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UPDATED: Israeli settler abuse compared to pre-Holocaust Europe

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The head of Israel's largest Holocaust memorial, Holocaust-survivor Yosef Lapid, said that the behavior of some of Israel's settler's toward Palestinians reminded him of the anti-semitism before WWII.

Referring to a recently televised incident in which: "a Hebron settler woman hiss[ed] "whore" at her Palestinian neighbour and settler children lobb[ed] rocks at Arab homes," the sometimes fiery Lapid commented on Israeli radio:

"It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn," he said.

"I was afraid to go to school, because of the little anti-Semites who used to lay in ambush on the way and beat us up. How is that different from a Palestinian child in Hebron?"

Settlers responded with anger but Lapid's follow up was even more withering:

"When we impose upon ourselves, and rightly so, the restriction of not comparing in any way or under any condition, the behavior of Jews to the behavior of Nazis, we forget that anti-Semitism only peaked in Auschwitz," Lapid wrote in Maariv.

"It is unthinkable for the memory of Auschwitz to serve as cause to ignore the fact that there are Jews among us who behave today towards Palestinians just like German, Hungarian, Polish and other anti-Semites behaved towards Jews," he added.

And not just directed at others: "I tolerated this silently as justice minister too..."

Now, before cries of: The Jews are Nazis! Israelis are Nazis! erupt from the peanut gallery, read on to note three things. 1.) The thriving peace movement. 2.) A fiery statement from the head of one of the larger political parties and 3.) The fact that all of this was documented in the Israeli papers, TV and radio:

Hebron, home to only 400 Israeli settlers, was descended upon by almost as many Israeli protesters:

"Some 250 Peace Now activists on Thursday demonstrated on a road north of the West Bank city of Hebron over alleged ongoing violence exhibited by settlers against a Palestinian family in the city."

Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin said at the protest that "if Peace Now is prohibited from demonstrating in Hebron, while this group of insane radicals [the settlers] is allowed to demonstrate in Hebron all day, every day, I am speechless."

Hat tip to John Harrison.

UPDATE: In response to "Abu Doofus"'s comments below about Meretz and the peace movement, I say....

Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.

 
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