Abbott statement could have been more appropriately worded

September 4, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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The Zionist Federation of Australia and AIJAC have added their voices to the reaction of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s statement that the Nazis had a sense of shame when comparing them to ISIS.

Dr Danny Lamm

Dr Danny Lamm

Tony Abbott suggested that the actions of ISIS are worse than the Nazis in WWII.

The comments were made during an interview with 2GB’s Alan Jones and provoked a response by the The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s Robert Goot in the Fairfax Media.

Media outlets have described the Prime Minister’s statement as “having angered some Jewish leaders”.

Goot told Fairfax that there was “a fundamental difference between organised acts of terrorism and a genocide systematically implemented by a state as essential policy.”

Goot said:  “Whilst there is no question that Islamic State is a profoundly evil organisation, the Prime Minister’s comments suggesting that it is in some respects worse than the Nazis were injudicious and unfortunate. The crimes of Islamic State are indeed horrific, but cannot be compared to the systematic round-up of millions of people and their despatch to purpose built death camps for mass murder.  There is a fundamental difference between organised acts of terrorism and a genocide systematically implemented by a State as essential policy. Acts of terrorism are necessarily done in the full glare of publicity for their propaganda effect. In contrast, those responsible for ordering and implementing systematic State-sponsored genocide are high government officials who often operate in secret not out of any sense of shame, but to avoid being held criminally responsible for their actions”.

Dr Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia has reaffirmed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s support for Israel.

He told J-Wire: “Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a long-standing friend of Israel and the Australian Jewish community. However, the statement made by the Prime Minister about ISIS might have been more appropriately worded.

There is no question that the Nazi campaign of anti-Semitic genocide during the Second World War stands as a unique episode of pre-eminent evil unparalleled in human history. But the genocidal agenda of an Islamic State that is currently slaughtering and raping its way through large parts of the Middle East must also be acknowledged.

It can also be argued that there is a grotesque symmetry between Nazism and the Islamic State insofar that their ultimate intentions towards the Jewish people are identical – genocidal extermination.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

We congratulate Prime Minister Abbott on his willingness to commit Australia to the international military campaign against the Islamic State. We wish G-dspeed and a safe return to our troops who are fighting against the most profound evil of our time.”

Clearly there is no disagreement here over the fact that Nazi atrocities, including the Holocaust, represent a unique, unprecedented, systematic perpetration of genocidal evil acts on an industrial scale and crimes against humanity.

And again that  Islamic State is undoubtedly, and unapologetically, cruel, genocidal and barbaric, and must be condemned, and opposed, with the utmost vigour.

Yet each of these calamitous and criminal historical episodes need to be understood in terms of their unique circumstances and grotesque characteristics, and are probably better explained in terms of their own evil rather than through comparisons between them.


3 Responses to “Abbott statement could have been more appropriately worded”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Actually, the Nazis and all their hordes of European collaborator-perpetrators were proud of their campaign to rid the globe of those whom they considered to be infectious vermin. They saw themselves as the saviours of Western /European/Christian civilisation.
    The only reason that they sometimes attempted to hide their activities was fear of receiving justice. The Allied victors meted out justice to some perpetrators, in part to justify having gone to war against them, but soon afterwards they very quickly “made an adjustment,” and welcomed the unpunished ones as immigrants, and “valuable members of society.”

    Today,by contrast, the jihadists of the world do not fear justice for two reasons:
    1. their faith in the doctrine of post-mortem glory following martyrdom.
    2. their perception that “the West” is supine.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Tony Abbott needs to get back to the history books and read in depth. Let’s not pussy-foot around here – “The Nazis did terrible evil but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it.”: to say this statement is not appropriately worded is really letting Abbott off the hook! Anybody with sufficient knowledge knows the reasons behind Nazi subterfuge and it had nothing to do with shame.

    It’s a hideous mistake in itself to compare, or measure, acts of evil. To attempt to do so using the huge, elaborate plan that became the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people, that involved dispossession and dehumanising, then displacement, before transporting and murdering en masse, over six million Jews, with the intent of complete extermination of world Jewry, is to commit an error of mammoth proportions. It’s obscene to attempt to make this comparison with IS, and in doing so ameliorate to an extent the Nazi act by introducing the notion of a sense of shame. Shame had nothing to do with it. The success of Nazi plans relied on not exposing their intent.

    Really, when will the Prime Minister learn to think before he speaks. Importantly, after this gaffe, he should certainly think afterwards, and study Holocaust literature.

    • Henry Herzog says:

      Very well put Liat, but furthermore, for Abbott to say a sense of shame is like saying they felt bad for what they did. An argument a defence lawyer may use to demonstrate their client’s remorse, which the Nazis certainly did not feel. The only shame they felt was not being able to fully implement their “final solution to the Jewish question”.

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