[Marxism] Fired for comparing Holocaust to Nakba

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 24 11:06:28 MDT 2009

Yad Vashem fires employee who compared Holocaust to Nakba
By Yoav Stern

Yad Vashem has fired an instructor who compared the trauma of Jewish 
Holocaust survivors with the trauma experienced by the Palestinian 
people in Israel's War of Independence.

Itamar Shapira, 29, of Jerusalem, was fired before Passover from his job 
as a docent at the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 
after a teacher with a group of yeshiva students from Efrat made a 
complaint. Shapira had worked at Yad Vashem for three and a half years.

This is the first time that Yad Vashem has fired a guide over political 
differences, an institution official said Wednesday.

Shapira confirmed, in a telephone conversation with Haaretz, that he had 
spoken to visitors about the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin.

He said he did so because the ruins of the Arab village, today a part of 
Jerusalem's Givat Shaul neighborhood, can be seen as one leaves Yad Vashem.

"Yad Vashem talks about the Holocaust survivors' arrival in Israel and 
about creating a refuge here for the world's Jews. I said there were 
people who lived on this land and mentioned that there are other traumas 
that provide other nations with motivation," Shapira said.

"The Holocaust moved us to establish a Jewish state and the Palestinian 
nation's trauma is moving it to seek self-determination, identity, land 
and dignity, just as Zionism sought these things," he said.

A Yad Vashem official said the institution objects to any political use 
of the Holocaust, especially by a docent working for it.

The institution's position is that the Holocaust cannot be compared to 
any other event and that every visitor can draw his own political 

Yad Vashem spokeswoman Iris Rosenberg said that after holding a hearing 
for Shapira, at which he refused to accept his superiors' instructions 
and change his teaching methods, it was decided to terminate his job as 
a guide in the institute's school for Holocaust studies.

"Yad Vashem would have acted unprofessionally had Itamar Shapira 
continued his educational work for the institute," Rosenberg said.

Yad Vashem employs workers and volunteers from the entire political and 
social spectrum, who know how to separate their personal position from 
their work, she said.

Shapira said Yad Vashem chooses to examine only some of the events that 
took place in the War of Indpendence. "It is being hypocritical. I only 
tried to expose the visitors to the facts, not to political conclusions. 
If Yad Vashem chooses to ignore the facts, for example the massacre at 
Dir Yassin, or the Nakba ["The Catastrophe," the Palestinians' term for 
what happened to them after 1948], it means that it's afraid of 
something and that its historic approach is flawed," Shapira said.

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