The Blanket

Index: Current Articles

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis..
- Dante



Wrong Comparisons


Larry Otway


My Dear Brother Brendan:

When you were on hunger strike, I made an etching, used to support you and the other hunger strikers. That is still the image I have of you. My father is Anglo Irish, and my mother half Roma and half Russian of Jewish extraction.

I am completely against the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory, which I hope we see as a Palestinian State, soon, very soon, at once in fact. However, I must say, that use of rhetoric which shows a lack of understanding of the uniqueness of the Holocaust, not only for Jewish people, but for Roma, exterminated for their race, weakens your point with those who are your allies.

What Israel is doing is criminal. However, though one cannot create a hierarchy of oppression, what is happening in the Palestinian territories is in no way mechanized genocide. It is very like the illegal occupation of Ireland, and certainly more violent than any year I can think of in Ireland in the past seventy years or so. But the Nazi state was unique. The history of the US, with its (at least) 55 million Africans murdered in mid passage comes close, but is still different.

There were visceral things that my father could not know, but I understood from the inherited understanding that if I were there I would not be here. On our Romani side, one in three of Europe's Roma were burned in ovens, tortured, experimented upon, during the Poramous (the devouring). It would take a book to explain the difference.

There is evil enough in the world without having to make comparisons of this kind. The present government of Israel is doing an evil thing, and the voices against this evil will be stronger if there is understanding shown in expressing our outrage.

I would also point out, that the record of the IRA and INLA on the avoidance of targeting civilians is an obvious and a matter of record. In that light, condemnation of bombings which target civilians would also be appropriate. In the same light, the Israeli targeting of journalists is a matter that must be condemned in the strongest terms.



Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives