Saturday, January 17, 2009

President Chavez's Abuse of the Holocaust

Gleaned from Deborah Lipstadt's blog:

President Chavez's Abuse of the Holocaust

The David S. Wyman Institute is preparing the following letter.

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 and genocide scholars, we are deeply troubled by your statement that Israel is carrying out “a Holocaust” in Gaza, and that Israeli President Shimon Peres should be prosecuted for genocide. (Reuters, Jan. 7, 2009)

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 Hamas terrorism; has no interest in harming innocent residents of Gaza; and indeed has done its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, whereas Hamas 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 last year on global antisemitism, included “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as an example of antisemitism. (Sec. 1:7)

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 Massachusetts-Amherst (emer.)
Author, The Abandonment of the Jews

Prof. Shlomo Aronson
Hebrew University (emer.) / University of Arizona
Author of Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews

Prof. Michael Berenbaum
Director, Ziering Institute on the Holocaust, American Jewish University
Research Director (emer.), United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
President (emer.), Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

Dr. Paul R. Bartrop
Head, Department of History. Bialik College (Australia)
Author, False Havens: The British Empire and the Holocaust

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

Dr. Myrna Goldenberg
Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Holocaust Studies, The Richard Stockton State College, NJ
Coauthor, Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis, and the Holocaust

Dr. Irving Greenberg
Past President, Jewish Life Network
Past Chairman, United States Holocaust Memorial Council

Dr. Alex Grobman
Institute for Contemporary Jewish Life
Author, Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust

Dr. Elvira Groezinger
Institut fuer Jdaistik
Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany
Author, Die jiddische Kultur im Schatten der Diktaturen

Prof. Susannah Heschel
Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
Author, Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs
The University of Alabama
Author, Christian Religious Responsed to the Shoah

Prof. Kevin Lewis
Dept. of Religious Studies
University of South Carolina
Fulbright Senior Lecturer, Islamic Univ. of Gaza, Fall 1998

Mitchell Lieber
Director and Editor, Educational Web Site
(the Holocaust in Latvia) - Chicago, IL

Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt
Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies
Emory University
Author, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving

Rev. Dr. Franklin H. Littell
Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religion, Temple University
Founder, Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust

Dr. Marcia Sachs Littell
Professor Holocaust & Genocide Studies - Richard Stockton College of NJ
Executive Director, Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust

Dr. Erich H. Loewy
Professor of Medicine and Founding Chair of Bioethics (emer.)
University of California, Davis
Author, Freedom and Community

Dr. Sharon. R. Lowenstein
Author, Token Refuge

Prof. Andrei S. Markovits
Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Author, The German Predicament

Dr. Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Author, Blowing the Whistle on Genocide

Prof. Stephen H. Norwood
University of Oklahoma
Coeditor, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History

Prof. David Novak
J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Professor of Jewish Studies
University of Toronto

Prof. Paul Oppenheimer
City College and Graduate Center, the City University of New York
Author of Evil and the Demonic

Prof. Zsuzanna Ozsvath
University of Texas at Dallas
Author, In the Footsteps of Orpheus

Prof. David Patterson
Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies, The University of Memphis
Author, Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature

Prof. Robert Jan van Pelt
University Professor, University of Waterloo
Author, The Case for Auschwitz

Dr. Susan L. Pentlin
Professor Emeritus University of Missouri
New Editor, Mary Berg's Diary: Growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto

Prof. Allen Podet
State University of New York College at Buffalo
Author, The Anglo-American Committee on Palestine

Prof. Eunice G. Pollack
University of North Texas
Coeditor, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History

Prof. Harry Reicher
University of Pennsylvania Law School;
Scholar-in-Residence, Touro Law Center
Author, Holocaust Law: Materials and Commentary

Prof. Paul L. Rose
Pennsylvania State University
Editor, Archives of the Holocaust (Vol. XIV)

Prof. Thane Rosenbaum
Director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society
Fordham University School of Law
Author, The Myth of Moral Justice

Prof. Richard L. Rubenstein
President Emeritus, University of Bridgeport
Author, After Auschwitz

Dr. Mary Todd
Professor of History
Ohio Dominican University

Prof. Kenneth Waltzer
Professor and Director, Jewish Studies
Michigan State University

Prof. James E. Young
Chair, Department of Judaic & Near Eastern Studies, U. of Mass. Amherst
Author, Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust
Member, Academic Council, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Prof. John C. Zimmerman
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Author, Holocaust Denial

(Institutions listed for identification purposes only.)


David Ben-Ariel,
Author, Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall

Thanks for your support of the petition to Pres. Chavez, but it was completed last week and sent to the Venezuelan Embassy at that time.

best wishes,
Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Washington, D.C.

I guess it was the thought that counted.

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