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June 05, 2009

Tom Brokaw: What Can the Jews Learn from the Holocaust About Their Treatment of the Palestinians?

Yeah, baby.

BROKAW: What can the Israelis learn from your visit to Buchenwald? And what should they be thinking about their treatment of Palestinians?

Unbelievable. Obama, to his credit, squelched the analogy:

OBAMA: Well, look, there's no equivalency here.

Powerline and Allah seem to view this as Brokaw's ugly equivalency.

But is it? Is Brokaw completely to blame? Is he not merely following up on this equivalency offered by Obama in his Cairo speech?

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. ...

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

Note I have omitted some words after the Buchenwald mention, to call attention to the Buchenwald/On the other hand connection. (The link has the full quote.) But truncated or not, Obama's quote makes precisely this connection.

Why is Brokaw to be faulted for following-up on Obama's clear equivalency?

Or, rather: Why is Obama being let off the hook and praised for rejecting an equivalency he suggested not 48 hours ago?

Sure, fault Brokaw for not rejecting the equivalency himself -- and asking the question as a challenge to Obama, demanding he explain his suggestion -- but don't let Obama off the hook.

And remember, this candidate specifically rejects the criticism that his words are "just words." His words, every precious syllable of them, are meaningful and, indeed, healing and transformative.



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posted by Ace at 05:10 PM

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