Netanyahu’s Shadow: The Bleak Reality of Remembrance Day in the Wake of Gaza’s Tragedy

Travaglio's insightful critique on Holocaust Remembrance Day, revealing Netanyahu's role in blurring lines between criticism and antisemitism

In Marco Travaglio’s January 25, 2024, article for the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Holocaust Remembrance Day is portrayed as overshadowed by a surge in antisemitism, with particular criticism aimed at Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government. Travaglio charges Netanyahu with conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, thereby fostering inappropriate comparisons between the Shoah and Israeli actions in Gaza. The article underscores the severity of the recent conflict in Gaza, which has eclipsed previous Arab-Israeli conflicts in terms of casualties, and concludes with a call to remember these events and the necessity for political change in Israel.

Amnesia Day

by Marco Travaglio

On January 27th, we will commemorate the bleakest Holocaust Remembrance Day since the UN established it in 2005, to honor the victims of the Shoah on the anniversary of the Red Army liberating the survivors of the Nazi Auschwitz camp in 1945. Never before has our collective memory been so tainted by a resurgence of antisemitism: the old hatreds reemerging from the sewers and the new forms infecting even the least expected, particularly among the young, who are largely ignorant of history. The tragic irony of this grim resurgence of antisemitism is that the prime culprit is the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu, along with the leaders, intellectuals, and media that support or fail to condemn him (which amounts to the same thing). Sadly, this includes many leaders of the Jewish communities, too preoccupied with labeling as pro-Hamas antisemites anyone who criticizes Israel, to notice that they are fueling the absurd equation of “Netanyahu equals Israel equals Jews”. This leads to absurd parallels between the Holocaust, the genocide of genocides, and the horrific war crimes committed by the Israeli government in Gaza. Or to using the 25,000 Palestinians killed in the Strip as a pretext to deny Israel’s right to exist by distorting history. The October 7 pogrom by Hamas against 1,300 Israeli Jews had sparked a wave of global sympathy and solidarity for Israel. But in over 100 days of fierce retaliation in Gaza, Bibi has managed to make Israel more loathed and hated than ever before.

Since 1948, not as many Jews had died in a single day as on October 7. None of the Arab-Israeli conflicts had claimed as many lives as the Gaza massacre. The first war between the Arab League (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) and Israel in 1948-49 lasted a year and resulted in 6,000 Israeli deaths (2,000 civilians) and 10,000 Arab (mostly military) casualties. The Suez War between Egypt and Israel in 1956 lasted eight days and resulted in 1,000 Egyptian and 180 Israeli deaths. In the Six-Day War of 1967 between Israel and the Arab League, 700 Israeli soldiers and 20,000 Arabs lost their lives. During the 36 days of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, 2,300 Israeli soldiers, 12,000 Egyptians, and 3,000 Syrians perished. The 25,000 civilians killed in Gaza over 100 days in an (unsuccessful) attempt to defeat Hamas is unparalleled in the long and bloody Arab-Israeli conflict. And now, those who are uninformed or forgetful will remember only Gaza in their memories. At least until Netanyahu is ousted and condemned.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, January 25, 2024


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