For years, the reckless use of Nazi analogies in public discourse has been decried, with historians vehemently opposing their misuse. From mislabeling US border facilities as "concentration camps" to likening advocates of Covid vaccines to "medical brown shirts," such comparisons have often distorted historical facts and minimized the gravity of Nazi atrocities.
However, the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel has shifted the narrative. While acknowledging that the attack was not identical to the Nazi Holocaust, the undeniable points of similarity warrant a closer examination. The mentality of the killers draws unsettling parallels — more than 1 million Jews were shot at close range by the Nazis, a method mirrored in the Hamas attack on kibbutzim across southern Israel.
Scholars highlight the role of "eliminationist" antisemitic ideology, reminiscent of genocidal thinking prevalent in Nazi Germany, now mirrored in the media and schools under the influence of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Dehumanizing propaganda depicting Jews as rats, spiders, or lice, along with the celebration of the Oct. 7 pogrom by the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction, echoes the disturbing narrative of Nazi ideology.
Furthermore, the act of photographing atrocities by Hamas killers mirrors a chilling similarity to the Nazis. While historical events may never align perfectly, the acknowledgment of these parallels is crucial when contemporary actions echo the depths of Nazi barbarism. The Oct. 7 incident has indeed altered aspects of our public discourse, prompting a necessary examination of the uncomfortable echoes from history that should not be overlooked.
The dark pages of history reveal haunting echoes between the atrocities committed by Nazi storm troopers and the recent actions of Hamas pogromists. The use of photography to document brutality, as seen in the infamous albums of death camp commandants, finds a modern counterpart in Hamas members utilizing social media platforms to broadcast their heinous acts. The technology may be new, but the abhorrent mindset persists.
Hamas' utilization of sexual violence as a weapon on Oct. 7 draws chilling parallels to earlier Arab pogroms and the Holocaust itself. Survivors' accounts from the 1929 Hebron atrocities and documented instances during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war attest to the horrifying continuity of such acts. The Shoah Foundation's oral history archive, with over 1,700 survivor testimonies, further emphasizes the historical prevalence of sexual violence.
Beyond these harrowing parallels, one cannot overlook the concerning similarities in prevailing attitudes. While not identical, the complacency of certain American universities during the 1930s towards Nazi Germany mirrors today's universities turning a blind eye to Hamas supporters intimidating Jewish students. Institutions like Bard College, George Washington University, and William Paterson University's joint programs with Palestinian Arab universities, where Hamas operates freely, reflect a disconcerting continuity.
Furthermore, the emergence of Oct. 7 denial, akin to Holocaust denial, signals a troubling pattern. As history echoes in contemporary events, it is imperative to confront these unsettling parallels and ensure that the lessons of the past are not overlooked or dismissed in the face of evolving horrors.
Queen Rania of Jordan's recent statement casting doubt on verified reports of Israeli children found butchered in a kibbutz highlights a disturbing trend of denial and misinformation. The Council on American-Islamic Relations' dismissal of beheading reports as "unverified" and "war propaganda" further muddies the waters.
While the Jewish people are no longer in the same position of powerlessness as in the 1940s, the discovery of an Arabic-language copy of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in a Gaza apartment speaks volumes. The room, once a children's space, had been commandeered by Hamas for their operations. Marginal notes in the book, made by a studying terrorist, underscore the chilling reality that nearly a century after its release, Hitler's manifesto of antisemitism and violence remains a potent weapon. In this landscape, where a sovereign Jewish state and a powerful Jewish army exist, the question arises: have the mindset or tactics of the enemies of the Jews truly evolved?
The evidence suggests a disheartening continuity, emphasizing the urgent need to confront and combat persistent antisemitism and its lethal manifestations. Rafael Medoff, founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, underscores this pressing reality in the face of ongoing threats.
In the face of dismissive statements and attempts to downplay verified reports, the persistence of antisemitism emerges as an unsettling reality. Queen Rania's skepticism and the Council on American-Islamic Relations' denial of beheading reports highlight a troubling trend of misinformation.
While the Jewish people are no longer powerless, the discovery of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in a Gaza apartment, repurposed by Hamas for their operations, serves as a stark reminder that the mindset and tactics of those harboring hatred toward Jews have not evolved as much as one might hope. The marginal notes in the book, made by a studying terrorist, underscore the chilling continuity of antisemitic ideology.
In this complex landscape, where a sovereign Jewish state and a powerful Jewish army coexist, the imperative is clear: the fight against antisemitism remains ever-urgent. Rafael Medoff's insight into this ongoing struggle underscores the need for continued vigilance and education to confront the echoes of hatred and ensure that the lessons of history are not forgotten. As we navigate the present, the legacy of Hitler's manifesto serves as a chilling reminder that the battle against antisemitism is far from over.