New York, NY, January 12, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned as "shocking and disgraceful" a senior Vatican official's likening of the situation in Gaza to a Nazi concentration camp.
Cardinal Renato Martino, a former Vatican envoy to the United Nations and currently the Pope's top official on issues of justice and peace, was quoted by Italian media as saying the conditions in Gaza "looks more and more like a big concentration camp."
"It is shocking and disgraceful that a high-level Vatican official would employ Holocaust imagery in reference to the state of Israel's attempt to defend its citizens from Hamas," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "We hope that the Vatican will publicly repudiate Cardinal Martino's statements and make clear that comparisons between the absolute tyranny of the Nazi Holocaust and the complex situation in Gaza are inappropriate and offensive."
Holocaust comparisons and Nazi imagery have been a recurring feature of anti-Israel rallies in the United States and around the world since Israel's Gaza operation was launched on December 27.
"Comparisons between the Jewish state and those who perpetrated the greatest act of anti-Semitism in world history are not impartial or dispassionate," Mr. Foxman said. "This is a charge that is purposefully directed at Jews in an effort to associate the victims of the Nazi crimes with the Nazi perpetrators, and serves to diminish the significance and uniqueness of the Holocaust. These comparisons and the imagery feed the age-old myths of Jews as a satanic and conniving force which endeavors to take over the world. Such anti-Semitic notions create fodder for hatred and bias by continuing the myths which have plagued the Jewish people for centuries."