Israel warns of Gaza 'holocaust'This reported remark by deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai caused widespread shock and absolute horror. For an Israeli minister to use the word 'holocaust' to describe a limited war of Israeli self-defence, when for Jews of all people the 'Holocaust' means one thing: genocide and this at a time when the calumny of the 'Jews as Nazis' is rampant around the world, putting Israel and the Jewish people at risk was simply beyond belief.
Israeli leaders are warning of an imminent conflagration in Gaza after Palestinian militants aimed rockets at the southern city of Ashkelon. The deputy defence minister said the stepped-up rocket fire would trigger what he called a 'bigger holocaust' in the Hamas-controlled coastal strip.
'The more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger "shoah" because we will use all our might to defend ourselves'.Reuters translated the Hebrew word 'shoah' as 'holocaust'. But 'shoah' merely means disaster. In Hebrew, the word 'shoah' is never used to mean 'holocaust' or 'genocide' because of the acute historical resonance. The word 'Hashoah' alone means 'the Holocaust' and 'retzach am' means 'genocide'. The well-known Hebrew construction used by Vilnai used merely means 'bringing disaster on themselves'.
Vilnai's spokesman said: 'Mr. Vilnai was meaning "disaster". He did not mean to make any allusion to the genocide.' Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Arye Mekel, added: 'Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai used the Hebrew phrase that included the term 'shoah' in Hebrew in the sense of a disaster or a catastrophe, and not in the sense of a holocaust.'But this grotesque mistranslation has given Hamas a propaganda gift which they lost no time exploiting:
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said of Vilnai's comments: 'We are facing new Nazis who want to kill and burn the Palestinian people.'
It is not enough for Reuters to try to cover its backside in subsequent stories. It must issue an explicit retraction, and so must the BBC. Instantly.