At least 26 Signatories
On the Wall Street Journal Ad
Criticizing Glenn Beck for Holocaust Analogies
Are Themselves Tied to Nazi Analogies
In response to this week’s ad in the Wall Street Journal by rabbis criticizing talk host Glenn Beck’s references to the Nazis, Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin today released the following statement:
Two of the lead signatories on the anti-Beck ad, Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson and Yael Ridberg, and fellow-signatories Rabbis Melanie Aron, Leila Gal Berner, Gary Bretton-Granatoor, David Brusin, Neil Comess-Daniels, Brian Field, Gary Gerson, Lynn Gottlieb, Sheldon (Shaya) Isenberg, Steven Jacobs, Jonathan Kligler, David Kline, Marc Kline, Michael Lerner, Mordechai Liebling, J. Rolando Matalon, Steven Reuben, Victor Reinstein, Chaim Seidler-Feller, Sid Schwarz, Gerald Serotta, Myra Soifer, Mervin Tomsky, and Arthur Waskow have all been officials of organizations or publications that have sponsored speakers or authors who have misused Holocaust terminology.
JewsForSarah are not aware that any of these rabbis has ever publicly protested against those instances of Holocaust-abuse. As officials of the offending organizations and publications, at the very least they should have publicly protested these abuses, or resigned their positions.
The results reported here are from a preliminary inquiry by Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin. We invite all responsible American Jewish organizations to conduct their own research into this matter.
• • •
1. Rabbis Bradley Shavit Artson, Chaim Seidler-Feller, and Arthur Waskow all served on the editorial board of Tikkun, the magazine founded and edited by Rabbi Michael Lerner (also a signatory on the ad).
– An essay in Tikkun 1989 by Phillip Lopate, who was then its Literary Editor, mocked author Elie Wiesel, and scholars Yehuda Bauer and Lucy Dawdowicz as “Holocaustians.” He also stated that there was “a grain of truth” in the writings of “the more moderate [Holocaust] revisionist historians” and claimed his mother was “erotically excited” by blue numbers on the arms of Holocaust survivors. (Tikkun, May -June 1989)
– An essay in Tikkun in 2002, by former Green Party senatorial candidate Joel Kovel, claimed that Israel is “turning its occupied lands into a huge concentration camp.” (New York Sun, Oct. 14, 2002)
– An essay in Tikkun in 1997, by Ross London, described visiting a whaling museum in Massachusetts: ”I could not help but imagine a Nazi museum of Jewish artifacts, the hordes of smiling Germans families that came to see the mementos neatly on display of an extinct race and how the battle against the Jews was historically fought and won.” (Tikkun, Sept.-Oct. 1997)
– Rabbi Lerner, in a debate in Berlin in 1993, claimed that Jews have built a “religion of the Holocaust” based on “new commandments: ‘I am the Holocaust, thou shalt have no other Holocausts before me…Remember the Holocaust to keep it holy.” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Jan. 14-20, 1994)
2. Rabbis Melanie Aron, Leila Gal Berner, David Brusin, Gary Bretton-Granatoor, Neil Comess-Daniels, Brian Field, Sheldon (Shaya) Isenberg, Jonathan Kligler, David Kline, Marc Kline, Mordechai Liebling, J. Rolando Matalon, Steven Reuben, Yael Ridberg, Sid Schwarz, Chaim Seidler-Feller, Gerald Serotta, and Myra Soifer were founding signatories on the “Break the Silence Campaign.”
– Break the Silence co-sponsored a 2000 U.S. speaking tour by Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. In an interview on Boston radio station WBUR’s “Connection” program on Jan. 18, 2000, Halper compared Israel’s legal system to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws. (On Camera, Feb. 3, 2000)
3. Rabbis Victor Reinstein, Myra Soifer, and Lynn Gottlieb have all served on the Advisory Committee of the Jewish Peace Fellowship (JPF).
– The JPF co-sponsored a 2000 U.S. speaking tour by Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. In an interview on Boston radio station WBUR’s “Connection” program on Jan. 18, 2000, Halper compared Israel’s legal system to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws. (On Camera, Feb. 3, 2000)
4. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb served on the National Council of New Jewish Agenda.
– NJA co-sponsored a U.S. speaking tour by Israeli extremist Gideon Spiro, who said Israeli soldiers should refuse orders to serve in Lebanon, because “Adolf Eichmann also said he obeyed an order.” (The Progressive, April 1989)
– NJA co-sponsored a speaking tour by Israeli extremist Dov Yermiya. In a speech in Seattle in 1981, Yermiya compared Israel to Nazi Germany. Confronted by criticism of that analogy, Yermiya replied: “It appears that I erred in explicitly mentioning the name which Jews consider a private asset, some kind of primate Satan which must not be mentioned in the same breath as their own actions, as parallel as those actions may be.” (University of Washington Daily, May 2, 1981)
– NJA cosponsored an event in Los Angeles in 1990 at which Prof. Yigal Arens was one of the featured speakers (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Dec. 21-27,1990), even though Arens was a leading figure in the extremist Jewish Committee on the Middle East, which compared Israel to the Nazis. For example, a JCOME ad in L.A. Weekly (Dec.16-22, 1980), in which Arens’s name was prominently featured, asserted: “The European experience culminated in the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. How tragic that in our own time the very State established by Jews in the aftermath of this evil has become a place where racialism, religious discrimination, militarism and injustice prevail…”
5. Rabbi Michael Lerner (in addition to his role as editor of Tikkun, see #1 above)
– In a debate in Berlin in 1993, Rabbi Lerner claimed that Jews have built a “religion of the Holocaust” based on “new commandments: ‘I am the Holocaust, thou shalt have no other Holocausts before me…Remember the Holocaust to keep it holy.” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Jan. 14-20, 1994)
6. Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
– “I’ve been driven for years by the notion that the Jewish people did not survive the Holocaust to become victimizers…” – Seidler-Feller, in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, May 1, 1998
A UCLA student who has attended Seidler-Feller’s lectures on campus, reported in the Yeshiva University student newspaper The Commentator that Seidler-Feller “has compared Jewish treatment of Palestinians to Nazi treatment of Jews.” (Jewish Press, Nov. 14, 2003)
7. Rabbis Gary Gerson, Steven Jacobs, Mervin Tomsky, and Arthur Waskow signed a 1982 “Rainbow Sign” petition citing the Holocaust as the basis for their demand that the U.S. and Soviet Union adopt a mutual freeze on nuclear weapons.
# # #
For the record – Transcript of JewsForSarah’s Benyamin Korn on msNBC’s ‘Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,’ 1/13/11, supporting Sarah Palin’s use of the term ‘blood libel’
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Palin has received a death threat at an unprecedented level.
PALIN: A blood libel that serves to only incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
MIKA BREZYNSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Every op-ed we have to choose from has to do with this story, one way or another.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: A blood libel, does she know what she‘s talking about?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY: I don‘t know. I have no idea. But what I would say is I think that—you know, I don‘t think anybody really believes that, you know, Governor Palin was trying to make someone get hurt or bring violence on. And I think she should have said that and left it at that.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: She‘s a fighter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was winning that argument without having to use that phrase, blood libel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She made yesterday about herself. It seemed just a little bit politically tone deaf to me.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: You know, Sarah Palin just can‘t seem to get it, on any front.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O‘DONNELL: Day two of fallout from Sarah Palin‘s use of the term blood libel in a video statement posted on her Facebook page in response to her critics, following Saturday‘s deadly shooting in Arizona. Joining me now, Dr. Karen Sutton, assistant professor of history at Touro College, and Benyamin Korn, director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.
Doctor Sutton, can you explain the phrase blood libel?
DR. KAREN SUTTON, ASST. PROF. TOURO COLLEGE: Yes. The blood libel has a very specific term. It refers to—it‘s also called the ritual murder accusation. It refers to a term that started actually in 1144 in England—in Norwich, England, that accuses Jewish, particularly Jewish rabbi and other high-ranking Jewish figures, of using blood to—actually killing a Christian child, usually a male baby, and using their blood to make Passover Matzo.
Unfortunately, whenever a child turns up missing throughout the centuries, it has been used as an accusation to wipe out entire communities, throughout the century. Although the Pope in the 1200s had said that there‘s nothing to this, nonetheless, it is used to ferment hatred and bigotry. And it is an extremely, extremely deadly and very hurtful term to Jews.
Particularly even in our own century, as late as 1928, there was a blood libel accusations in Messina, New York, the state where I‘m living in now. And countless number of Jews have been burned at the stake, tortured and skinned—just killed in the most brutal way for this accusation, this obviously false accusation against Jews.
In the Arab world, they use that in their media to largely ferment anti-Semitism and hatred.
O‘DONNELL: If I recall correctly the case in Messina, New York, it was about a child who was missing and who knows what might have happened if the child hadn‘t just walked out of the woods.
O‘DONNELL: Having been lost and walked out of the woods.
SUTTON: That‘s exactly true. The whole community was fearful of—on the edge.
O‘DONNELL: Benyamin Korn, you‘re a fan of Sarah Palin. You had to be disappointed with her use of that term in that speech yesterday.
BENYAMIN KORN, DIR, JEWISH AMERICANS FOR PALIN: I wasn‘t disappointed. We are not fans of Sarah Palin. We are supporters of her and her policies. That‘s a bit different from being a fan.
We felt that the use of the term is appropriate because it—like the word crusade, it has a larger meaning than its specific historical use. And it refers to the false charge of committing violence or of fomenting violence in a general sense.
Everyone who has commented on it recognizes that it has not only the specific historic meaning, like a crusade, but also a more general usage in the English and other languages.
SUTTON: I disagree with you.
O‘DONNELL: Go ahead.
SUTTON: I disagree.
O‘DONNELL: Let me just get to this. I—my understanding is it is a unique term that has no other application, and has been applied to nothing else in history.
KORN: No, that‘s not true. I mean, Abe Foxman of the ADL said that he preferred that Governor Palin would have used a different phrase, but acknowledged in their statement that it‘s very widely used in our culture. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law defended Governor Palin‘s use and said basically the same thing.
SUTTON: I—I‘m sorry. I was going to say, that term is used—it is bantered about. But it always used in the totally wrong context, just like the Swastika was at one a Sanskrit peace sign, a sun worshipper sign. You cannot paint a Swastika on something or use that and say anything. It‘s irrevocably used as a term that has wiped out communities throughout the centuries, from the Medieval period to the present.
It entirely ferments evil and the actual murder of hundreds and thousands of people. And to use it—
KORN: Well, Professor Sutton is entitled to her opinion about this. But the Anti-Defamation League chairman and Professor Dershowitz, who have a lot of gravitas in the Jewish community, disagree. I think that there‘s room for disagreement about the appropriate use of the term blood libel. But clearly people who are mainstream people in the Jewish community are not offended by it.
SUTTON: I think I disagree with you. I‘m sure that Sarah Palin might not have had that intention to ignite more. I mean, this violence and the horror of the shootings themselves are enough. To elicit even more hatred as a result of using terminology is certainly something that she may not have had intended.
But it has come up as a result. I would disagree. I would think most Jews are—and others, anyone who can think, would really understand that that word blood libel is a specific term meaning, you know, what we stated throughout the centuries.
KORN: Yes. Look, I agree you‘re entitled to your opinion and your interpretation. I‘m just pointing out that in the current debate, very mainstream people in the Jewish community have acknowledged the term is used in the general discourse, not merely to refer to Jews.
In articles we have published in the last couple of days—I‘m talking about Jews for Sarah—in articles we have published about this, we have cited numerous examples from contemporary reference where people use the term blood libel not in a Jewish context.
O‘DONNELL: Mr. Korn, do you think that‘s a good thing?
KORN: The problem is when Sarah Palin uses it, people go ballistic.
O‘DONNELL: Do you think it was a good thing? Do you thinks it was a good idea for her to use it? That that was good word choice? And that the term blood libel is a good way for her to describe what she thinks she has experienced?
KORN: Well, I think it was not just expressing what she has experienced. But, yes, I think it was a very good choice because she is a brilliant political communicator. With two words here, she has ignited the debate over the whole question of the false charges against her, the conservative movement, talk radio, Fox television, the Republican party, that they are somehow responsible for what happened in Arizona.
There was a knee-jerk reaction from irresponsible people in the media and in the political establishment to apportion blame on conservatives for what happened in Arizona—
SUTTON: I totally, totally disagree.
O‘DONNELL: Dr. Sutton, just a second. Is it comparable? Is what Sarah Palin experienced—let‘s just take at face value what Mr. Korn just said. Let‘s pretend what he said is true, that in 24 hours after the shooting, that Sarah Palin suffered some horrible public commentary that was really quite nasty. Let‘s assume that‘s true, that in the comfort of her home in Alaska, she suffered negative commentary.
SUTTON: Right. Negative—
O‘DONNELL: Is that experience overnight in the comfort of her home in Alaska comparable to the centuries, centuries of Jewish suffering represented in the phrase blood libel?
SUTTON: Yes. I think by the way this question was poised and posed
that the answer is quite evident that it is not. That criticism, however -
you know, we‘re not even looking at it, whether it was warranted or not warranted, or—I‘m not even addressing that issue.
But her response, her discomfort and her negativity is in no way—it totally trivializes and demeans from the meaning of that word. And I would suggest that anybody who uses that word, particularly if they‘re in the public eye—I happen to be an historian, so I look at the context of history. Within the context of history, I can show you pages and pages of centuries of entire communities throughout—throughout three continents being wiped out in the most horrific ways.
Certainly, in light of the Holocaust, where words have been used analogies to Holocaust—and there are people using it. IT doesn‘t mean it‘s right. I would suggest that the fight be against using words that are not appropriate. For people in the public eye, who are supposedly role models, who are hopefully or not hopefully office-seekers, this is just atrocious.
O‘DONNELL: That‘s going to have to be THE LAST WORD on blood libel for tonight. Dr. Karen Sutton, Benyamin Korn, thank you both very much for your time tonight. I wish we had more time.
KORN: Thanks for having me.
O‘DONNELL: Thank you. Ahead in the Rewrite, when the negative comments to Sarah Palin‘s post started piling up, that‘s when Team Palin started deleting.
And a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting is my special guest, ahead on THE LAST WORD.
‘Whose Ox is being Gored?’
Response of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin
to Critique of ‘400 Rabbis’
of Talk Show Host Glenn Beck
The critique of 400 rabbis of talk show host Glenn Beck for mis-use of Holocaust imagery is highly partisan, one-sided, and does the Jewish community – not to mention the memories of the Holocaust’s six million martyrs – no good service.
If four hundred rabbis want to publicly criticize talk show host Glenn Beck’s statements about George Soros and the Holocaust, they should also, for example, be criticizing talk show host Keith Olbermann’s comparison of prosecutor Kenneth Starr to Nazi chief Heinrich Himmler.
The prestige of the 400 hundred rabbis is diminished by the selectivity of their moral condemnation.
The mis-use of Nazi and Holocaust analogies is always problematic and disturbing to the Jewish community. Sadly, our public discourse is rife with such mis-use, and even intentional abuse.
But to single out only one such offender, when the public conversation is filled with such offenders, is not a genuine call for civil discourse. It is, rather, a perfect example of the old Talmudic dictum, “It depends on whose ox is being gored.” (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kama 4:3).
This dictum refers to a critical moral issue in Jewish thought, the existence of “a double standard, that is, treating insiders more favorably than outsiders,” according to a commentary (not related to this specific issue) by Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Rabbi Ismar Schorsch (Chancellor’s commentary on Parashat Mishpatim, February 24, 2001. 1 Adar 5761).
Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz had this to say this week in response to the criticism being leveled at Gov. Sarah Palin for her appropriate use of the term “blood libel” :
“[M]any of the same people on the left who criticized Palin for insensitivity to Jewish suffering, have themselves . . . given a pass to those on the hard left who have used Holocaust and Nazi references in mischaracterizing Israeli self defense actions.”
Glenn Beck correctly predicted Keith Olbermann’s firing two weeks ago, in the video clip above (>click to view<).
Here’s what else he had to say then:
* MSNBC is in incredible trouble, since Comcast does not see it as a loss-leader the way GE did.
* Comcast will run MSNBC as a business (not, as GE did, a tool to curry favor with the Obama administration by supplying the Left with a 24/7 propaganda network in exchange for whatever corporate subsidies, stimulus funds, and other corporate bribes GE wanted in this quid pro quo)
* If Comcast wants MSNBC to stay a Leftist station, it will still feature Leftist content . . . but it will have to strike a balance where it makes money (which it does not currently)
* Beck said, emphatically, that Comcast would not allow Keith Olbermann to stay on the air (and as of yesterday, 1/21/11, Beck was right)
* Keith Olbermann outlived his usefulness for radical and revolutionaries on the Left
* Beck insists the Left will ultimately come out with the deal of “If we get rid of MSNBC, then you have to get rid of FOX”. Beck scoffed at that, because MSNBC is low rated and clearly not popular with the majority of Americans and is doomed as a station unless Comcast radically alters it to make it more palatable to a wider audience. FOX, on the other hand, is the top rated news network in the country. While it’s not perfect, it really is fair and balanced for the most part.
* Keith Olbermann aired the clip of Beck’s predictions and tried making fun of it . . . but Beck was right about Olbermann’s firing.
Our friends at SPIB have put up a comprehensive set of links relating to the attack on Gov. Palin over her use of the term ‘blood libel.’ (Superb work, Fay.)
‘Di emes iz di emes‘ – ‘The truth is the truth’
– Yiddish saying
• KFAB out of Omaha, NB (8:40 AM EST)
• ‘The Brad and Britt Show’ out of Raleigh. NC (8:15 AM, EST)
(These links are not yet “live” to the download or streaming audio, but simply to the radio stations’ websites. We’ll update you when we get the “live” links.)
Sunday, 5-6 PM:
Benyamin Korn interviews pro-Palin advocate
and African-American conservative woman
Adrienne Ross of MotivationTruth.org
• JEWISH Independent TALK RADIO, 990 AM WNTP
out of Philadelphia (Salem Radio Affiliate)
(This is a “live” link.)