8.2) – “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie.”

      • David Abraham

        Jews have never slaughtered anyone, in spite of what the Arab nazist propaganda would make you believe. Go and search about the hundred of thousands of jewish children the palestinians slaughtered by sending them to Auschwitz (whose building was planned by the Palestinians). Or about how innocent was the SS Handschar Division (one of the SS divisions made of Palestinians Arabs and Balkan muslims who committed huge crimes against humanity in the Balkans, crimes for which the “innocent” arabs were never held responsible).
        Haj Amin AL Husseyni’s name (Yasser Arafat’s uncle) comes to mind very often doesn’t it?

    • Danganbeg

      I suspect that, like a lot of israelis, you are in fact american.The genocide of children is not self-defence. Jews in my country have also condemned israel,

      • hmp49

        Did I ever claim to be an Israeli?

        If Israel were involved in genocide, there would be tens of thousands of dead children. Look at what the Rwandans did in 6 weeks with machetes – they killed 800,000.

        The Gazans leave the Israelis no choice. The Israelis cannot wait for a Khaibar missile with a 375lb explosive payload to hit a Tel Aviv highrise.

        If the Gazans fire rockets at Israeli civilians from the midst of Palestinian civilian areas, as has been documented over and over, the inevitable result will be Palestinian casualties, and that blood is on Palestinian hands.

        • Sarfaraz

          These Hasbara lies stand null now — go back home!

          • Da Noos

            What a pathetic tool. tell me what you think is a lie?

            IF you want to be safe from the truth, you’ll have to hide under your bed.

    • Sarfaraz

      So far only 1 has been barking in favor of Israel ‘Elie Wiesel’

  • Nathaniel Wenger

    wanting just to hold someone and watch tv laughing about why the leader of the country isn’t on tv and how great of an idea that would be.

  • Pingback: Over 300 Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants Condemn Israel’s ‘Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza’ · Global Voices | Ned Hamson Second Line View of the News

  • GallopingProphet

    The position expressed by the members of IJAN are so far away from logic that they would qualify as psychotic, perhaps mono—maniacal. One wonders what psychological scaring they are carrying that so much bent their perception of reality

    • Barnesian

      I suggest you look in the mirror.

  • peace for all

    we are sooo bored with this argument of “Israel’s right to defend itself’. Wake up Israelis. You are living in a different world- pretty much like north koreans. If you cannot distinguish reality from your government’s propaganda then open a few books and read about the history of your own country. You are an occupation force and the whole world- apart from you and the US- agrees with that idea. What you have succeeded in the last few weeks is to make the world dislike you for being war-obssesed. Stop using genocide as an argument. You are racist people and stupid, If I may add. Nobody likes you any more. You will be able to see that in people’s eyes when you introduce yourselves. Wake up and stop the occupation if you want peace and justice. Nobody likes your bullying techniques and the PR bullshit that your spokespeople repeat all the time. We are tired of your racist behaviour. You are not exceptional at all. What you are is brainwashed people with money, power and lots of arms. Other than that, no balls at all

    • hmp49

      Israel has been attacked by the Arabs since the moment of its inception.

      How frustrating for you and your entire “Jews to the ovens” crowd that Israel is capable of protecting its citizens.

      • Sarfaraz

        Go home paid-troll

        • Da Noos

          Poor baby, you came here to be safe from the truth, in the useful idiot echo chamber, and it followed you all the way here.

        • Benjamin

          You pathetic idiot, all you’re doing is galavanting around these comment sections not once making a rational argument, or even trying for that matter. How can you call anyone a troll, when it is YOU who is the ultimate troll. All you have done here is hurl racist insults at the Jewish and Israeli people, and made completely biased unreasonable accusations. Not to mention you act as if this article is bringing some kind of of hidden truth to light, when in actuality it is itself a carefully manufactured piece of Anti-Israel propaganda, nothing more. The pro-Israeli voices in these comment sections are no more paid than you! Might I add, we’ve all brought up interesting perspectives, facts and statistics to back our view point, all you’ve done is bark out idiotic one-liners. You make you and your people look that much more worthless to the world. I almost feel bad Israeli engineers and inventors have paved the way to technologies giving primitive as@holes like you a voice.

      • m.p

        what is wrong with you man? the jews took over palestinian homes several decades ago and almost completely eliminated them from the entire space where they lived. if someone would come and take over your house and entire your father’s empire about which you keep barking, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I guess you would peacefully move away and allow the occupants to live as they please? at least that’s what you expect the palestinians to do. keeping people like animals in an area that is a size of one big city is a ghetto. this is exactly how nazis treated your parents and others of your kin. not allowing people to live like human beings would make anyone fight back, dig tunnels and hate the oppressors. what do you expect? so easy to bark from your cozy home, keyboard warrior! stop being a victim for God’s sake and open your eyes. how can anyone be so narrow-minded? probably all your riches squeeze the skull but most likely it’s just a teenager on the other side..

        • Da Noos

          You’re demonstrating your ignorance of history.

          The Jews were given a tiny crazy quilt of a country during the UN partition of 1947. They were elated with the little they had, but the Arab nations were not and attacked – Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. Their goal was not to set up an independent Arab nation of Palestine, but to the divide the area among themselves. If you read the history of the period, you’ll see the Syrians were claiming “Palestine has always be a southern province of Syria.”

          The Jew did not take over the homes of Arabs who remained in Israel. In fact, the Mayor of Haifa begged the Arabs to stay.

          Israel is 20% Arab, where do you think these people came from? They were the ones who chose to stay, instead of listening to the instructions from the Arab nations, who asked them to “make way for the conquering Arab armies”

        • Benjamin

          “…probably all your riches squeeze the skull…”

          Can you get anymore stereotypical in your prejudices and views of jewish people. Crazy how success can make others jealous. Sorry if we as a jewish people have found away to persevere, survive and thrive, despite the adversity brought onto us by such hate-filled persons as yourself. We will overcome…

  • Pingback: Over 300 Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants Condemn Israel’s ‘Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza’ | The Bahamas, Bahama Islands, Paradise Island Vacations, Grand Bahama Islands, Nassau, Freeport, Bahamas.pro

  • Pingback: Kirche heute, 24.August 2014 | Christliche Leidkultur

  • Realist

    The Israelis, (and any moral person), have stated that they regret the killing of any civilians, contrary to Hamas which applauds the killing of Israeli civilians. The figures you all see in the “news” come from Hamas sources, including the so-called UN numbers. They have every incentive to lie and make everyone a “civilian” for PR purposes. An independent count by Al Jazeera (no friend of Israel) and others dispute those numbers and indicate that most killed were men of fighting age. The ratio of civilians to militants killed was about 1:1. Although every civilian death is a tragedy, that ratio compares favorably with other recent wars where the ratio was 3:1 or 4:1. Israel makes every effort to warn civilians to leave with leaflets and phone calls but Hamas sometimes prevents them from leaving and uses them as human shields. THAT is a war crime! There would be no war if Hamas stopped firing rockets at Israel.

    • Sarfaraz

      Zionists have been watching shelling on Gaza on comfy sofas, eating popcorn and clapping as shells fall on Gaza. Racist Zionists sing ‘Gaza is Graveyard – There are no more children left in Gaza for schools’.

      Anyways go back home This is over for paid-trolls

      • Realist

        You think Israelis are racists? Twenty percent of Israelis are Arabs with full citizenship and rights. There are Arab Members of Parliament, Judges, University Presidents, Doctors, etc., while the Palestinians have stated many times that a future Palestinian state will be “Jew free”. Who are the racists? Hamas wants to kill all Jews (and Christians too)… so who are the racists? … and it was the Palestinians who were cheering when innocent civilians were killed… Israeli or American… Did you forget the pictures of Palestinians cheering when the World Trade Towers came down? Israelis don’t target innocent civilians and don’t cheer when they are killed, but Hamas uses them as Human shields and then cry to the press when they are killed.

  • Pingback: Letter from Survivors of Nazi Genocide runs in NYTimes–Responses and News Coverage

  • Uofconn Harassment

    This
    reminds me of something said by Henry Siegman, former head of the
    Synagogue Council of America, former National Director of the
    American Jewish Congress and a former senior fellow at the Council on
    Foreign Relations – far from a self-hating Jew or anti-Semite. “I
    have always asked myself, and this has a great deal to do with my own
    changing views about the policies of governments, not about the
    Jewish state qua Jewish state, but of the policies pursued by Israeli
    governments and supported—you know, they say Israel is a model
    democracy in the Middle East, so you must assume—the public has to
    assume some responsibility for what the government does, because they
    put governments in place. So, the question I ask myself: What if the
    situation were reversed? You know, there is a Talmudic saying in
    Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of the Fathers: “Al tadin et chavercha
    ad shetagiah lemekomo,” “Don’t judge your neighbor until
    you can imagine yourself in his place.” So, my first question
    when I deal with any issue related to the Israeli-Palestinian issue:
    What if we were in their place?

    What
    if the situation were reversed, and the Jewish population were locked
    into, were told, “Here, you have less than 2 percent of
    Palestine, so now behave. No more resistance. And let us deal with
    the rest”? Is there any Jew who would have said this is a
    reasonable proposition, that we cease our resistance, we cease our
    effort to establish a Jewish state, at least on one-half of
    Palestine, which is authorized by the U.N.? Nobody would agree to
    that. They would say this is absurd.” Disagreeing with Israel does
    not make a person a self-hating Jew, anti-Semite or a racist, just a
    person of good character, morals and with a conscience.

    • Da Noos

      Nope, sorry, still a self-hating Jew.

      in the 2008-2009 war, Hamas initially claimed only 49 of the casualties were combantants. 2 years later, when the news cycle had moved on, they admitted 600-700 were combatants, very close to Israel’s original estimate of 709.

      I expect when the dust settles, the same will be true here – the combatants will be more like 60% of the casualties. If 40% civilian casualties seems high to you, I suggest you examine the US record in Iraq, where 600,000 Iraqi civilians were killed.

      Of course, you didn’t see photographs of 100,000 dead Iraqi children on a tight loop 24/7.

      Out of sight, out of mind, eh?

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site