Thursday, January 8, 2009

President Chavez's Abuse of the Holocaust

edited 9:20 a.m.

Please note: this list is still in formation. If you would like to add your signature to those of the other Holocaust scholars and academics listed below, please contact

The David S. Wyman Institute is preparing the following letter.

Hon. Hugo Chavez
c/o Embassy of The Republic of Venezuela
1099 30th Street NW
Washington DC 20007
via email:

To His Excellency, President Hugo Chavez:

As Holocaust and genocide scholars, we are deeply troubled by your statement that Israel is carrying out “a Holocaust” in Gaza, and that Israeli President Shimon Peres should be prosecuted for genocide. (Reuters, Jan. 7, 2009)

The Holocaust was the deliberate, systematic mass murder of six million innocent Jews by Germany and its collaborators. By contrast, Israel is acting in legitimate self-defense against Hamas terrorism; has no interest in harming innocent residents of Gaza; and indeed has done its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, whereas Hamas deliberately targets Israeli civilians. Any comparison between Israel and the Nazis outrageously distorts Israel's actions and trivializes the enormity and nature of the Holocaust.

We note that the U.S. State Department, in its report last year on global antisemitism, included “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as an example of antisemitism. (Sec. 1:7)

We therefore urge you to retract your comparisons of Israel to the Nazis and refrain from making any such comparisons in the future.


Prof. David S. Wyman
University of Massachusetts-Amherst (emer.)
Author, The Abandonment of the Jews

Prof. Shlomo Aronson
Hebrew University (emer.) / University of Arizona
Author of Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews

Prof. Michael Berenbaum
Director, Ziering Institute on the Holocaust, American Jewish University
Research Director (emer.), United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
President (emer.), Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

Dr. Paul R. Bartrop
Head, Department of History. Bialik College (Australia)
Author, False Havens: The British Empire and the Holocaust

Prof. Zev Garber
Los Angeles Valley College
Editor, Studies in the Shoah

Dr. Myrna Goldenberg
Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Holocaust Studies, The Richard Stockton State College, NJ
Coauthor, Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis, and the Holocaust

Dr. Irving Greenberg
Past President, Jewish Life Network
Past Chairman, United States Holocaust Memorial Council

Dr. Alex Grobman
Institute for Contemporary Jewish Life
Author, Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust

Dr. Elvira Groezinger
Institut fuer Jdaistik
Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany
Author, Die jiddische Kultur im Schatten der Diktaturen

Prof. Susannah Heschel
Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
Author, Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs
The University of Alabama
Author, Christian Religious Responsed to the Shoah

Prof. Kevin Lewis
Dept. of Religious Studies
University of South Carolina
Fulbright Senior Lecturer, Islamic Univ. of Gaza, Fall 1998

Mitchell Lieber
Director and Editor, Educational Web Site
(the Holocaust in Latvia) - Chicago, IL

Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt
Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies
Emory University
Author, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving

Rev. Dr. Franklin H. Littell
Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religion, Temple University
Founder, Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust

Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell
Professor Holocaust & Genocide Studies - Richard Stockton College of NJ
Executive DIrector, Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust

Dr. Erich H. Loewy
Professor of Medicine and Founding Chair of Bioethics (emer.)
University of California, Davis
Author, Freedom and Community

Dr. Sharon. R. Lowenstein
Author, Token Refuge

Prof. Andrei S. Markovits
Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Author, The German Predicament

Dr. Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Author, Blowing the Whistle on Genocide

Prof. Stephen H. Norwood
University of Oklahoma
Coeditor, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History

Prof. David Novak
J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Professor of Jewish Studies
University of Toronto

Prof. Paul Oppenheimer
City College and Graduate Center, the City University of New York
Author of Evil and the Demonic

Prof. Zsuzanna Ozsvath
University of Texas at Dallas
Author, In the Footsteps of Orpheus

Prof. David Patterson
Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies, The University of Memphis
Author, Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature

Prof. Robert Jan van Pelt
University Professor, University of Waterloo
Author, The Case for Auschwitz

Dr. Susan L. Pentlin
Professor Emeritus University of Missouri
New Editor, Mary Berg's Diary: Growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto

Prof. Allen Podet
State University of New York College at Buffalo
Author, The Anglo-American Committee on Palestine

Prof. Eunice G. Pollack
University of North Texas
Coeditor, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History

Prof. Harry Reicher
University of Pennsylvania Law School;
Scholar-in-Residence, Touro Law Center
Author, Holocaust Law: Materials and Commentary

Prof. Paul L. Rose
Pennsylvania State University
Editor, Archives of the Holocaust (Vol. XIV)

Prof. Thane Rosenbaum
Director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society
Fordham University School of Law
Author, The Myth of Moral Justice

Prof. Richard L. Rubenstein
President Emeritus, University of Bridgeport
Author, After Auschwitz

Dr. Mary Todd
Professor of History
Ohio Dominican University

Prof. Kenneth Waltzer
Professor and Director, Jewish Studies
Michigan State University

Prof. James E. Young
Chair, Department of Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, U. of Mass. Amherst
Author, Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust
Member, Academic Council, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Prof. John C. Zimmerman
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Author, Holocaust Denial

(Institutions listed for identification purposes only.)


dan said...

gaza PLO propaganda...

also TYPO ALERT above, should be ACADEMICS, with an S ....not academic, singular.....plural not are not reading your emails again hehe

kashmir said...

Felicitarla por su aporte en cuanto al tema de "Angel at the Fence" de Herman Rosenblat.

Su labor intelectual y social fue muy importante para salvaguardar la memoria de nuestro mundo.

Saludos de Buenos Aires.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Israel's actions in Gaza are of course not a Holocaust--if they wanted to slaughter Gazans in larger numbers they could.

They are still war crimes.

You can be a war criminal without being a Nazi.

hockey hound said...

"The Holocaust was the deliberate, systematic mass murder of six million innocent Jews by Germany and its collaborators. By contrast, Israel is acting in legitimate self-defense against Hamas terrorism; has no interest in harming innocent residents of Gaza; and indeed has done its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, whereas Hamas deliberately targets Israeli civilians. Any comparison between Israel and the Nazis outrageously distorts Israel's actions and trivializes the enormity and nature of the Holocaust."

Exactly. Well said, Prof. Lipstadt.

President Chavez's incongruous comparison of Israel's defence of her Jewish citizens and their precarious existence in the Middle East with that of Nazi Germany's zealously orchestrated genocide against the Jewish people reminds me of Mark Twain's remark that, "Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid."

I saw on the news this morning that there was a large pro-Israel rally in the city of Berlin, Germany. Seeing this made me break down and cry.

"If I forget Jerusalem..."

Your friends are with you, Prof. Lipstadt, and with the Jews of Israel. Hang in there.

Hockey Hound

hockey hound said...

gaza PLO propaganda...

Exactly, Dan. Thankyou.

hockey hound said...

"if they wanted to slaughter Gazans in larger numbers they could."

Conversely, Hamas and their band of merry men want intensely to kill Jews in large numbers, even to the point of genocide (as per their Islam-based constitution), but can't. Thank G-D for that.

It's a war crime for Hamas to "invite" weapons fire from Israeli positions by launching rockets and mortars at Israel's civilian-populated areas from civilian-populated areas of Gaza. Hamas loves taking human life is all; doesn't matter to them whether its Palestinian or Jewish. It's not the fault of Israel's military or their government that Hamas' religious Muslims do not respect the civilian content of their constituency (read: those who voted Hamas into power in Gaza).

You fail, as did Fisk, as does every apologist for Islam, to address the exterminationist elements within the ideology of Islam, the tenets of which are followed zealously by terrorist groups such as Hamas. It is this same "exterminationist element" the IDF is now defending its Jewish population against.

Stephen Plaut points out that the Tamil Tigers have killed more Muslim civilians than have the Israeli Defence Force, yet, and strangely so, the leading voices of Islam have been strangely silent about these deaths. It's only when Jews are defending themselves from an intented, religiously inspired genocide that the world is discomposed and given to protestations against Israel's "disproportionate response". Der oilem iz a goilem. The masses are asses, if you ask me.

Jack Engelhard writes, 'Now you’re up and about? Now you speak? Where were you when, throughout the years, thousands of jihadist bombs fell on Israel? The streets of Europe were empty. There were no pictures in the newspapers of grieving Jewish mothers and fathers. You called it “peace” as long as the Arabs were doing the killing and the Jews were doing the dying. All was well with the world.'

Are you the same GOM who recounts on his blog site the apologist [for Islam] Fisk as saying that "Twenty Israelis dead in 10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed" (as compared to "600 Palestinians dead in just over a week, thousands over the years since 1948 – when the Israeli massacre at Deir Yassin helped to kick-start the flight of Palestinians from that part of Palestine that was to become Israel – is on a quite different scale")? If you are that GOM, please clarify which numbers and statements are yours and which numbers and statements are Fisk's.

You might want to see some of this guy's blogs (, Prof. Lipstadt, especially his rendition of the history of the Middle East. Of all places, why would he come to a blog dedicated to preserving the memory of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews in order to complain about Israel's so-called "war crimes"? Seems a wee bit nasty to me.

I will leave with you, Prof. Lipstadt, one of GOM's noetic utterances from that blog page copied above. You will be interested in rebutting this guy's politics, I'm sure:

"The Holocaust is a far more horrible and emotional concept than McCarthyism, and the battle over who can appropriate it for what purpose rages on. There are those who contend it is unique and incommensurable with any other event or series of events in history, while others would confine its use to mass genocides such as in Rwanda or Cambodia. In part this notion of the Holocaust as sui generis is part of an effort to use horror at the Nazi murders as an emotion-evoking symbol to try to unify an otherwise discordant Jewish community, and to discredit criticism of Israeli policy."

And another quote by GOM:

'...the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis, now conventionally and inappropriately called the "Holocaust" (because the Biblical holocaust was part of a religious ritual, and there was nothing sacred or holy about the Nazi mass murders), is used to refer to everything from other genocides, to Israeli misdeeds against Palestinians, to the factory farming of chickens, as in PETA's notorious "Holocaust on your plate" campaign.'

Der oilem iz a goilem.

Tadhg Ó Muiris said...

The BBC reported on February 28, 2008, that Matan Vilnai, Israeli Deputy Defence Minister, said Palestinians risked a "shoah". Speaking on Israel Army Radio, Mr Vilnai said if Palestinians increased rocket fire, they would bring upon themselves a "shoah". It should be pointed out to Mr. Vilnai, of course, that "holocaust" refers only to the mass murder of Jewish people, not Palestinians.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Shoah is a Hebrew word meaning complete annihilation. It is used -- not frequently -- but often enough in common Hebrew conversation, e.g. to describe a tremendous fire or other cataclysmic event.

marosy said...

Nothing can justify the killing of innocent civilians.
Holocaust is a Greek word meaning holos, "completely" and kaustos, "burnt". According to Human Rights Watch Israel is using white phosphorus munitions, this has the effect of burning the skin of the people.
The word "Holocaust" existed before WWII. No one can have exclusive rights on words.
President Chavez has the right to freely speak and no one can deny this right.
I must say, I agree with president Chavez.

David Ben-Ariel said...

Chavez hates the American, British and Jewish peoples, Israel and Judah, and his latest outrage proves he must hate the plain truth of the Bible and history too.

David Ben-Ariel,
Author, Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall

David Ben-Ariel said...

Thanks for your support of the petition to Pres. Chavez, but it was completed last week and sent to the Venezuelan Embassy at that time.

best wishes,

Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Washington, D.C

hockey hound said...

"Nothing can justify the killing of innocent civilians."

Could you please foward this message to Hamas, Marosy? (I'm not on their email list.) They have this thing about killing civilians, no matter whether Jewish or Muslim. If only we could convince them to stop dragging their civilian electorate into war with Israel.

hockey hound said...

By Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that Palestine , the country, goes back through most of recorded history, I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine :

1. When was it founded and by whom?
2. What were its borders?
3. What was its capital?
4. What were its major cities?
5. What constituted the basis of its economy?
6. What was its form of government?
7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?
8. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no

room for interpretation?
9. What was the language of the country of ** Palestine **?
10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of ** Palestine **?
11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the

approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German

mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date.
12. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it


You are lamenting the 'low sinking' of a 'once proud' nation. Please tell me when exactly was that 'nation' proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all:

If the people you mistakenly call 'Palestinians' are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over -- or thrown out of -- the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs
suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day 'Palestinians' to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying ** Israel **; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight ** Israel ** by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it 'the Palestinian people' and installed it in ** Gaza **, **Judea** and ** Samaria **. How else can you explain the refusal by ** Jordan ** and ** Egypt ** to unconditionally accept back the '**West Bank**' and ** Gaza **, respectively?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so-called 'Palestinians' have only one motivation: the destruction of ** Israel **, and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a nation' – or anything else except what they really are: a terrorist organization that
will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the ** Middle East **. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay ** Israel ** reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel 's ancient sovereignty over Gaza , Judea and Samaria .

That will mark the end of the Palestinian people.
What are you saying again was its beginning ?**