JERUSALEM (JTA) — Arab-Israeli lawmaker Hanin Zoabi declined an invitation to participate in a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, saying that there is an “alarming similarity” between Nazi Germany and current Israeli policies.
Zoabi was invited to take part in the annual national ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah, which will be held next month at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai in southern Israel.
“You can’t teach the lessons of the Holocaust when you don’t distinguish between the alarming similarity in what is happening today all around us and what happened in Germany in the 1930s,” wrote Zoabi in a letter to organizers of the ceremony, that was leaked to the Israeli media. “And that is where the danger lies: summary executions, detentions without trial, torture, gag orders, persecuting protesters and political activists.”
She said Israel’s teaching of the Holocaust is “selective and manipulative” with the aim “to increase the motivation to defend by humiliating and oppressing the other.”
Zoabi’s office told the Jerusalem Post that it was upset the private letter had been leaked to the media.
Yad Mordechai is named in memory of Mordechai Anielewicz, the first commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Zoabi is famously controversial in Israel. In February she was suspended from the Knesset for four months for meeting with families of Palestinians terrorists killed while attacking Israelis, and standing for a moment of silence in their memories.
In November, at speech in Amsterdam at an event commemorating Kristallnacht, Zoabi also equated Israel’s actions against the Palestinians to the violence against Jews that led to the Holocaust.