Ireland / 02-04-2017
Cork - A University of Exeter lecturer has defended comparing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to the way the Nazis treated Jews. Dr Ghada Karmi also insisted that the term “untermensch” - used by the Nazis to brand “inferior” non-Aryan people - could be legitimately used to describe Israel's relationship with the Palestinians.
Ms Karmi, who has delivered lectures on 'conflict and peace-making' at Exeter, made her remarks at a conference of academics and pro-Palestinian activists,held in Cork, Ireland, which repeatedly questioned Israel's right to exist.
On Saturday, one of the main conference organisers had told the audience that he was "profoundly uncomfortable" about the use of the word “untermensch" in a previous speech at the event. Ms Karmi responded: "I just felt I had to say something about the use of the word 'untermesch'. Untermensch's equivalent in English is sub-human. And sub-human is how people in Gaza feel they are being treated by the Israeli army. We are not allowed to use words that the Nazis used as if they were true and unique only to what the Nazis did to the Jews. It is not right. For Palestinians I don't think they make a distinction between what happened to the Jews in Germany and what is happening to them. That is something we need to remember. If the writer of that paper used the words 'untermensch' - people need to be shocked into awareness of what is really happening."
On Friday, Ms Karmi, who was born in Jerusalem but has lived most of her life in the UK, had offered her thoughts on Jewish immigration into then Palestine after the Holocaust. She claimed: "Most of those Jews wanted to go to US or to Europe - they did not want to go to Palestine. However we know Western states were unwilling to admit them. Palestine seemed a good solution."
She then added: "The Jews were not wanted in Europe, they were an unpopular, unloved people, who were off-loaded into the area."
Ms Karmi claimed the Jews in Palestine were "groups of foreign immigrants trying to behave as though they were indigenous." She added: "It is a foreign community who just turned up."
Commenting on the foundation of the Israeli state, she said it had been "a stitch up from beginning to end" by the United Nations.