February 1, 2005

Ami Eden: "Playing the Holocaust Card"

Yuri Slezkine's The Jewish Century gets a positive review from The Forward, the former Yiddish newspaper now published in English.

Also, Ami Eden, the national editor of The Forward, published an important op-ed in the NYT called "Playing the Holocaust Card:"

Jewish organizations and advocates of Israel fail to grasp that they are no longer viewed as the voice of the disenfranchised. Rather, they are seen as a global Goliath, close to the seats of power and capable of influencing policies and damaging reputations. As such, their efforts to raise the alarm increasingly appear as bullying.

The most recent example came earlier this month, after Prince Harry of Britain was photographed attending a private masquerade party in a World War II-era German uniform and Nazi armband. His appearance touched off a frenzy in the news media. The prince was called insensitive to Jewish suffering, with some suggesting that he was infected with anti-Jewish bigotry lurking in the genes of the royal family. One protester, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, called on the prince to make amends by traveling to Poland for the Auschwitz ceremony.

This is exactly the wrong approach. By playing the Holocaust card against Harry, Jewish critics deflected attention from how Harry had insulted the memory of the millions of Britons who suffered during World War II; they also risked squandering a diminishing supply of hard-won moral capital better spent in the fight against terrorism and the rise in Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism...

For more than half a century, Auschwitz has rightly stood at the heart of virtually every moral argument put forth by spokesmen for the Jewish community, a powerful testament to the consequences of otherwise decent people remaining silent in the face of evil. Yet this legacy is in peril, threatened by an increasing reliance on raw political muscle over appeals to conscience.

As the world recalls the horrors and liberation of Auschwitz, Jewish organizations and advocates for Israel should remember that "speaking truth to power" does not work when you are seen as the powerful one.

A brave essay. One thing that could be added is that Jews need to realize that people like Abe Foxman and Morris Dees are not on their sides. They are on the sides of Abe Foxman and Morris Dees, respectively. They make a very nice living scaring the bejeebers out of elderly affluent Jews with nightmare stories about how the New Cossacks are ready to ride, and then extracting big donations.

1 comment:

Michael Santomauro said...

"Take Two Trips to Auschwitz and Call Me in the Morning''

Dear Editor:
Jan. 14, 2005

Apparently the ''cure '' for the disease of anti-Semitism is to send the offending sufferers to Auschwitz in much the same way that people with incurable diseases are sent to Lourdes. It was announced today that Prince Harry, along with his innocent brother, (is the disease a genetic disorder?) will go to memorial services being held at Auschwitz later this month; following his ''act of contrition'' to the Jewish community for wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party. Since Nazis killed lots of other people besides Jews, why isn't he being asked to visit the Normandy beaches, Anzio or Stalingrad?

And as for the apology, is anyone keeping track of all the public people who have ''apologized'' to the Jews in recent years? Let's see, there was Brando, Billy Graham, Dolly Parton, Rep. Moran, Andrew Young, General Brown etc. ad nauseum. And while we are at it, can any one come up with the name of a single Jew who, as a Jew, has ever apologized to anyone for anything?


Professor F. Littell has said: "You can't discuss the truth of the holocaust. That is a distortion of the concept of free speech. The United States should emulate West Germany, which outlaws such exercises."


"Deep down, I believe that a little anti-Semitism is a good thing for the Jews - reminds us who we are." --Jay Lefkowitz (NYT Magazine. Feb.12, 1995. Page 65). Jay Lefkowitz is now Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.

Peace is patriotic!
Michael Santomauro
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