Monday, March 03, 2008

Israeli minister threates Gaza with 'Shoah'

An Israeli minister today warned of increasingly bitter conflict in the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians could bring on themselves what he called a "holocaust".

"The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defence minister, told army radio.

Shoah is the Hebrew word normally reserved to refer to the Jewish Holocaust. It is rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi extermination of Jews during the second world war, and many Israelis are loath to countenance its use to describe other events.

The minister's statement came after two days of tit-for-tat missile raids between Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army. At least 32 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since the surge in violence on Wednesday.

[full article]


Blogger -suitepotato- said...

I'd have a problem using it too. Shoah is a word that has been firmly associated through repetitive use in the minds of the people. Maybe he meant to drive home a fear of the kind of fire and horror of the Holocaust, but that's a bit extreme.

Any Israeli reprisal will be a lot less extreme. Even during the Six Day War and other engagements of note, the Israeli army could have absolutely eradicated their enemy with ease. They showed utterly amazing restraint. They'll keep on showing it. They'd not be Israeli or Jewish without a nod to the restraint born of conscience, something totally missing from the Holocaust's perpetrators.

March 03, 2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

I would suggest looking up the word in a dictionary.

Shoah means 'disaster, catastrophe'. The term for the shoah, in Hebrew, is ha shoah - note the definite article.

What Vilnai said was "yamitu al atsmam shoah gdolah yoter... " (will bring --- a greater catastrophe upon themselves).

Which Reuters (hardly an impartial entity), chose to translate as Vilnai threatening a holocaust.

Given the long history of hyperbole and rhetorical excess from the Palestinianly inclined side, it is only natural that they Ahmedinejadified the statement.

March 03, 2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

BOTH, I noted the distinction, but nonetheless, it still rubs me the wrong way to use that term...

March 03, 2008 7:08 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Reuters was not the only one to be shocked. Israeli newspapers- who are aware of both the denotation and connotation of the term- also ran bits on it, although I can't state for certain whether this was before or after Reuters picked it up. In any case, it was a.... poor choice on his part.

March 04, 2008 2:50 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Indeed, a very poor choice of words, as we now realize. And I too wish that he had chosen his words more wisely.

Still, a good thing he didn't use the word 'crusade'.

March 04, 2008 3:19 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>Still, a good thing he didn't use the word 'crusade'.

I don't know. I think having a few thousand of these bad boys swoop down on Gaza would be something I'd pay good money to see.

March 04, 2008 3:49 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

How very...... Prussian.

Heh heh heh.

March 04, 2008 6:07 PM  
Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I think it's use outside of a 'holocaust' context is a bit more common in more intellectual circles...though I admit it's almost as uncommon as saying something like "an 'orgy' of missile fire", though it can happen...

I agree with the 'back of the hill guy', it's "sho'ah g'dolah yoter"- i.e. the adjectives change the usage...

March 05, 2008 9:20 AM  

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