Ottawa Citizen Columnist Tacitly Compares Israelis To Nazis, Accuses Israel Of Endless Crimes & Censors Out Any Mention Of Hamas

June 19, 2024

In her June 13 opinion column in The Ottawa Citizen entitled: “This month, Eid mixes joy with our pain over Gaza”, columnist Aisha Sherazi threw out a litany of baseless accusations against Israel, all in an effort to pin the blame for the suffering of Gazans on Jerusalem and to effectively exonerate Hamas of any and all responsibility.

Her overarching point was to reconcile the celebration of the Islamic Eid festival while Muslims are suffering in Gaza. She did so in her final paragraph by saying that “we will celebrate the resilience of the human spirit, the idea that joy can be found in the darkest of places…”

However, along the way, Sherazi made several disturbing statements. She outlined the suffering in Gaza by saying, “Although external reporters have not been allowed into Gaza to cover the stories from within the walls, there are glimpses of the violence taking place. Foreign medical personnel and aid workers tell chilling tales…”

Her language choice is telling. The Israelis are not committing acts of “violence;” they are engaged in a fight for their survival. Hamas, whom Sherazi managed to delete from her narrative, invaded Israel on October 7, breaking the existing ceasefire to rape, dismember, burn, and murder over 1,200 innocents, taking 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in captivity – dead or alive. Hamas intends to repeat this massacre, and their charter’s transparent aim is to annihilate Israel and to install an Islamic, ISIS-style caliphate in its place. Israel has been left with no choice but to fight back.

Additionally, Hamas’s core strategy is to hide behind their civilians, firing at Israel from hospital wards, hiding in schools, UN buildings, and more, including recently firing rockets at Israel from the humanitarian zone in Rafah. They did not build a single bomb shelter for their civilians in the Gaza Strip. On the contrary, they believe that the increased civilian death toll is to their benefit, as Yahye Sinwar, Hamas’ leader, is recently revealed to have said.

Sherazi conveniently omitted any of this information. She preferred to bypass Hamas and portray Israel as a willingly violent and all-powerful army. In this way, she laid the entire blame for Gazan’s suffering at Israel’s door. This inverted victim-perpetrator narrative is a common pro-Palestinian lie. Hamas is responsible for all the suffering on both sides.

Sherazi went on to say that “the international community is beginning to ask why an entire population must be kept hostage, its food, water, movement, and livelihood controlled, surrounded by a large concrete wall, and why people are being subjected to harshness that evokes a time many of us have only seen in the movies, or heard about from prisoners of war.”

This is false. The entire population is not “kept hostage.” Many people are not subjected to harshness. While there are reports of tragic suffering, social media posts from Palestinians in Gaza during this war also show Gazans moving freely and with markets aplenty with food, largely as Israel facilitates the free-flow of endless humanitarian aid into Gaza.

But if Sherazi is asking why Gazans are suffering, her assumption of their innocence is interesting. Hundreds of Gazan civilians were involved in October 7, participating in the pogrom in multiple ways, including raping and abducting civilians. Sapir Cohen, a released hostage, recounted how, when two terrorists brought her into Gaza on a motorbike, Gazan “civilians” beat her so much that she expected to die. Indeed, a Palestinian poll released on March 20 showed that 71 percent of Palestinians supported Hamas’ actions on October 7. However, Sherazi didn’t allow for Israel to defend itself from these so-called Gazan “civilians.” She wants the wall to come down and the Gazans to be invited in.

However, Sherazi’s pièce de résistance came in her equalizing of concentration camp inmates in Nazi Germany with Gazan “civilians.” She wrote of the film, “Escape to Sobibor”, which details the uprising of the Jews in a concentration camp, that “one newcomer felt angry to see that life appeared to go on, despite the horrors,” quoting from the film, “How can you do this in a place where they murder your families?”

By drawing a tacit comparison of contemporary Israeli policy to the Nazis, Sherazi made an antisemitic statement, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The only ones trying to harm Gazans are Hamas. Sherazi’s equating of Gazans with the Jews in World War Two is macabre, morally repugnant and factually wrong. Pointing the finger at the wrong party also harms the Gazans themselves, preventing Hamas from ever facing culpability for its actions.

Take action now: Send a letter to the editor to the Ottawa Citizen at: letters@ottawacitizen.com.

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