There’s moral equivalence. There’s also moral relativity. And then there’s
whatever the hell The Jerusalem Post has been doing recently.
On August 13, 2021, Australian freelance journalist and anti-Nazi campaigner David Goldman submitted an article titled: ‘This disgraceful mocking of the Holocaust needs to stop now’ to The Jerusalem Post, which was published the following day, specifically as an op-ed and not news.
By August 17, it was removed from the J-Post’s website, courtesy of pressure from a range of sources, including from the Republic of Serbia, run by Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, a former henchman of indicated war criminal, Slobodan Milosevic.
Goldman claimed that a former WW2 concentration camp known as Jasenovac has been hijacked by Serbian nationalists by using fake claims, an over-the-top historical account, and an exaggerated and unprovable death toll, which incredibly has been increasing since 1946, when the one and only excavation by Yugoslavia found physical remains of less than 1300 people in and around the site of the camp.
Adding to the confusion, says Goldman, the ‘official’ Jasenovac database only goes back as far as 2012, and now claims 83,145 victims perished at Jasenovac, by virtue of what some have called ‘extrapolation’.
Since there was no scientific way to explain this 66-fold increase in victims, so far it has been the subject of three peer-reviewed scientific papers, all casting doubt on the accuracy of this 12-year-old database.
The point of the op-ed says the highly reclusive Goldman was to find the truth “…It is utterly inconceivable that in 2021, there is in the centre of Europe a place where no-one – including Yad Vashem – knows the reality of what actually happened there during WW2.”
“My article was intended as a warning that this kind of amateurish agitprop does not belong in the legitimate body of Holocaust history, and in this age of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, it is very much a poisoned chalice; a piece of Balkan fabrication that should be thoroughly investigated by bodies such as Yad Vashem,” he says.
Goldman’s particular ire was reserved for Jasenovac being dubbed the ‘Auschwitz of the Balkans’, a moniker he says is “undeserving, distasteful, and deeply disrespectful of Auschwitz’s 1.4 million innocent Jewish and other victims murdered by the Nazis.”
“Auschwitz was a particular type of evil that should never be trivialised or mocked, especially by those who want to use it as a vehicle to push their own agendas” he adds.
Regardless, then J-Post managing editor, Yaakov Katz, decided to have the article removed, along with the Opinions Editor, who was actually physically removed from his job over the so-called ‘storm’ generated by this article.
Fast-forward two years, on December 17, 2023, the same J-Post has published other op-eds, that not only highlight how moral depravity quickly becomes the willing bedfellow of war, but one’s that misuse the memory of parts of the Holocaust in an entirely different way.
Titled ‘Israel should make Gaza look like Auschwitz – council head’, the article by David Azoulai, head of the Metula Council, proposed sending all Gazans to refugee camps in Lebanon and flattening the whole Strip so it becomes an empty museum like Auschwitz.
Moral equivalence gone stark raving mad perhaps, but this shocking piece that does nothing but tarnish centuries of Jewish suffering goes on to say: “Tell everyone in Gaza to go to the beaches. Navy ships should load the terrorists onto the shores of Lebanon. The entire Gaza Strip should be emptied and levelled flat, just like in Auschwitz. Let it become a museum, showcasing the capabilities of the State of Israel, and dissuading anyone from living in the Gaza Strip. This is what must be done.”
And in another J-Post op-ed, this one only days later, Israel’s intelligence minister, Gila Gamliel, called on the West to “take in” residents of the Gaza Strip, “for humanitarian reasons.” Perhaps Gamliel was thinking of Madagascar as an option?
Adding insult to the pernicious injury these op-eds caused Israel’s image, both articles are still up today on the J-Post website, and by all accounts, will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Nor has anyone as yet lost their job for publishing either shocking examples of human prejudice.
So, what does all this tell us about the bubbling cauldron that is the J-Post’s editorial board when an article calling to verify the claims surrounding an 80-year-old concentration camp whose inmates were 90 percent non-Jewish and that for years has had serious questions surrounding the accuracy of its data was removed due to ‘diplomatic pressure’, while two shocking examples of moral relevance demanding Israel emulate the evils of the Nazis on Gaza’s civilian population are at the time of writing, still up on the J-Post website?
Maybe Friedrich Nietzsche put it best when he wrote, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster, for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
Regardless, it seems the once-great Jerusalem Post may need to rediscover its moral bearings – and it could take a lesson from the UKs News of the World, which was closed over the now-infamous phone hacking scandal.
That lesson being, that respect for journalism, once lost, is rarely regained, and as the war in Gaza drags on, this lesson becomes more important than ever.
According to the Book of Luke, Zacchaeus was a sinful tax collector that was despised by the crowd, but he managed to change – in other words, he achieved redemption.
If ‘sinful’ tax collectors can redeem themselves, then perhaps it’s still not too late for the Jerusalem Post.