Warsaw and Gaza : An Inevitable Comparison

New York Times, May 10th, 1943: ‘Warsaw Ghetto Uprising an Over-Reaction.’ From Kevin Dayhoff’s Storage Closet. Click for larger image..

In 1943 members of the Jewish population dug in and organized a poorly armed last-ditch resistance. They were crushed by a heavily armed and massive German army assault.

By Jay D. Jurie / The Rag Blog / January 10, 2009

As a number of commentators have observed, there is a comparison to be made between the concentration of Jews into the Warsaw ghetto 1939-45 and the current concentration of Palestinians into the Gaza strip.

There are some eerie similarities: the deliberate isolation and containment of an entire population, complete with walls and checkpoints, the imposition of slow death through deprivation of essential resources, including food and medical care.

In 1943 members of the Jewish population dug in and organized a poorly armed last-ditch resistance. They were crushed by a heavily armed and massive German army assault. In Gaza, Hamas has likewise dug in and is conducting an ill-equipped resistance against a heavily armed and massive Israeli Defense Force assault.

A minor dissimilarity: contrary to mythology that has been erected about the Warsaw uprising, that revolt was largely organized by secular left-wing elements rather than the Zionist movement.

A more significant dissimilarity: in Warsaw, the Jewish population was subject to direct eradication, forcibly loaded onto trains for transport to Nazi extermination camps.

Regardless of dissimilarities, in 2009 it is sad that any comparison with Warsaw in 1943 can be so easily made, especially as it involves reversing the role of the former victims and today’s perpetrators.

One of the lessons to be drawn from this experience is that no particular ethnic group holds a monopoly on truth, just as no group holds a monopoly on suffering. As we have been admonished by Albert Camus, “neither victims nor executioners be.”

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1 Response to Warsaw and Gaza : An Inevitable Comparison

  1. Mike Hanks says:

    It is true that a vastly different prologue and fundamentally different circumstances exist to differentiate the Warsaw ghetto from Gaza.

    And, never having experienced it, I’m not sure what I would do towards those whose imperative is the cessation of my existence.

    But I somehow believe this is a time when an opportunity exist for a people of righteousness to set an example, to inform and enlighten a world seemingly in darkness.

    And I am sad to see that the time may be slipping away … and with it, one more hope for a better future for mankind.

    I hope I’m wrong.

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