Vilnai's exact words to the media were:-
"The more the Qassam rocket fire [on Israeli civilians] intensifies and increases its range, the Palestinians are bringing upon themselves a bigger disaster because we will use all our might to defend ourselves."
The Reuters newsagency came up with this story by Adam Entous and Joseph Nasr with additional reporting from Nidal al-Mughrabi - "Israel Minister warns Palestinians of "holocaust".
Among its dubious claims and reporting errors was the following gross blood libel made against the Jewish people and against the memory of all those those Jews who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany and its acolytes:-
"Holocaust" is a term rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi genocide during World War Two. Many Israelis are loathe to countenance using the word to describe other contemporary events".
This is a malicious and filthy lie calculated to bring Israel and the Jewish people into disrepute. The Hebrew word "shoah" for catastrophe, a cataclysm and a disaster entered the modern Hebrew language from the Biblical Hebrew. In modern Hebrew the word pre-dates the Second World War by decades and in Biblical Hebrew it has been around for millennia. "Shoah" can also be used in reference to a "holocaust" but when referring to "The Holocaust" the word used is "Hashoah" or "The Shoah". The Holocaust was all of these things - a catastrophe, a cataclysm and a disaster. It was the greatest example of a holocaust, hence called "The Holocaust". The Reuters spin is false however, because the word "shoah" is used in everyday modern Hebrew to refer not to a holocaust or The Holocaust but to a disaster which is exacly what Hamas is inviting on the Palestinians of Gaza with its escalation of rocket attacks at mainly civilian targets in Israel.
The Reuters article sparked off a frenzy among those in the news media eager to make capital from what they wanted to turn into an embarrasing gaffe:
The BBC: Israel warns of Gaza ‘holocaust’
The Guardian: Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’
The Times (of London): Israel threatens to unleash ‘holocaust’ in Gaza
Melbourne Age - Israel warns of Palestinian 'holocaust' as violence in Gaza worsens.
Tom Gross opines on Media Blog that "... given the virulently anti-Israel (and many would say anti-Semitic) track record of some of the news organizations who have jumped to prominently headline these mistranslated comments on their home pages, one wonders if they are making this mistake in innocence?"
If it were a matter simply of innocent mistake, the newsagencies would be offering their apologies for the libel committed against the Jews rather than hastily rewriting their handiwork as the BBC has done - The Mother of all mistranslations.
As for the Fairfax newspaper, The Age, I just can't see any apology on the horizon. There was no apology for the Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald blood libel in the Warsaw/Gaza letter writing affair despite clear breaches of standards already set down by the Australian Press Council so would it apologise for shoddy jornalism from a correspondent who by his own admission is "lazy"?
After all, what journalist would not, in this instance, have taken some time to check whether the Hebrew word "shoah" as used by Vilnai meant what was inferred by the use of the emotive word "holocaust" given the history of the Jewish people? What journalist would fail to understand how implausible it would be for this Israeli minister to threaten a "holocaust" on another people?
Perhaps one who, in his reporting of the region, routinely looks away when Israel's enemies like Ahmadinejad refers to them as "filthy bacteria", when Nasrallah wishes that all Jews could be in Israel to be killed together "so that it saves us going after Jews worldwide", or when he tells the world he has body parts of Israeli soldiers left on southern Lebanon's battlefields? One who ignores the real threats of genocide made against Jews that are ingrained in the Hamas Charter (see Article 7)?
Or perhaps one who just gleefully picks up and runs with every irresistable opportunity to malign the Jewish State?