Thursday, November 19, 2020

  • Thursday, November 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In response to Christiane Amanpour's grossly inappropriate analogy of the Trump presidency with Kristallnacht as well as other analogies by politicians and celebrities of recent events to the Holocaust, the ADL issued a brief report emphasizing the inappropriateness of using the Holocaust this way.  

The ADL's leader Jonathan Greenblatt summarized the argument in a tweet: "The Holocaust was among the most horrific events in human history. Whether you are an elected official, news anchor or public personality, let's avoid direct comparisons to the systematic slaughter of 6M Jews & millions of others at the hands of the Nazis. "

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has come up with a categorization of Holocaust distortion that we see nowadays:

1.       Holocaust Promotion
2.       Holocaust Denial
3.       Holocaust Depreciation
4.       Holocaust Deflection
5.       Prewar and Wartime Holocaust Equivalence
6.       Postwar Holocaust Equivalence
7.       Holocaust Inversion
8.       Accusations of Jewish Holocaust-Memory Abuse
9.       Obliterating the Holocaust Memory
10.     Holocaust-Memory Silencing
11.     Universalizing/Trivializing the Holocaust

While these manifestations of Holocaust distortion are often antisemitic, they are not necessarily so. In the cases mentioned by the ADL of Amanpour and others such as Alec Baldwin, the rhetorical device used is Holocaust Trivialization   Facile Holocaust analogies are so prevalent and banal that they usually reveal that the offender is clueless as to how offensive they are, rather than a conscious attempt to minimize the Holocaust.

The popular far-Left cartoonist Eli Valley responded to Greenblatt's tweet with this grotesque cartoon that has received hundreds of "Likes":

Valley's response isn't mere Holocaust Trivialization - it is Holocaust Inversion.

Holocaust inversion, the portrayal of Israel and Jews as Nazis, is always antisemitic.

There have been a number of papers published on the phenomenon. Wikipedia claims that the assertion that Holocaust inversion is antisemitic is contested among scholars, quoting only one:

Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism argues that Holocaust inversion is often not antisemitic, because it is a commonly used rhetorical device “used in many arguments about many subjects, often light-mindedly, lacking any specifically antisemitic content” such as Israeli politicians who refer to each other as Nazis, and because the inversion (in relation to the 2014 Gaza war) is not motivated by an anti-Jewish subjectivity but by criticism of Israeli policy.[2]
However, Feldman realized that he confused Holocaust inversion and Holocaust trivialization, and updated the paper - removing the parts where he made that mistake:
When I wrote the report I was eager, among other things, to make the point that some discourse about Jews can be factually incorrect and offensive yet not be antisemitic. This remains a useful thought, I believe. However, the way in which the original report applied this idea to analogies made by some writers and activists between Israel’s actions and those of Nazi Germany was flawed: these sentences are now omitted.
I am not aware of any serious scholar that believes that Holocaust inversion is not antisemitic. 

Alan Johnson, writing in response to Feldman's original flawed paper, gives three contexts where he says Holocaust inversion is antisemitic. I can see how Leftists would dispute two of them, but the third is unassailable.

The "discursive context," he notes, "renews the core motif of antisemitism, which is that the Jews are not just ‘Other’ but also malign." Leftists would argue that in this case it is not antisemitic, because there are "righteous Jews" like Valley who are not the targets of the Holocaust analogy.

The "political context," Johnson writes, is that "an essential part of the political practice of a global social movement [is] dedicated to the destruction of only one state in the world—the Jewish one." Again, Leftists would argue that they don't conflate the Jewish state with Jews, since there are some anti-Zionist Jews.

However, no one can argue against what Johnson called "The Jewish Context:"
 The inversion is obscene; it verges on the demonic in its cruelty as it implicitly demands, as a matter of ethical obligation no less—and this after the rupture in world history that was the Shoah—the destruction of the Jewish homeland as a unique evil in the world no better than the perpetrators of the Shoah. Logically, as Elhanan Yakira puts it, the discourse is ‘annihilationist.’... Iganski, McGlashan, and Sweiry point out that ‘deep wounds are scratched when the Nazi-card is played . . . in discourse against Jews.’ The inversion is ‘not simply abusive,’ they add, but ‘invokes painful collective memories for Jews and for many others’ such that ‘by using those memories against Jews it inflicts profound hurts’ and can lead to violence. In a similar vein, Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust has argued that Holocaust inversion in the United Kingdom in 2014 played on Jewish sensibilities ‘in order to provoke a reaction,’ adding, ‘another word for that is Jew-baiting.’ For the Community Security Trust, ‘incidents equating Israel to Nazi Germany would normally be recorded as antisemitic,’ because the inversion has a ‘visceral capacity to offend Jews on the basis of their Jewishness’ and ‘carries a particular meaning for Jews because of the Holocaust.’ Yakira ... points out, when it is applied to Jews, the inversion actively seeks to ‘suppress memory’ and so ‘can only mean eliminating identity.’
Almost lost in the academic-speak is that Holocaust inversion has a unique motivation: to cause specific pain to Jews. Invoking the idea that Jews are are modern-day Nazis is meant to hurt Jews. Invoking that analogy does not shed light on the Middle East; it has only a single motivation: cruelty. The hate that motivates this kind of attack is indistinguishable from the hate that motivates attacks on Blacks or gays or women. It is irrational, it is psychotic, and the perpetrators always have some sort of justification as to why their bigotry is righteous.

Valley's cartoon is meant to say that Jews - not Israelis but Jews specifically - have turned into the most monstrous people in history. 

Of course, the cartoon works on multiple levels that makes it even worse. It subverts the phrase "never again" from its context of Jews no longer being helpless - the raison d'etre of Israel - into an attack on Israel. It implies that Holocaust victims themselves would agree with his monstrous idea that a state meant to protect Jews from future Holocausts is morally indistinguishable from a regime that dedicated a significant portion of its resources to murder millions of people because they were Jews.

Yet it is the Holocaust inversion itself that is definitionally antisemitic. 

For the Leftists that argue that there is no such thing as Leftist antisemitism, this is proof that it exists, it is undeniable and it is widespread.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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