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March 13, 2016

“victimhood cannot be the foundation stone of Jewish identity”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, TV shows — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:26 am

The title of my blog post today is the words of Charles Krauthammer.  For those readers who do not know who Charles Krauthammer is, I will save you the trouble of looking him up on Wikipedia.

The following quote is from Wikipedia:

Charles Krauthammer, MD (/ˈkraʊt.hæmər/; born March 13, 1950) is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, author, political commentator, and physician. His weekly column is syndicated to more than 400 newspapers worldwide.[1] He is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and a nightly panelist on Fox News’s Special Report with Bret Baier. He was a weekly panelist on PBS news program Inside Washington from 1990 until it ceased production in December 2013.

End quote

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a frequent commentator on Bill O’Reilly’s TV news program. I have listened to Krauthammer speak many times, enough to know that he is extremely intelligent and highly informed about literally everything.  He is a person who should be greatly admired for what he has accomplished in his life, despite the adversity which he has had to overcome.

Today I read  a news article entitled Krauthammer: the Holocaust and the Jewish identity which you can read in full at

http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/charles-krauthammer/krauthammer-the-holocaust-and-the-jewish-identity/article_d7d30289-8671-56f8-b0ba-2ce0b13b2d79.html

The following quote is from the news article, cited above:

Begin quote

Memory is sacred, but victimhood cannot be the foundation stone of Jewish identity. Traditional Judaism has 613 commandments. The philosopher Emil Fackenheim famously said that the 614th is to deny Hitler any posthumous victories. The reduction of Jewish identity to victimhood would be one such victory. It must not be permitted.

End quote

The newspaper quote continues with this explanation:

Begin quote

Bernie Sanders is the most successful Jewish candidate for the presidency ever. It’s a rare sign of the health of our republic that no one seems to much care or even notice. Least of all, Sanders himself. Which prompted Anderson Cooper in a recent Democratic debate to ask Sanders whether he was intentionally keeping his Judaism under wraps.

“No,” answered Sanders: “I am very proud to be Jewish.” He then explained that the Holocaust had wiped out his father’s family. And that he remembered as a child seeing neighbors with concentration camp numbers tattooed on their arms. Being Jewish, he declared, “is an essential part of who I am as a human being.”

A fascinating answer, irrelevant to presidential politics but quite revealing about the state of Jewish identity in contemporary America.

Think about it. There are several alternate ways American Jews commonly explain the role Judaism plays in their lives.

(1) Practice: Judaism as embedded in their life through religious practice or the transmission of Jewish culture by way of teaching or scholarship. Think Joe Lieberman or the neighborhood rabbi.

(2) Tikkun: Seeing Judaism as an expression of the prophetic ideal of social justice. Love thy neighbor, clothe the naked, walk with God, beat swords into plowshares. As ritual and practice have fallen away over the generations, this has become the core identity of liberal Judaism. Its central mission is nothing less than to repair the world (“Tikkun olam”).

Which, incidentally, is the answer to the perennial question, “Why is it that Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic?” Because, for the majority of Jews, the social ideals of liberalism are the most tangible expressions of their prophetic Jewish faith.

When Sanders was asked about his Jewish identity, I was sure his answer would be some variation of Tikkun. On the stump, he plays the Old Testament prophet railing against the powerful and denouncing their treatment of the widow and the orphan. Yet Sanders gave an entirely different answer.

(3) The Holocaust. What a strange reply — yet it doesn’t seem so to us because it has become increasingly common for American Jews to locate their identity in the Holocaust.

For example, it’s become a growing emphasis in Jewish pedagogy from the Sunday schools to Holocaust studies programs in the various universities. Additionally, Jewish organizations organize visits for young people to the concentration camps of Europe.

End quote  from newspaper article.

1389.3 Holocaust F

Hungarian Jewish men selected for work

Hungarian women shortly after their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian women shortly after their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

Jews waiting for their turn to be gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Jews waiting for their turn to be gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau

 

 

February 1, 2015

the unexpected return of anti-Semitism in Europe

Anti-Semitic WWII poster in Germany

Anti-Semitic WWII poster in Germany

This quote is from an article, written by Charles Krauthammer, which you can read in full here:

The rise of European anti-Semitism is in reality just a return to the norm. For a millennium, virulent Jew-hatred — persecution, expulsions, massacres — was the norm in Europe until the shame of the Holocaust created a temporary anomaly wherein anti-Semitism became socially unacceptable.

The hiatus is over. Jew-hatred is back, recapitulating the past with impressive zeal. Italians protesting Gaza handed out leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish merchants. As in the 1930s. A widely popular French comedian has introduced a variant of the Nazi salute. In Berlin, Gaza brought out a mob chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone!” Berlin, mind you.

European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.

Is there any other group of people, anywhere in the world, that has a word which means “hatred of their own group of people”?

Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t know the current meaning of the word “anti-Semite” as opposed to the original meaning of the word?

I wrote about the original meaning of the word on this old blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/was-richard-wagner-an-anti-semite/

Nazi propaganda poster

Nazi propaganda poster

The famous Nazi propaganda poster, shown in the photo above, illustrates the reasons that the Germans hated the Jews. The German words, written in blood red, say “The eternal Jew” in  English. Note the hammer and cycle emblem of Communism at the top of the poster.

The article written by Charles Krauthammer ends with this quote:

The Iranian bomb is a national security issue, an alliance issue and a regional Middle East issue. But it is also a uniquely Jewish issue because of Israel’s situation as the only state on earth overtly threatened with extinction, facing a potential nuclear power overtly threatening that extinction.

On the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz, mourning dead Jews is easy. And, forgive me, cheap. Want to truly honor the dead? Show solidarity with the living — Israel and its 6 million Jews. Make “never again” more than an empty phrase. It took Nazi Germany seven years to kill 6 million Jews. It would take a nuclear Iran one day.

Is there any word that means hatred of the German people?  Maybe there is a word for this in Yiddish, but I don’t know of any such word in English.  I think that hatred of the German people is so prevalent that it is considered to be normal thinking and there is no word for it.

World-wide hatred of the German people will go on until the end of time because it is promoted by Holocaust education.  I wrote about this in a previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/does-holocaust-education-teach-hatred-of-the-german-people/

Wikipedia has an entry entitled “Anti-German sentiment”, which you can read here.  Maybe Krauthammer should write about hatred of the German people, which is promoted by the Jews with their numerous Museums and monuments to the Jews world-wide.

I wrote about Jewish hatred for the German people, as shown in the Jewish  Museum in Berlin, at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/jewish-museum-in-berlin/

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