It’s funny that just a couple of days after Noah and I responded to a comment about the inappropriateness of a comparison between Nazism and Zionism and posted bits from Yonatan Mendel’s analysis of the word choices of the Israeli press, there’s a bit of a furor over an Israeli deputy minister who used a certain word to describe what the Palestinians would “bring upon themselves” if they didn’t stop firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. (See the BBC coverage here, and the Guardian’s coverage here.) Apparently the word he used in Hebrew was “shoah,” and “shoah” is the word that in Israel is usually reserved only for referring to the Holocaust.
In a private discussion board that I lurk on, there’s some debate over whether the word should be translated as “holocaust” or “catastrophe,” but what nobody doubts is the fact that the Israeli deputy minister’s logic — that somehow the victims of a holocaust/catastrophe bring that suffering upon themselves — is astonishing.
– L.L. Wynn