Friday, January 28, 2011

Time to Stop Abusing the Holocaust

You've likely heard about the Wall Street Journal ad signed by 400 rabbis calling for the sanctioning of Glen Beck by Fox for his misuse of Holocaust terminology. See additional coverage of the story here.

The ad has elicited the expected vigorous response, including this from Commentary. But despite the partisan fury, everyone now seems to now agree that misuse of Holocaust metaphors should be out of bounds, across the board, not merely by one side of the political spectrum. I agree, which is why I signed the ad condemning Beck and also pointed out the misuse of the Shoah by a Democrat in last week's Shabbat-O-Gram (at the bottom).

Israelis also routinely abuse the memory of the Shoah by applying its supposed lessons too flippantly to the actions of political enemies. In some cases those lessons do need to be applied and remembered. But all too often those memories are stoked for demagogic and manipulative purposes. Beck's attack on Soros went even further, a personal accusation of being an accessory to genocide. And, according to the Atlantic's writer Jeffrey Goldberg, Beck does seem to have a Jewish Problem. I don't know Beck personally, but I do know that he is a neighbor, living in this area. I'd be delighted to welcome him here to TBE anytime.

It's time to let the lessons of the Holocaust speak for themselves, rather than cheapening them for expedient political ends.

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