A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7.
The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title “The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership.”
The book is a collaboration between the institute and the Hakibbutz Hameuchad-Sifriat Poalim Publishing Group.
In the letter, Im Tirtzu told the institute’s director, Professor Gabriel Motzkin, that “we are highly disturbed by this preposterous comparison between the Holocaust of the European Jewry—when millions of Jews were burnt to death, shot and buried alive despite doing nothing wrong—and the colossal defeat of Israel’s enemies during the War of Independence, which is referred to in Arabic as the Nakba.” The letter called the event “an affront to Holocaust survivors who live in Israel and abroad by disrespecting their plight, by insulting our collective intelligence, and by disgracing human ethics.”
Motzkin told Israel Hayom, “We are not equating the Holocaust to the Nakba; we are just drawing parallels between the way both are memorialized—it is not the same thing.”