I’d like to make a proposition: any politician, communal leader, or political partisan who abuses history with a fraudulent analogy should have to pay a fine of $1-million payable from the treasury of their own nation. We could make the beneficiary some worthy UN agency like UNICEF or the High Commission for Refugees. If we could persuade the world to accept this notion, then we would rid the world of some of the stupidest, weirdest, most noxious political posturing, and ease the suffering of those forced to read this narischkeit.
The latest example of the genre is from Shimon Peres, Israel’s near-nonagenarian president known to enjoy inordinately the sound of his own voice. Israel’s president is in Russia attempting vainly to persuade the latter to join the coalition of those willing to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability. If Peres can’t recruit Russia as an active participant, he at least wants Russia not to interfere in Israel’s plans to cut Iran down to a suitable size. I say good luck to him. I doubt very much Russia wants to see one of its better customers for military and nuclear technology bombed back to the Stone Age.
Here is my nomination for the first penalty for fraudulent historical analogy:
During their four-hour meeting, Peres and Medvedev discussed Iran’s nuclear program. Peres said, “A nuclear bomb in the hands of Iran means only one thing – a flying death camp.”
Thomas Harrington has penned a neat satirical piece, New Think-Tank Seeks to Regulate Historical Analogies, which is totally apt in this case. In fact, I’d propose as an alternate to my above suggestion, that the new think tank offer a prize for worst historical analogy of the year and I’d make Peres the first nominee, though the competition for this award would be fierce. There are just so many politicians who think it’s their duty to distort the historical record for partisan political gain.
I chortled a bit when I read the mission statement for the new Institute:
We therefore seek to aid those habitually engaged in generating historical reasoning (or reporting it to the general public after a cursory reading of a commissioned think-tank position paper) to channel their ideas toward only those parallelisms which affirm that the U.S. and its close ally Israel stand outside the laws of causality that have governed the fates of other peoples on the earth.”
Jacobo Timerman opined in “The Longest War” that WWIII would probably be precipitated by the use of an inappropriate analogy.