Is the Star of David the new swastika?

Salon‘s headline (which I also used) is unusually daring for a popular publication. The article’s author, Judy Mandelbaum, draws attention to a phenomenon otherwise ignored by the American media: the use of the Star of David as an expression of Jewish hatred.

Time was when Nazis used to slather swastikas on synagogues and Jewish businesses to prepare the local population for expulsion or much worse. It’s sad that this sort of behavior persists around the world, as a new study by Tel Aviv University shows. But it’s even sadder to see Israelis regularly defacing Palestinian property with Stars of David with equal glee and with what appears to be the same brain-dead mindset.

Your local paper might not have covered it, but in the wee hours of Wednesday morning a gang of Israeli settlers attacked the West Bank village of Hawara. “Palestinians reported two torched cars on the village’s central road early yesterday,” Haaretz writes. “A small village mosque, used only on the weekend, had the word ‘Muhammad’ sprayed in Hebrew and a Star of David. Haaretz also found graffiti with the Jewish prayer ‘Praise be onto him for not making me a gentile.'” The attackers also took the opportunity to destroy some three hundred olive trees, a major source of local income.

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7 thoughts on “Is the Star of David the new swastika?

  1. Norman Morley

    I viewed a picture recently, that showed a Jewish man splashing Wine upon a Palestinian Woman, in front of doors with similar markings. It reminded me of the pictures I saw as a youngster of the Nazi SS troopers doing the same sort of action in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland in WWll. That old saying; “what goes around, comes around,” only this time, the Nazi SS trooper is Jewish & the woman is Arab. As with then, the Western governments look the other way.

  2. Aaron

    I’m sad to say this kind of grafitti, which invokes both genocide and specifically the holocaust, isn’t new or just one or two isolated incidents. Here’s a whole lot more:

    On the star of David if you look at what’s left of Yasser Arafat (Gaza) Airport on google maps you’ll see a star of David carved into the runway by the IDF with bulldozers. More recently satellite footage from Gaza demonstrate the same thing was done during the invasion last year on Gazan farmlands:

    The absolute ugliest incident I’ve heard of is graffiti written in blood, found in the houses of one of the Al Samouni family of Zeitoun district in Gaza – the Samounis were the extended family ordered into a house in Gaza which was then bombed, killing 29 members of one family. The graffiti was mentioned in the Goldstone Report, in the footnotes for paragraph 706:

    “[footnote] 394. Graffiti left by Israeli soldiers in the house of Talal al-Samouni, which were photographed by the Mission, included (a) in Hebrew, under the Star of David: “The Jewish people are alive” and, above a capital “T” [referring to the army (Tsahal)], “This [the letter T] was written with blood”; (b) on a drawing of a grave, in English and Arabic, “Arabs 1948-2008 ”; and (c) in English: “You can run but you can not hide”, “Die you all”, “ 1 is down, 999,999 to go”, “Arabs need to die” and “Make war not peace”.

    Truly disturbing stuff – and unfortunately other governments don’t have the guts to stand up and pull Israel into line.

  3. Joe Brownrigg

    I saw the Star of David used this way by Israeli soldiers when they raided a Lutheran school near Bethlehem. That was eight years ago!

  4. Nigel Gibson

    The use of any symbol in this way is disturbing, and I agree that the use of the Star of David as a ‘Swastika’ symbol is outrageous. In other graffiti, the colonists are spraying the term ‘sand nigger’ on walls and buildings; a generic disparaging term for arabs in general, but now being applied specifically to Palestinians – and still the Western governments look the other way.

  5. delia ruhe

    More evidence pointing to why many Israelis go ballistic when Zionism and Nazism are thrown into comparison — i.e., because the comparison turns out to be accurate in some important details. But many Jews are making the comparisons — if very carefully. Here’s one by Sara Roy that impresses me. Note that the comparisons are all in the form of a question:

    QUOTE Within the Jewish community it has always been considered a form of heresy to compare Israeli actions or policies with those of the Nazis, and certainly one must be very careful in doing so. But what does it mean when Israeli soldiers paint identification numbers on Palestinian arms; when young Palestinian men and boys of a certain age are told through Israeli loudspeakers to gather in the town square; when Israeli soldiers openly admit to shooting Palestinian children for sport; when some of the Palestinian dead must be buried in mass graves while the bodies of others are left in city streets and camp alleyways because the army will not allow proper burial; when certain Israeli officials and Jewish intellectuals publicly call for the destruction of Palestinian villages in retaliation for suicide bombings, or for the transfer of the Palestinian population out of the West Bank and Gaza; when 46 per cent of the Israeli public favours such transfers and when transfer or expulsion becomes a legitimate part of popular discourse; when government officials speak of the ‘cleansing of the refugee camps’, and when a leading Israeli intellectual calls for hermetic separation between Israelis and Palestinians in the form of a Berlin Wall, caring not whether the Palestinians on the other side of the wall may starve to death as a result?

    What are we supposed to think when we hear this? What is my mother [a holocaust survivor] supposed to think? END OF QUOTE (Sarah Roy, “Save Your Outrage for the End,” Index On Censorship 32:3 (2003): 204—213.)

    Avrum Burg, in his *The Holocaust is Over* compares contemporary Israel to the Weimar Republic. He could have expanded that comparison with many more examples of the similarities — especially by focusing on the dysfunction of both governments and the desire among both populaces for more authoritarianism.

    While I don’t see any gas chambers on the horizon, there are other ways of dispensing with undesirables, such as massacres like Cast Lead and expulsions like the one that seems to be in the works since last week. All this makes me very nervous.

  6. Aaron

    Sarah Roy puts it very thoughtful in that piece Delia, thanks.

    In your first paragraph you reminded me there is a legal aspect to the comparison – the European Union’s Working Definition of Antisemitism says it “could include: …drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” which to my mind is inappropriate, clearly designed to protect Israel and not jews.

    Wiki, which says the definition has been controversial:

    The EU FRA page with download link for full definition:

  7. DE Teodoru

    It is not without historic precedent, Aaron, that those with an inferiority complex for what they deem their people’s historic sheepishness will seek to emulate the last and worst oppressor so that in later insecurity they will feel secure. Israel was created as THE Jewish state though most Jews would never live there, living and prospering instead where once tormented and exterminated. This makes Israel irrelevant and so it continues to exist based on the Holocaust by re-enacting the exterminator-oppressor that gave it justification for coming into existence. While such behavior in no way draws the Diaspora Jew to live there– indeed alienates Israel’s own children—the old timers persist in being THE Jewish state that learned from THE exterminator that tormented the Jewish people how to torment Arabs who want nothing more than the land they lived on for generations be more equitably disbursed. Alas, such Zionism doesn’t work so Israel is suffering from a fatal disease: DEMOGRAPHICS, which it is trying to resolve through extermination of Arabs. Have no illusions, the West Bank and Gaza are only tiny steps on a long march for it is the expansion that is the raison d’etre now. My whole involvement is motivated in large part by the Jewish ethic and humanity of Sarah Roy. Israel need not be the aping of the worst of modern times.

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