Goldsmiths, Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto

Antisemitism, holocaust relativism, lies and propoganda

Gaza and the Ghetto

Antisemitism on Campus, Holocaust Relativism

Goldsmiths, Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto

An open letter sent to the Student Union of Goldsmiths' College. Reproduced here with permission of the author. Background on the events, where the situation in Gaza was be compared to that in the Warsaw Ghetto under the Nazis, can be see at the forums. The table in this letter is adapted from Michael Horesh's blog by the author.

OPEN LETTER sent to Holly Bott of Student Union, Goldsmiths' College:

13 November 2008

Dear Holly Bott

"From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Gaza Ghetto" - 12 November - Palestinian Society, Goldsmiths College, London University

You invited me to write to you about this event.

Both the title and the content of this event were antisemitic, according to the most widely agreed definition of antisemitism (that of the European Union Monitoring Committee - it can be found at this link:

This definition is used inter alia by the US Congress and by the UK Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism. It includes among examples of statements that could be antisemitic: “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

The title clearly falls into that category. So did much of Suzanne Weiss’ talk. The following are six examples that I noted down:

  1. Israel defended its participation in the 1956 invasion of Suez in the name of preventing a new Holocaust.
  2. Israel's attacks against the Palestinians have increasingly used the methods of Nazism.
  3. Zionism and Nazism have ethnic cleansing in common
  4. There are three groups of similarities between the Warsaw Ghetto and Gaza: ‘methods’, ‘motivation’ and ‘resistance’.
  5. The Zionists' "final solution" is a Holocaust against the Palestinians.
  6. The "Gaza Ghetto" is reminiscent of the Nazis.

Quite apart from being replete with antisemitism, Weiss’ talk was also replete with falsehoods. Here are seven examples that I noted down:

  1. She said Zionism seeks an ethnically exclusive State. In fact 20% of the citizens of Israel are not Jewish and their minority rights are protected by both the Declaration of Independence and the law.
  2. She said Israel wants to eliminate Palestinians from the face of the earth / wipe them from the map
  3. She said in 1948 Israel displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Historians such as Ephraim Karsh and Benny Morris have shown that this is not true.
  4. She said that Israel has a “racist quest for more land”. The truth is that Israel never sought to control the West Bank and Gaza, and has returned Gaza to Palestinian control. Both fell under Israeli control as a result of the 1967 War, when Israel launched a pre-emptive attack when Egypt was massing on its borders and when Israel was attacked by Jordan.
  5. She said that the “Zionists want their exclusively Jewish State to expand”. This is false because (i) Israel is not “exclusively Jewish”, see above and (ii) Israel has no desire to expand – indeed the “Road Map” to peace (to which Israel is committed) commits to complete withdrawal, in exchange for a commitment to peace.
  6. She said (I think I heard right) that Gazans are often forced to crawl naked.
  7. She said 40% of the Holocaust survivors in Israel are below the poverty line.

But the biggest falsehood of all was in the title of the event, "From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Gaza Ghetto". Here are ten ways in which the Warsaw Ghetto differed from the situation in Gaza:


Warsaw Ghetto

Gaza Strip


How did they get there?

Jews were forcibly rounded up and sent there

Residents have lived there for generations

Arrived there after wars with Israel

Went there to escape from Egypt


Allowed out?

Under no circumstances – under threat of death

Israel allows tens of thousands every day to work in Israel.

Israel allows in medical cases.

Egypt maintains a blockade.


Supplies allowed in?


Israel sends in approx 90 lorries of supplies, 5 days a week.

Mass smuggling campaign.

Egypt has closed its border.


Has other housing been provided?


Israel left Gaza in 2005.


Do people die of hunger?

Hundreds - daily

No – see the photo of Lauren Booth in a well-stocked shop (below)


Was the outcome in the residents’ control?

No – liquidation and slaughter

When Hamas recognises Israel and changes its antisemitic Charter, peace can come quickly.



Pathetic – and directed against troops

Daily Kassam rocket fire directed randomly against civilian targets in Israel (nb there is now a ceasefire)


Life expectancy

3 years at most for a Jewish woman

75 for a Palestinian woman (Souce:UN)


Human rights

The world ignored the slaughter of 100s of thousands.

Hamas rejects freedom of press, persecutes Christians, subjects women and gays to second class status and has dismissed teachers who are not members of Hamas





You claim that your Union has a “no platform” policy for racists and that you condemn racism. If this was so, surely you would not offer a platform to speakers who make antisemitic statements.

Unlike in the US, there is no concept of "freedom of speech" in English law. The college and the Union have to have regard to their duties under the Race Relations Amendment Act, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, the Protection against Harrassment Act, the Public Order Act and others. The Human Rights Act 1998 says specifically that human rights protection (the right of free speech) must not be used to undermine the human rights of others, in this case the rights of Jewish students on campus. I know that the outcome of events such as this is to increase the pressures on Jewish students on campus, since Israel is central to Judaism (you will be aware that the Zionist movement – the move for a State grounded in Judaism – was the response to centuries of persecution of Jews culminating in the Holocaust).

If Jewish students are indeed being intimidated as a result of events such as tonight’s, then at some stage there will be a successful prosecution under one or more of these Acts.

Is it too much to hope that Student Unions such as yours will self-regulate before this happens?

Jonathan Hoffman

Photo of Lauren Booth shopping in Gaza

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