As part of a more general plea that people should be less censorious about the use of potentially insulting language, Jenny Diski refers to the recent controversy over David Ward's comments linking Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with the Holocaust. This is what she says about it:
He was wrong; he shouldn't have conflated 'the Jews' with 'Israel and its supporters' – or, to put it another way, me with Netanyahu. But that doesn't mean he didn't have a legitimate (if naive) point, that the memory of what the Jews went through ought to give Israeli politicians pause for thought before subjecting other groups to persecution. As a Jew I've thought so with great sadness myself, while understanding that the argument about Israel must be a political one.
I want to comment, not so much Azzajew, more Azzahuman, on what Diski says. There are four points I'd like to make. First, while there's nothing wrong with someone whose people or nation or ethnic or religious group have suffered a great injustice appealing to that history as a reminder of why they should not in turn act unjustly towards others, there decidedly is something wrong with either saying or implying that Israel is responsible for wrongdoing on a Nazi-type scale or of a Nazi-type character. Second, one doesn't absolutely need the specific reference; there are universal reasons, embodied in contemporary codes and instruments of human rights, why certain things should not be done by some human beings against others. Azzahumanbeing would do. So the frequency of the Holocaust reference-point in criticism of Israel is doubly unpleasant.
But now, let's make that trebly unpleasant because, third, it seems that Jews are especially privileged in being reminded of their past as victims of injustice. In debate in Ireland, or in criticism from outside the country, are the Irish much taxed, when there are injustices or wrongs (sexual abuse by priests, the Magdalene laundries) for which Irish people are responsible, with the fact that the Irish were themselves victims of injustice (British rule, the potato famine) and so ought to know better? I'm not aware of this as a strong current in contemporary discussion. Or Robert Mugabe and other African leaders with a less than unblemished political record: criticism of them is not often couched in terms of Africans who have suffered from colonialism ought-ing to know better. In fact, and fourth, it is often the very opposite when those on the wrong end, whether really or putatively, of colonialist and imperialist histories or policies 'do evil in return'. Then, so far from its being 'You, above all, should know better' and the rest of the Jewish conscience schtick, it's all root causes, all aggrieved people being 'pushed' and 'desperate'. The Jews seem to bear a special burden in being told they should know better.
This is what I wanted to say, not even Azzahuman, just Azzamyself.