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Israel: Guilt & Politics

- Abstract

On one of his condolence calls to Arab communities after the massacre by Dr. Baruch Goldstein of 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, visited the town of Nazareth. Responding to Weizman’s expressions of sympathy, Nazareth’s mayor, Toufik Ziad (who is also a member of the Israeli Knesset), called the massacre “Israel’s Kristallnacht.” Though Weizman had repeatedly begged forgiveness for Goldstein’s deed, he resented this analogy and said so. So indeed he should. Not only was the comparison of Israel with Nazi Germany outrageous in itself; invoking Kristallnacht was doubly offensive in suggesting that (as in Nazi Germany in 1938) the government had been behind Goldstein—and this at the very moment when the President of Israel’s presence and his words were giving the lie to any such idea.

Nevertheless, Ziad’s charge was taken in stride and hardly noticed in the Israeli press. For his allusion to Kristallnacht was but a pale echo of what was generally being said in those days by writers, columnists, and politicians on the Israeli Left.

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