Scholars protest Chavez's comparison of Israel and Hitler

Fifty-three leading Holocaust scholars from around the world have sent a letter to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, denouncing his statements comparing Israel to the Nazis.

The signatories include two former senior officials of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dr. Michael Berenbaum and Dr. Walter Reich; Journal of Genocide Research editor Henry Huttenbach; Genocide Watch president Gregory Stanton; Prof. David S. Wyman, author of the The Abandonment of the Jews; and numerous other prominent scholars, including Daniel Goldhagen, Richard Rubenstein, and Jacob Neusner.

The protest was organized by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

The text of the letter, and the full list of signatories, follows:

August 11, 2006

Hon. Hugo Chavez
c/o Embassy of The Republic of Venezuela
1099 30th Street NW
Washington DC 20007
via email:

To His Excellency, President Hugo Chavez:

As Holocaust scholars, we are deeply troubled by your reported statement to the Al Jazeera news agency that "[The Israelis] are doing what Hitler did against the Jews" (Aug. 4, 2006) and your statement on your radio program, 'Hello, President', that Israel is carrying out "a new Holocaust" (Miami Herald, Aug. 9, 2006).

The Holocaust was the deliberate, systematic mass murder of six million innocent Jews by Germany and its collaborators. By contrast, Israel is acting in legitimate self-defense against Hezbollah terrorism, has no interest in harming innocent Lebanese civilians, and indeed has done its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, whereas Hezbollah deliberately targets Israeli civilians. Any comparison between Israel and the Nazis outrageously distorts Israel's actions and trivializes the enormity and nature of the Holocaust.

We note that the U.S. State Department, in its report on global antisemitism last year, stated that "The demonization or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders ... indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue."

We therefore urge you to retract your comparisons of Israel to the Nazis and refrain from making any such comparisons in the future.


Prof. David S. Wyman
University of Massachsetts-Amherst (emer.)

Prof. Henry R. Huttenbach
Editor, Journal Of Genocide Research
City College of New York

Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
President, Genocide Watch
Founder and Chairman of the Board, The International Campaign to End Genocide

Dr. Michael Berenbaum
Professor & Director,
Sigi Ziering Institute on the Holocaust, University of Judaism

Dr. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

Prof. Richard L. Rubenstein
President Emeritus, University of Bridgeport
Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion Emeritus, Florida State University

Prof. Debórah Dwork
Professor & Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Clark University

Dr. Walter Reich
Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior
George Washington University

Prof. Thane Rosenbaum
Novelist and law professor, Fordham University Law School

Prof. Jacob Neusner
Bard College

Prof. Peter J. Haas
Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Director, The Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies
Case Western Reserve University

Prof. Andrei S. Markovits
University of Michigan

Prof. Christopher J. Fettweis
US Naval War College

Prof. Michael Brown
York University, Toronto (emer.)

Prof. Linda M. Woolf
Director, Holocaust & Genocide Studies,
Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights
Webster University

Prof. Neil J. Kressel
William Paterson University

Prof. Aaron Berman
Dean, Hampshire College

Dr. Kenneth Waltzer
Professor of History, James Madison College
Director, Jewish Studies, Michigan State University

Prof. Marcia Sachs Littell
Founding Director, MA Program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prof. Meir Amor
Concordia University

Prof. Paul L. Rose
Pennsylvania State University

Prof. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath
Director, Holocaust Studies
University of Texas at Dallas

Prof. Gil Troy
McGill University

Prof. Steven Leonard Jacobs
University of Alabama

Prof. Rochelle L. Millen
Wittenberg University

Prof. Peter I. Rose
Smith College (emer.)

Prof. Zev Garber
Editor, Studies in the Shoah
Los Angeles Valley College

Prof. Carol Rittner, RSM
Interim Director, MA Program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Judy (Weissenberg) Cohen

Prof. Monty N. Penkower
Machon Lander Graduate School for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

Dr. Bat-Ami Zucker
Bar Ilan University

Prof. Paul Oppenheimer
City University of New York

Dr. Harold Brackman
Simon Wiesenthal Center

Prof. Harry Reicher
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Prof. Haim Genizi
Bar Ilan University

Dr. Sharon R. Lowenstein
Author, Token Refuge

Samuel Laster
Editor, internet portal "die juedische"
( Berlin, Vienna

William Bemister, Producer-Correspondent “The Hunter and the Hunted”
and “The Search for Mengele,” Oxford, England

Prof. Oren Stier
Florida International University

Dr. Peter Suedfeld
University of British Columbia

Dr. Efraim Zuroff
Simon Wiesenthal Center

Prof. Stephen H. Norwood
University of Oklahoma

Dr. Rochelle L. Millen
Wittenberg University

Prof. John C. Zimmerman
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Prof. Eunice G. Pollack
University of North Texas

Prof. Erich H. Loewy
University of California, Davis

Prof. Ron Hollander
Montclair State University

Prof. Gershon Greenberg
American University

Prof. Alan Berger
Florida Atlantic University

Myrna Goldenberg
Independent Scholar, Bethesda, MD

Dr. Baila Round Shargel
Manhattanville College

Dr. Alex Grobman
Brenn Institute

Dr. Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

(Institutions listed for identification purposes only.)

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More Comments:

Charles Lee Geshekter - 8/14/2006

Only an idiotic multiculti defender of tribalist Islam like Mr. Kislock, with no brain or sense of history, would make such fatuous and illiterate comparisons.

Go check out Hezbollah's blatant disregard of the UN resolution calling for it to disarm. Whatta joke.

What now seems self-evidently in doubt is the charmingly misinformed and quaint assumption that if given a choice, Arabic-speaking Muslims will choose freedom and modern values over a medieval ideology.

Think again.

Far too many Sunnis or Shiites - whether in Hamas, Hezbollah or in thrall of the semi-literate rantings of Sayyid Qutb - remain shaped by tribalist cultures that value sexual and religious purity more than personal freedom.

Such Muslims may well hate the shame, humiliation and dishonor of foreign occupation far more than they love anything - including their own lives or the chance for their kids to live in peace.

Bravo to Israel for doing all it could to detoxify its northern border of such destructive elements.

Bush and his pals ought to reconsider that along with double checking on airline carry-on and baggage rules.......and let dunces like Mr. Hislock fly only on EgyptAir, Saudi Airlines, and Yemeni Airlines.......

Mike Schoenberg - 8/13/2006

As for both Hamas and Hezbollah, their stated objective it to destry Israel. Earlier you mentioned all the war crimes Israel had done against the USA without mentioning the minor happenning in Lebanon where 240 Marines were killed.

Stephen Kislock - 8/13/2006

Israel has 3300 plus Tank, the best Air Force the US taxpayers can provide, a Standing Army and a reserve force Armed by the American Taxpayers.
Is given Carte Blanche by the US government to Assassinate real or imangined enemies of the State and to Destroy the Palestinian People and the Elected Government "Hammas" of the people. Also 40 plus VETOES in the UN against the Arab and Muslims Human Rights Violations by Israel.

Israel stations it's IDF in it's towns and villages as does Hezbolla, yet you can only see that Hezbolla is wrong!

Mr. Geshekter, I do not know in what country you live in, but here in the US, to Agree to an Occupation Force, being Station in New York City or Washington, D.C. the Answer is No, it's the same with Hezbolla and Lebanon.

Friends do not Spy on Friends, yet Israel and it's Pollards DO!

June 17 and 18, 2006 at the American Enterprise Institue, Vice President Cheney and G.W. Bush administration officials met with former Prime Minister Netanyahu and Knesset member N. Sharansky to plan the Invasion of Lebanon, America shaking hands with the Devil.

Israel with out the US is Nothing, the US with Israel is Doomed, the Albatross that will be the end of the Founding Fathers Dream.

Mr. Geshekter, how mamy Arabs is Israel Holding, How many Elected Hammas Officials have been Kidnapped by Israel. How many Anti-Israel Protesters have you Killed with an American made Caterpillar Bulldozer?

Charles Lee Geshekter - 8/12/2006

Hezbollah blends social services with a diabolical, murderous, obsessive desire to destroy the state of Israel, an internationally recognized sovereign state.

If Hezbollah wants to fire rockets into that state, kidnap its soldiers, imbed and immerse rocketry and munitions within civilian and religious structures, and encourage foolish, witless men to become martyrs to their demented, futile cause, then they should expect to be hammered hard without interruption.

And that's a good thing.....

When Hezbollah haughtily and moronically rejects the latest UN ceasefire Resolution - as they surely will - then they deserve to be pounded and beaten some more.......

Those Islamo-fascists lunatics seem to delight in being smashed and annihilated and the Israelis are only too pleased to accommodate them.

And that too is a good thing......

Randll Reese Besch - 8/12/2006

Transpherance is how abusers are made...literally templating the sychogenic maladay to reproduce the same psychology in the one being abused. Isreal,on a mass scale,has been reproducing what the Germans did to them,including that their lives Isreal/German were superior to those whom they call their adversarys.
With their own versions of doing things,but with the same outcome.
The view has been obscured by the constant and generally misapplied comparisons btwn the Nazis and fill-in-the-blank so one must use fresh clear study ignoring the background clutter.Think of it as a parallel not a synoptic duplication. The ethos is there and that is the problem.

Charles Lee Geshekter - 8/12/2006

Chavez is simply a gigantic moron and fool as attested by his latest frothing utterances which confirm his standing as an ahistorical jackass......

Stephen Kislock - 8/12/2006

Let me open with as a Citizen of the United States, I must Condemn Israel; (1) Thw Unwarrented Attack on the United States Naval ship the "USS Liberty" June 8, 1967 and the Killing of 34 American crew members and the Wounding of 173 others. Please see "War Crimes Committed against U.S. Military Personnel, June 8, 1967. Second, the Wanton and Deliberate Attack of UN Peacekeepers in Lebonan july 26, 2006.

Venezuela' President Hugo Chavez, was only saying what many millions of people worldwide are thinking, Yes the IDF is a clone of the Nazi War Machine.

The Warsaw Ghetto and the conditions/sitution that the Palestinian People are Living in today are the Same!

What may sound like antisemitism, to you "scholars", is the Truth to the rest of the World.

August 12, 2006, Israeli "Drone" fires on Refugees fleeing southern Lebanon, Killing 15. Israeli forces in Marjayoun gave the Convoy Permission to head north, but as Alway with the Israeli IDF it's OOPS, again. The "USS Liberty" the "UN Peacekeepers' and "Refuees"!

IDF or Inhuman Destructive Forces.

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