A piece in The Age yesterday (by Dvir Albramovich) listed various ways the Holocaust has been trivialised by western comedians. I agree that such humour is in poor taste (although I disagree that the movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ starring Roberto Benigni, that Albramovich criticises, trivialised the Holocaust – it was, in my view, unrelentingly anti-Nazi even if it was unorthodox*).
In the same edition of The Age Israel is recorded as warning the Palestinians that they face a ‘holocaust’ if they continue to launch rocket attacks on Israel. The report is overall very hostile toward Israel. Presumably the Age got this report from Reuters or the BBC.
Melanie Phillips argues that the word ‘Holocaust’ is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word ‘shoah’ which generally means disaster. The word is used to describe the holocaust but describes a broader set of calamitous situations than the Holocaust. It is not an innocent mistake. For example, the word ‘death’ includes the idea of ‘murder’ but it is wrong to say when a ‘death’ occurs that that is inevitably a ‘murder’.
The misrepresentation seems to have first been made by Reuters. It provided Hamas with one of their vile, deceitful propaganda victories – the Jews are ‘new Nazis who want to kill and burn the Palestinian people’. This is a convenient deception and exaggeration as Hamas continues to pour rocket attacks on Israel and Israel asserts its right to defend itself.
If Phillips is correct The Age – and numerous other newspapers who took the Reuter’s story – has again indulged itself in poor quality journalism. They should clarify matters quickly and immediately.
Update: 54 Palestinian’s were killed yesterday and 2 Israeli’s as Hamas continues to fire rockets and shake its fist at Israel. Why did the Palestinians elect such so-called leaders? Hamas is a terrorist organisation that attacks innocent civilian communities in Israel and then feins shock outrage when Israel responds with force to terrorist attacks. Hamas argues that Israel is trying to destroy it. Hmmmm.
*Many others, including Robert Manne, have criticised this movie on similar grounds. The movie won 3 Oscars and gets my award for a touching poignant analysis. (209)