When Allied forces were bombing German cities, it was argued more than once that they were bombing military facilities such as bases and munitions factories. In this respect, there might be room for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comparison between Israel and the Americans and British. That's what they argued then, and this is what Israel says now.
Over the years, it became apparent that most of the German cities were bombed to break the German population's support for Hitler, and in many cases, they were leveled to their foundations out of wartime vindictiveness. Several reports on the bombing of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead also show that in many cases, there is no foundation to the claim that Israel did enough to avoid hitting civilians. In this respect, too, there is room for comparison between Israel and Britain.
Winston Churchill, whom Netanyahu mentioned so many times in his speech, was not tried as a war criminal. That was because war crimes were clearly defined only after World War II, but more importantly, because Britain won the war and Germany was defeated.
But over the years, opposition to the bombing of German cities, including Dresden, became more vocal. These acts were called war crimes and even crimes against humanity, and rightly so. In a similar manner, fair people today condemn the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Since World War II, many cities have been bombed, and it cannot be justified: not in Hanoi and not in Dubrovnik, not in Tel Aviv and not in Gaza.
I was uncomfortable when I watched Netanyahu's rhetorical use of World War II documents to prove to the world that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was lying and that the Holocaust indeed occurred. It was unnecessary and embarrassing. In presenting documents from Wannsee and Auschwitz, he was engaging in dialogue with Holocaust deniers.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now