USE OF 'HOLOCAUST' OFFENSIVE
by: Alex Chazen

New University, CA
University of California, Irvine
May 15 2006

The word "holocaust" stirs up emotions among people all over the
world for many different reasons. The word "genocide," which most
people agree the Holocaust was, is defined as "the systematic and
planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political or
ethnic group." As you are walking around campus this week, you are
going to see fliers talking about Israel as being the Fourth Reich
and there being a "Holocaust in the Holy Land." The question becomes,
are these assertions truthful?

The Holocaust (the attempted genocide of Jews in Europe) saw 6 million
Jews murdered, and countless others displaced, many permanently. The
Armenian Genocide saw 1.5 million Armenians murdered at the hands
of the Turks, although many have (sadly) long forgotten about this
horrible period in world history. Currently, in the Darfur region
of the Sudan, over 400,000 people have been murdered, warranting the
label of "genocide" by the American government. Now that this has been
presented to you, I assume you think that the number of Palestinians
who have died since the beginning of the first Intifada in 1987
(no earlier data is available, including at the Muslim Student Union
Web site) would be at least in the hundreds of thousands. Would you
be surprised to find out that the number isn't even in the tens of
thousands? Despite claims that there is a holocaust in the Holy Land,
not more than 6,000 Palestinians have died since the start of the
first Intifada.

Lumping the "genocide" that is occurring in "Palestine" in with the
other historical genocides is not only shameful, it is hurtful.

Writing as a Jewish person, I know that one of the major historical
narratives of American Jewry is the Holocaust. We know that it
happened. Germany is forced to teach their youth about what happened.

The United Nations has declared Jan. 27 the International
Holocaust Remembrance Day. To hear the word being used to describe
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict angered me. I went back to the
dictionary and looked up "holocaust." Meriam-Webster defines it as
"a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially
through fire." Jews were put into ovens and cremated, literally thrown
into the fire. To my knowledge, nobody, including radical Palestinian
advocates, has claimed that Israel is throwing Palestinians into ovens.

Due to my acceptance and approval of the free speech policies of the
UC Irvine campus, I can't say that I want the MSU to change the title
of their anti-Zionism week, which is what the week truly is. I can't
ask the president of the MSU to take down signs that compare Israelis
to Nazis, even though typing those words, in such close proximity, is
painful for me. All that I can do is appeal to the campus community
to realize what is being said and what the truth is. Please, don't
take this the wrong way. I am not decrying the MSU's policies
of anti-Semitism, nor am I saying that the anti-Israel argument
shouldn't be heard on campus. I am merely asking that students at
UCI show other students a modicum of respect when it comes to the
history of the group that they belong to.

To compare the plight of the Palestinians (which is substantial)
with that of Jews in Europe, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, or the
people of Darfur is extremely hurtful to those directly involved in
those conflicts, and to cheapen the loss of life suffered in those
conflicts is nothing more than a sad plea for attention.

Alex Chazen is a second-year political science major. He can be
reached at [email protected]