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The Futility of Evil

Comparing the horrors of the Holocaust to Israel’s actions in Gaza or Hamas’s vicious October 7 attack is misguided and anti-Semitic. Despite the profound trauma of the past few weeks, the tendency of both Israelis and Palestinians to portray the conflict as an existential battle against absolute evil will make things worse.

NEW YORK – In 2002, during a visit to Ramallah, Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese writer José Saramago compared the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank to the extermination of Jews in Auschwitz. This extraordinary remark triggered an international uproar, but Saramago asserted that as an intellectual, it was his duty to “make emotional comparisons that would shock people into understanding.”