This is what I call cynically using the Holocaust for political purposes: Netanyahu recently used the opening of a new exhibit at Yad Vashem as an opportunity to denounce the Iranian regime, saying:
There is a new call to destroy the Jewish state, it’s our problem, but not only our problem. This is a crime against the Jews, and a crime against humanity, and it is a test of humanity. We shall see in the following weeks whether the international community deals with this evil before it spreads.
When I read this report, it sounded vaguely familiar – then remembered blogging about a similar comment Netanyahu made three years ago. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
Clearly Ahmadinejad’s murderous rhetoric toward Israel cannot and should not be taken lightly, and we should never minimize the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But we must also be very clear about what we are suggesting when we compare Ahmadinejad to Hitler and present day Iran to Nazi Germany. For what it’s worth, consider me to be one member of the organized Jewish community that finds this comparison unhelpful – and the prospect of an American or Israeli attack on Iran truly horrifying to contemplate.
Apropos of Netanyahu’s most recent comments: Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric toward Israel is definitely hateful, and is clearly designed to bait Israel and the West – but I can’t see how it possibly constitutes a “crime against humanity.”
Netanyahu’s Yad Vashem rhetoric certainly seems to indicate he’s itching to take the bait. Let’s hope the international community will see past his dangerous, wrongheaded invoking of a “second Holocaust” and deal with this crisis with intelligence and moderation.