Daily Israel Report

Amos Oz: I Said Neo-Nazis, not Nazis

Famed writer refuses to backtrack on inflammatory statement against Price Tag perpetrators.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/11/2014, 11:51 AM

Amos Oz
Amos Oz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Famed writer Amos Oz refused Sunday to take back the comparison he made between Jewish perpetrators of Price Tag vandalism and neo-Nazis.

"The comparison I made on Friday is to neo-Nazis and not to Nazis,” he said in an interview on IDF Radio. “Nazis erect crematoria and gas chambers. Neo-Nazis desecrate places of worship, beat innocent people and spray paint racist slogans. That is what our neo-Nazis do. I did not say Nazis.”

"I wanted to shock,” admitted the 75-year-old Oz. “And I think it is time to see that there is no difference between what our Nazis do. Both of them desecrate places of worship, destroy property and beat up innocent people. Show me the difference between Europe's neo-Nazis and our neo-Nazis. I would not have used the word 'Nazis' and I oppose it.”

The head of militant leftist group Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, expressed support for Oz. He tweeted: “If a phenomenon of daily attacks on Jews, Jewish property and synagogues, were to spread in Europe, would anyone from the [Israeli] right wing also object to the term 'Neo Nazis'?”

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that the statement by Oz is unfortunate. “The man dedicated a book as a gift to Marwan Bargouti, who is in jail for murdering Jews. Therefore, the things he says do not really carry any weight.”

MK Shuli Moallem (Jewish Home) reacted Sunday to Oz by sarcastically suggesting: "Maybe it really is time to give you the Israel Prize next year,” she added. “We simply have to make up a new category for you. 'Modern anti-Semitism.'”

"The comparison between Price Tag actions to neo-Nazi groups is disgusting and cheapens the Holocaust,” said Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) Saturday evening, in reaction to Oz.

"There is no way of comparing Nazism, the essence of which was annihilation of other nations in the name of the superiority of the Aryan race, to spraying graffiti and puncturing of tires,” Ariel explained. “Price Tag is a serious crime that the Shin Bet and police must put an end to, and its perpetrators must be put on trial, but until now, they have failed in their mission.”