Portuguese Nobel Prize winner for literature, José Saramago, this week had the Israeli government fuming after comparing the country's actions with those which occurred during the holocaust.
The Portuguese writer who hardly ever uses capitals or punctuation marks in his novels, this week exclaimed that the suffering inflicted by the Israeli army on Arabs in Palestine was comparable to that suffered by the Jews in the notorious Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz during the Second World War.
Saramago, who said before the Portugal general elections he would cut all ties with Portugal should the PSD become the next government, saw his words condemned by both religious and political leaders.
An Israeli rabbi, survivor of the holocaust in Poland, regretted that the Portuguese author should show "such a high level of ignorance as to what Nazi concentration camps were like."
The Israeli Foreign Ministry also lamented Saramago's statements made during a meeting with Yasser Arafat. "It is a pity that he has become the victim of cheap Palestinian propaganda." The Ministry further attacked the writer by censuring the "surprising historical amnesia revealed by Saramago in comparing the incomparable."
For Saramago, the comparison is justified given the "differences in space and time." The Nobel laureate further added that the work of an author is to bring injustices to the forefront by making use of similar and shocking examples in order to attract the attention of readers to a given situation.