What’s relevant here, however, are the specific facts about the current situation in Gaza—the details and realities that transcend glib (and in some ways, come-hither) comparisons. And while there have been arguments for and against the idea of proportionality in the coverage of the current conflict (for every article that cites the disproportionate number of Gazans versus Israelis dead, there’s been an op-ed rejecting such comparisons as misleading and not context-driven), it’s ironic that some of the critics of the proportionality argument are just as willing to embrace language that conveniently forgets that there’s a bigger sphere of proportionality as well—not just concerning death tolls on opposite sides, but also with respect to historical accuracy. Hamas, the political entity, doesn’t correspond in size, degree or intensity with the Nazis; in this context—with a distorted characterization that seeks to qualify as well as quantify—proportionality does matter. And a headline like “Who are the real Nazis?,” with its bombastic sense of rectitude, does a disservice to the critical discourse about both the Gaza conflict and the events that engendered it—and irresponsibly turns a painful historic event into an attention-seeking label.
03:38 PM - January 16, 2009
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