Guardian op-ed hurls antisemitic accusation

In a repulsive Guardian op-ed, the NYC-based writer John Oakes not only falsely accused Israel of causing the mass starvation of Palestinians in Gaza, but likened the situation to the Nazis’ starvation of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto (“The starvation of Gaza is a perverse repudiation of Judaism’s values“, June 25).  Oakes’ antisemitic trope, comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, has sadly been employed or legitimised by Guardian contributors previously.

Oakes begins with a lie:

For many months now, it has been no secret that one of America’s closest allies has been using hunger as a weapon against a civilian population. That hunger is being used by Israel is supremely ironic, given the particular role that privation from food plays both in Jewish philosophy and in the grim history of the Jewish people. It is a charge that the Jewish state has repeatedly denied in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

This is the opposite of the truth.

The starvation narrative was given credibility in the mainstream media following a March report by Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) which alleged that famine was imminent and likely to occur by May in northern Gaza, and by July in other parts of the territory.

However, in early June, the IPC published a follow-up report titled “Famine Review Committee: Review of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) IPC-Compatible Analysis for the Northern Governorates of the Gaza Strip”.

That report concluded that the analysis published in March was not plausible, pointed out the omission of certain categories of food deliveries, and noted that “the available evidence does not indicate that famine is currently occurring”.  The analysis also acknowledged that the daily kilocalories requirements for Palestinians in Gaza were surpassed in April, found that the food supply in Gaza is increasing each month.

Even prior to that conclusion by the Famine Review Committee, multiple reports and studiesciting fatal methodological and data collection flaws – contradicted the initial warnings of imminent starvation in Gaza by the IPC. One of the reports, by Columbia University Professors Awi Federgruen and Ran Kivetz, analysed available data and found that “sufficient amounts of food are being supplied into Gaza”.  According to the paper, “the mean calories available per person per day in Gaza in January was 3,076 kcal, for February that figure dropped to 1,741 kcal, but then rose in March to 3,446 kcal and rose again in April to 4,580 kcal.”

Then, the Guardian contributor pivots to the Nazi analogy:

Even Germany, which for obvious historical reasons has long been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, finally has begun to warn against using starvation to win a war. The Germans would know about such a tactic. During the second world war, 380,000 people were crowded into the Warsaw ghetto, barricaded, and left to die by the Nazis.

Much of what we know about the effects of long-term starvation comes from a manuscript smuggled out of the ghetto in 1942 and translated into English in the 1970s as Hunger Disease. The remarkable document was compiled by a heroic team of 28 Jewish doctors working under unimaginable conditions.

The suffering and the defiance of the inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto have become touchstones for students of Jewish history, a story that every Jew knows well. As Holocaust museums struggle to address the Israel-Gaza war, the idea that we can somehow put what is happening in Gaza at a distant remove from the history of the Warsaw ghetto is grotesque.

What’s truly grotesque is his comparison between the Warsaw Ghetto, implemented by a regime which murdered two out of every three Jews in Europe, and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The daily food rations in the Warsaw Ghetto, which housed as many as 460,000 Jews and was completely sealed off from the outside, were the equivalent of “one-tenth of the required minimum daily calorie intake”, causing an 80,000 to die of either starvation or disease. Most of those who survived were sent off to death camps.

By contrast, there have been no credible reports of Palestinians dying of starvation in Gaza, and aid continues to pour in to the Strip.

If there are any Nazi-analogies to be made in this war, it should be directed at Hamas, the genocidal antisemitic terror group whose sent death squads rampaging across southern Israel on Oct. 7th with the sole purpose of murdering, torturing, raping, mutilating and taking hostage as many Jews as possible – a barbaric assault that represents the worst antisemitic massacre since the Holocaust.

Finally, Oakes’ vilification of the Jewish state reaches a crescendo further into the op-ed, when he reaches the culmination of his big lie, writing that, given the historical and religious history of Jews, “it is remarkable that of all nations, the Jewish state is using mass starvation as a method of warfare“, a libel against the Jewish collective as morally obscene and toxic as the antisemitic medieval superstitions peddled for centuries against individual Jews.

Amidst an ongoing tsunami of antisemitism in the UK and elsewhere in the Jewish diaspora, the Guardian continues to incite the mob.

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