Can I Compare the Netanyahu Government to Hitler’s Regime?

I had a Facebook discussion with a Jewish Rabbi friend recently that begs the question of how far Israel’s national hysteria over the holocaust can give the right to Jews to compare one person to Hitler while denying that right to a gentile, like me, to compare a Jew to Hitler. The discussion started when Rabbi David Steiner commented on my article calling for the resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. One of my arguments was that Abbas did not defend the outcome of a free and open democratic Palestinian election and that Hamas, as a democratically elected party in the 2006 Palestinian elections should be included in any discussions of peace. Rabbi Steiner argued that a “democratically elected Hitler is not the leader of a democracy. It is also why there is reason to doubt the Hamas election – not to interfere – but to doubt.”

My reply to the Rabbi’s comments was that I understood his argument that a democratically elected Hitler is not a leader of a democracy and stated that I see his point about the election of Hamas. I then stated that I can turn around and state the same thing about the Netanyahu government; that it is like Hitler’s regime in as much as it has the Shas party within its coalition. This comparison is on point as Hitler wanted to “annihilate” the Jews and Ovadia Yousef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, wants to “annihilate” the Palestinians. While the Shas party has not “yet” sent suicide bombers, they are a part of the ruling coalition government which continues to torture political prisoners, demolish homes, uproot olive trees, and ethnically cleanse East Jerusalem and the West Bank……all the while Israel states it wants to negotiate peace with the Palestinians.

Can the Palestinians, say to Israel, they will not negotiate with Israel because of the Shas party? I think not. By the same token, neither can Israel nor the US impose on the Palestinians who can our representative them. One of my problems with Abbas is that he has not defended the free and open elections that elected the representative of the Palestinian people.

I also stated that I do not agree with what Hamas has done—although I read Khalid Mishaal’s last press interview and I found his reasoning, for the most part, quite normal. I do not condone suicide bombers or rockets being launched against innocent citizens. Nor do I condone the open air prison that Israel has imposed on the Palestinians of Gaza and I certainly do not like the fact that Abbas has not more forcefully objected to Israel’s genocidal blockade. I do, however, advocate the Palestinian right as an occupied people to resist the occupation.

Rabbi Steiner advised me not to compare Ovadia Yousef to Hitler. I questioned the Rabbi as to how can he can advise me not to make this comparison when Israel was comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to Hitler. If Ovadia Yousef’s party ever wins enough seats to lead a coalition government in Israel, I as a Palestinian would be terrified given the fact that Israel has the atomic bomb. Israeli fear of a nuclear Iran given the statements of its President to annihilate Israel has the same foundation of fear that Palestinians possess of Ovadia Yousef and his call for the annihilation of Palestinians.

My point is this; I cannot tell the Israelis that they cannot have the Shas party within their coalition government just as Israel cannot tell Palestinians that Hamas cannot be in a Palestinian government. Abbas, as the Palestinian president, failed miserably in not defending the free and open democratic election of the Palestinian people. Israel and the US were utterly wrong in not wanting to negotiate with Hamas.

I am not saying that Palestinians should not negotiate with Israel because of the Shas party being in the Israeli coalition government. I am saying that Israel and the US should negotiate with Palestinians with Hamas included. Palestinians cannot dictate to Israel who will represent it just as Israeli leaders cannot tell Palestinians who can represent them. The problem with Abbas is he allowed Israel and the US to dictate to him who can and who cannot represent the Palestinian people. That is wrong and Abbas for that incident alone should resign. See my articlePresident Abbas Has Rendered Himself Meaningless And Must Therefore Resignhttp://arabisto.com/article/Blogs/Fadi_Zanayed/President_Abbas_Has_Rendered_Himself_Meaningless_And_Must_Therefore_Resign/83471&authorizedAccess

Hamas has been totally excluded from peace talks although they are technically the ruling party within the Palestinian Parliament—having won a clear majority of seats in the last elections. Hamas won not because of its anti-Israeli stance but because it delivered social services to the Palestinian people while Fatah was accused of corruption and nepotism. Fatah, having been the ruling party for the prior decade, did not deliver peace and the Palestinian people wanted a change. They ousted Fatah and voted for Hamas. The will of the Palestinian people was not respected and Abbas allowed Israel and the US to step all over the people’s dignity.

Additionally, Abbas said nothing of the Shas Party. He did not tell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he would not negotiate with them as long as the Hitler like Shas party is a part of the Israeli government. Yet, Netanyahu has the audacity to demand of the Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

Ironically, Israeli leaders do not acknowledge the adage “what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.” Israel can dictate but does not want to be dictated to. Israel can make demands upon the Palestinians, i.e. demand that Palestinians recognize the State of Israel, demand that the PLO remove from its Charter the call for the destruction of Israel and demand to be recognized as a Jewish State; but no demands can be made upon Israel. Israel can make a comparison between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to Hitler but no one can make a comparison of Ovadia Yousef to Hitler.

The Israeli national hysteria with the holocaust rightfully can say “never again” yet it cannot look the other way when a Jew, a spiritual leader no less, says “again” to the annihilation of another people. “Never again” should refer to never again to the annihilation of any people not to the annihilation of Jews alone.

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About Fadi Zanayed

Fadi Zanayed is a moderate Palestinian, an author, poet, community activist and an attorney since 1985. A graduate from Loyola University with a B.S. in Managerial Accounting and a minor in Political Science in 1983, he received his law degree from Loyola School of Law in 1985. A Palestinian American whose family originates from Ramallah, Palestine, Fadi Zanayed is an active and proud member of the Arab American community with a long history of community leadership and service. They include: Founding Member of Arab-American Bar Association of Illinois, Inc.; Former Regional Director & Past President, Chicago Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Past President of the Chicago Chapter of the Palestinian American Congress; Past National Secretary of the Palestinian American Congress; Past President of the Chicago Club of Ramallah, Palestine; Past Member of the Board of the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine; Past President of the American Youth Federation of Ramallah, Palestine. He is the author of Cycle of Frustration: A collection of poems about Palestine; and Betrayal, Sorrow and Tomorrow (pen name: Chris F. Wollinks). He attended the September 13, 1993 peace signing ceremony of the Oslo Accords in the White House Rose Garden and was one of the first Palestinians to call for the recognition of Israel as early as 1980. Since then he has been a disillusioned with the never ending peace process.

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