Common Grounds

Our Wednesday News Analysis | Why we have to make the Jewish Ghetto comparison

January 10, 2024

Source: Mondoweiss


Published January 7, 2024


The horror of the past has returned in a new guise, and the comparison of the Jewish ghetto under Nazism with the Gaza ghetto under Israel’s current fascistic authority must cease to be sacrilegious.

Our Wednesday News Analysis | Why we have to make the Jewish Ghetto comparison




“Gaza is not a concentration camp anymore; it is an extermination camp.
… what unites all manner of genocides is their unfathomable cruelty and their dizzying inhumanity.
The apocalyptic character of this mass erasure of humankind paralyzes speech and reason."



Comparisons are not about exact identities. One can always level criticism at a comparison and claim that it is imperfect. But such a judgement is inherently flawed, since comparisons are not intended to mark identity, but to underscore some shared features — critical features, to be sure, not incidental or ancillary ones.


To compare the Jewish Ghetto under Nazism with the Gaza ghetto may be profoundly disturbing; but should we look away from that similitude to avert our gaze from the horror that is unfolding now, and which, according to several expert commentators, is unprecedented in modern history? Consider the enormity and the speed with which the slaughter of innocent civilians is now taking place. Beyond the horrendous killings achieved through relentless airstrikes there is the premeditated act of depriving a besieged population of its basic necessities: food, fuel, medicine and water. There is the humiliation of both old and young men, stripped virtually naked and executed extra-judicially. Are these intentional acts of genocide not reminiscent of Nazism? Gaza, as some have called it, is not a concentration camp anymore; it is an extermination camp.


A comparison of the Gaza ghetto with the Jewish ghetto under Nazism may well spawn a debate about distinct genocidal agendas. But that discussion digresses from the central point. Differences and variations aside, what unites all manner of genocides is their unfathomable cruelty, their dizzying inhumanity. So aberrant are these acts of annihilation that they defy language. Speech and reason are stymied, disabled, and paralyzed by the apocalyptic character of this mass erasure of humankind...


Read more: Why we have to make the Jewish Ghetto comparison





Source: The Sunday Times


By Amal Helles, al-Mawasi, Gaza | Louise Callaghan, Middle East correspondent
Published December 30, 2023


Bombing has displaced more than a million in Gaza — but none of them are safe from hunger


Palestinians in Rafah are desperate for food but aid is drying up


The IDF says this is a safe area.
But not from hunger, diseases, or thirst that will kill just the same as a bullet will.
“This place is like a desert, all sand,” Subeh said. “We are so tired.”



In the wasteland of al-Mawasi encampment in Gaza, hunger is everywhere. It is in the handfuls of dirty flour that mothers try to knead to make bread for their children. It is in the fires, stoked with plastic bottles, which produce nothing but choking black smoke. It is in the children who no longer play but lie around, exhausted. It is in food that is rotten and makes you sick but is eaten just the same. It is in Camellia Subeh’s breast, which no longer produces milk for her baby son.


“My other sons keep saying, ‘Mum, I’m dizzy, I have a headache,” said the mother of five, sitting outside a shelter she built on the mud from scraps of plastic and wood.


Subeh and her children left their home in northern Gaza weeks ago on the instructions of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), which dropped leaflets telling people in their area to come here, to three square miles of rubbish-strewn dunes and pockmarked fields with no tents, food, water supply or any infrastructure to support the displaced.


The IDF says this is a safe area. Perhaps it is safe from the bombs that have destroyed Gaza’s cities and towns. But not from hunger, diseases or thirst that will kill just the same as a bullet will. “This place is like a desert, all sand,” Subeh said. “We are so tired.”


Read more: Children eat rotten food, adults hunt cats: famine is coming for Gaza





Source: Dawn


By Tariq Suleman
Published January 6, 2024


THE overwhelming Israeli response to the actions of Hamas on October 7 has sparked a global outcry, critical of the disproportionality of these measures. This response, while reflective of a widespread humanitarian concern, warrants a deeper examination within the historical and ideological frameworks of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly through the lens of early Zionist thought.


This approach not only sheds light on the current situation but also provides an opportunity to re-examine the underlying factors that continue to shape this conflict.



"Israel, established with settler-colonial roots, faces a critical juncture where its prolonged occupation of Palestine is neither sustainable nor tenable."



Within this context, recent discussions suggest that Israel might be using these events as a pretext to further its long-held objective of a sparsely populated Palestinian territory. Importantly, the desire for a largely uninhabited Palestine has been a subject of debate within various Zionist ideologies.


The Gaza conflict necessitates an understanding of Zionism’s ideological and strategic shifts. Key Zionist figures like Ahad Ha’am, advocating cultural Zionism and coexistence, and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, championing strong military defence, provide crucial context.


These diverse viewpoints illuminate the strategies and policies of Israel’s contemporary governance, especially under Net­anyahu’s government, which pursues a strategy of “total victory” against Hamas, reflecting aspects of Zionism’s early principles. Understanding these historical influences is vital for comprehending the complexities of the ongoing conflict.


Zionism, as a movement, encompassed diverse views on Palestine and its inhabitants. Contrary to the popular Zionist slogan “for a people without a land, a land without a people”, not all within the movement agreed with this sentiment. Ahad Ha’am, in his 1891 essay ‘Truth from Eretz Yisrael’, recognised Palestine’s existing Arab population, critiquing early Zionist settlers for overlooking this fact and cautioning that such disregard could lead to future conflicts.


Advocating for an ethical Zionism, Ahad Ha’am prioritised coexistence and cultural revival over political control, acknowledging the challenges of establishing a Jewish homeland in an already inhabited region. His work diverged from the then-dominant narrative of an uninhabited Palestine...


Read more: Zionism’s ideological shifts


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