Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Reversing the roles of victim and perpetrator
Liberazione the daily of the Italian Communist Party (Rifondazione) has done it again on May 12,2006.Comparing the conditions of the Gaza strip with those of the annihilation camp Auschwitz-Birkenau is minimizing the crimes of National Socialism. Probably this was not their intention, but this is the outcome. On the gate of Auschwitz-Birkenau one could see “Arbeit macht frei”, “Work makes you free”. The Italian caricaturist of Liberazione put on the gate of Gaza strip “Hunger makes you free”.“The way in which Israel’s policies are placed in comparison with National Socialism, to an extent not found in any other political conflict, and in which the Israeli state is accused of planning ethnic cleansing and even genocide, demonstrates that the intention is to relativize the Jews’ status as victims of Holocaust by reversing the roles of victim and perpetrator. This has a double effect: on the one hand, Jews and the state of Israel are delegitimized as critics of events in other countries, because the accusation of anti-Semitism appears to be nothing but an instrument to brush off criticism of Israel…Over the last few years, a specific type of conversational dynamic has appeared in everyday communication. As with all crises, the events in the Middle East represents a starting point for a political conversation, and thus allow unequivocal criticism of Israel, with the expectation of agreement or, at the very least, of not receiving the moral disapproval that would be expected for anti-Semitism.”Werner Bergmann/ Wilhelm Heitmeyer: “Communicating anti-Semitism".