March 01, 2008

Don't panic, Israel to use nukes not gas chambers!

Seasoned zionist watchers will know that hasbara (propaganda) has been elevated to a full blown tenet of the zionist ideology of Israel's supporters. I'm sure all, certainly most, nations have their founding myths, but Israel's are an artform, a science even, whereas other nations tend to settle for folk-lore. But this "shoah" remark by Israel's deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, has so sent the hasbara machine into overdrive that it seems to have crashed.

Engage very smartly swept in to demand the resignation of Vilnai for undermining the smear that comparing Israel to the nazis is antisemitic. But there had to be some zionists who would do what zionists do best, denial and projection. Here's Melanie Phillips in the Spectator complaining that to render "shoah" as "holocaust" represents the "Mother of all mistranslations
Reuters translated the Hebrew word ‘shoah’ as ‘holocaust’. But ‘shoah’ merely means disaster. In Hebrew, the word ‘shoah’ is never used to mean ‘holocaust’ or ‘genocide’ because of the acute historical resonance. The word ‘Hashoah’ alone means ‘the Holocaust’ and ‘retzach am’ means ‘genocide’. The well-known Hebrew construction used by Vilnai used merely means ‘bringing disaster on themselves’.
But of course, "ha" is simply "the". "Ha-shoah" no matter how it is rendered in Hebrew, is "the holocaust" whereas "shoah" is simply "holocaust". Needless to say, Melanie Phillips didn't give any examples of this more casual, less definite, use of "shoah".

Just as well really, for that we have to turn to the comments of the panic post on Engage or the comments to the rather more skimpy post on the more openly zionist, Simply Jews where a commenter called Noga of the Contentious Centrist blog explains the many many ways in which the word "shoah" is used in Israel:
Shoah means disaster. And it usually comes with its own special verb: "Le-hamit shoah", to bring upon someone or something a disaster. Hebrew speakers use it to describe a nuclear disaster (shoah garinit), among other usages. The Holocaust, when brought up to by Hebrew speakers is always, always, always referred to as "Ha-Shoah", THE Shoah, to differentiate from any other shoah.
Thank goodness Noga has cleared that one up. Israel intends to nuke Gaza, not gas its population. Phew!

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