NPR’s Holocaust obsession

Israel/Palestine
on 66 Comments

After waking up this morning to yet another Holocaust story on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, I headed to npr.org’s search page to check my impression that such stories been coming thick and fast lately. Narrowing my query to “Heard On Air” (excluding the blogs, Associated Press stories, and other things posted at the website), “Past Year,” and “News” (the only NPR programs I regularly listen to), I found 20 stories, not including today’s, that included the word “Holocaust.” Comparing other historical phenomena with tragic consequences, I found 15 hits on the word “slavery,” 11 on “native Americans,” nine on “communism,” five on “Rwanda genocide,” one on “Armenian genocide,” and one on “Ukrainian famine.”

Suggestive as these results may be, such simple word searches don’t get at the heart of the matter, because most of the hits are passing references within stories focused on current issues. But of the 21 stories that mention “Holocaust,” six by my count were sustained, in-depth discussions of some aspect of the Nazi murder of the Jews more than 65 years ago: today’s interview with an Israeli professor about his new book on one famous photograph from the Warsaw ghetto, an October 28 item on the role of German diplomats in the genocide, an August 28 piece on the Nazi Nuremberg laws, a July 23 analysis of the role of the French national railroad in the deportation of French Jews, an April 15 piece on the memories of American vets who helped liberate the Nazi concentration camps, and a March 9 segment entitled “Russian Village Haunted By A Hidden Holocaust Past.”

By contrast, only one of the 15 stories that mention slavery was focused on the history of black slaves in the U.S. Not a single one of the stories with the phrase “native Americans” dealt with their dispossession and near-extermination. And so on with the other categories.

Also of note is that NPR’s stories on the Holocaust talk almost exclusively about the murder of Jews. I spotted no references to the millions of non-Jews – Roma, gays, trade unionists, leftists, etc. – who were also killed in the camps, nor to the tens of millions of Polish and Russian civilians who died in the war.

For NPR, it seems, the Holocaust is the Chosen Tragedy. 

66 Responses

  1. Mooser
    November 27, 2010, 4:54 pm

    This is outrageous! Look Phil, the German Jews were not a State! They were an alien people, maybe even a race, who enscounsed themselves on Aryan soil, just like the Palestinians did on Jewish land in Palestine.
    I don’t see why those German Jews should be treated any better than the Palestinians. They were both guilty of the same crime: wanting the rights of people, or even a people, without having a State. What nerve.

    But I’m glad that’s cleared up. Now I know, especially from reading the wise words of hophmi, Max Narr, and the rest, that the German Jews got what was coming to them. Odd, that it took Zionists to convince me of this, but hey, facts is facts.

    • annie
      November 27, 2010, 5:17 pm

      henry wrote the post mooser.

      • Mooser
        November 28, 2010, 11:09 pm

        Don’t believe everything you read.

      • annie
        November 29, 2010, 3:12 pm

        ;) ok!

    • Antidote
      November 27, 2010, 6:20 pm

      “I don’t see why those German Jews should be treated any better than the Palestinians. ”

      As Jeffrey Blankfort keeps reminding us, most of the German Jews were shipped to Palestine during the 1930s via the Transfer Agreement, whether they wanted to live there or not. And presumably participated in or were complicit with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Were they more prone to do so because they were Jews or because they were Germans? Kafka, in one of his letters to Milena recently discussed on MW, recalls the story of Heine’s wife complaining about the Germans in Paris, their being typically arrogant, obnoxious, self-righteous and so on. An amused Bohemian writer pointed out to her that most of the Germans she had encountered in Paris were Jews, like her husband.

      The irony is that German Jews who arrived in Palestine during the 30s are considered victims and survivors of the Nazi regime entitled to compensation. Palestinians have suffered no less than they did, and still live in refugee camps with their descendants.

      • eljay
        November 27, 2010, 6:56 pm

        >> The irony is that German Jews who arrived in Palestine during the 30s are considered victims and survivors of the Nazi regime entitled to compensation. Palestinians have suffered no less than they did, and still live in refugee camps with their descendants.

        Having just survived and “Remember[ed] the Holocaust!”, those German Jews were “generation to generation” fear-scarred, and they had San Remo. Meanwhile, the Palestinians hated Israel, failed to make “better wheels” and were out for vengeance. So, clearly, ummm, a blue dot in a sea of green and, well, destabilization and maximalism.

      • straightline
        November 28, 2010, 8:30 am

        Quoting from
        link to nkusa.org

        “When Jews were persecuted, killed and expelled in other parts of the world, the Arab countries provided a safe haven and welcomed Jews with open arms. In Palestine as well, Jews enjoyed this hospitality when Palestinians and Jews co-existed in harmony for many generations, as is well-documented in Jewish books of that era. It was only Zionism, with its theft and oppression of the Palestinian people, that put an end to this co-existence. ”

        I will repeat the following, since some people appear either not to know them or to blithely ignore:

        “We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!'” Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

        “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it
        employment… Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Theodore Herzl, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine,Complete
        Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.

        Better would be:

        “Meanwhile, the Zionists hated Palestinians, failed to make “better wheels” and were out for vengeance. ”

        Except they visited their vengeance on the innocent.

    • Psychopathic god
      November 27, 2010, 11:39 pm

      They were both guilty of the same crime: wanting the rights of people, or even a people, without having a State. What nerve.

      German Jews HAD full rights, prosperity, position, and influence, even dominance, in Germany, Mooser. Palestinian Arabs have had no such perquisites on their own land, since at least 1948, perhaps as far back as 1928.
      American Jews have full rights, prosperity, position, and influence, even dominance in the USA today; all that can be eroded by the acts of a greedy and vicious few.

      • Mooser
        November 28, 2010, 11:15 pm

        “German Jews HAD full rights, prosperity, position, and influence, even dominance, in Germany, Mooser.”

        That was my point. Having had that trick played on them in Germany, one might be excused, for thinking that Jews would be loath to pull the dispossession scheme on others.
        Oh well, at least the Zionists have cured me of a stubborn ethnocentrism. I used to think I was the only dumb Jew, but that was before I learned more about Zionism and Israel.

  2. Psychopathic god
    November 27, 2010, 4:54 pm

    Also of note is that NPR’s stories on the Holocaust talk almost exclusively about the murder of Jews. I spotted no references to the millions of non-Jews – Roma, gays, trade unionists, leftists, etc. – who were also killed in the camps, nor to the tens of millions of Polish and Russian civilians who died in the war.

    three points:

    1. About 8 million Germans, about half of whom were civilians, were killed in World War II, this after Germans suffered starvation conditions in the wake of World War I.

    2. Charlie Rose interviewed Iranian political leader Mohammad Javad Laranjani, one of five sons/members of the Kennedy-esque Larijani family. In the course of the interview, Rose queried Laranjani for his views of the Holocaust. When Laranjani explained that holocaust is a horrible, evil thing, whether it harms Christians or Jews or Gazans or Muslims , Rose interrupted, with some heat, and insisted that holocaust applies ONLY to Jews.

    3. I declared myself officially fed up to here with holocaust when, after a friend and I had paid a stupendous high price for marvelous seats for a Mozart concert, the introductions included a speech to acknowledge the Holocaust, accompanied by images and text displayed on screens on the sides of the stage. The text and images remained throughout the performance, or at least through the first half — I left at intermission.

    Mitchell Bard held an event to kick off his latest book, an attack on Arabs and Arab influence in the US, in front of a California audience: CSJH — Children of Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust.

    This is sickness.

    nb. In the course of his comments Bard emphasized an interest fact: “the Israel lobby does what the Israeli government wants it to do. It does not make its own decisions about how to influence US policymakers.”

    If that is the case, then the Israel lobby is acting as the agent for a foreign government. REGISTER as a foreign agent, or, to paraphrase Helen Thomas, get the hell out of Washington.

    • Antidote
      November 27, 2010, 7:20 pm

      That Mozart/Holocaust-combo is surely the most bizarre event I’ve ever heard of. What’s the connection? That both Mozart and Hitler spent time in Vienna?

      God forbid a German should say he’s sick and tired of the Holocaust. The Walser-affair comes to mind. Walser, a highly prominent and acclaimed German writer, fared no better than Thomas and was immediately dropped by his publisher after he said so. Here is his infamous 1998 speech

      link to germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org

      and the reply from the Jewish lobby

      link to germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org

      Not much has changed since. Same debacle over Israel-critic Alfred Grosser this year, who toned down his address to prevent the Council of Jews from walking out in a public spectacle. If Grosser was not Jewish and a victim of the Nazis he would never have been considered as a speaker in the first place, and not defended against criticism from Jewish leaders and Israeli diplomats. Everything has to stay conveniently in the German guilt and Jewish innocence time warp:

      link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

      link to jpost.com

      • Printe
        November 29, 2010, 2:32 pm

        “If Grosser was not Jewish and a victim of the Nazis he would never have been considered as a speaker in the first place, and not defended against criticism from Jewish leaders and Israeli diplomats.”
        Really, who defended Grosser in the days before his speech? After all, it was Grosser’s own decision, against the tide of critics, to speak on 9th November.
        And why do you say that it is a problem that Jews speak on the day when the Nazi-pogrom called “Reichspogromnacht” is commemorated?

    • jon s
      November 28, 2010, 2:06 am

      It looks like we’re missing some information. What was the occasion for the Mozart concert?

      • Psychopathic god
        November 28, 2010, 2:28 pm

        jon s — The ‘occasion’ for the Mozart concert was — the schedule of our town’s Symphony orchestra. That’s all. No special occasion, just the music that the Symphony management thought would delight the people of the town.

    • Mooser
      November 28, 2010, 11:17 pm

      “Mitchell Bard held an event to kick off his latest book, an attack on Arabs and Arab influence in the US, in front of a California audience: CSJH — Children of Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust.”

      That is sick.

  3. Antidote
    November 27, 2010, 5:04 pm

    It’s the same story everywhere. Especially the mention of German victims confuses people everywhere. I doubt you would get any different results if you asked Americans or Europeans about the biggest maritime disaster in history (civilian deaths). Most would say: Titanic. Not even many Germans ever heard of the Gustloff before Grass wrote a novel about it a few yrs ago.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • annie
      November 27, 2010, 5:27 pm

      I doubt you would get any different results if you asked Americans or Europeans about the biggest maritime disaster in history

      i think you might be missing the point. imagine if americans were subject to endless references to vietnam. not going to happen. i wonder how many people think 6 million people died in WW2.

      • Antidote
        November 27, 2010, 6:58 pm

        my point, on your terms, was: imagine if Americans were subject to endless references to Vietnam (as the Germans are wrt WW II) but without any reference to American victims. The analogy doesn’t work though because there were never any American civilian casualties during US wars of the 20th century (except 9/11)

      • Printe
        November 29, 2010, 2:36 pm

        Boy, you really do have a problem with the fact that Germans are at fault when it comes to talking about WW II. Why else your frequent, if not frantic, references to German victims? “Gustloff” was well known before Grass spilled the beans – it’s just that nobody gave a damn about what, e.g., Walter Kempowski had to say about it…
        Please, stop manipulating history to make it suitable for your own agenda.

      • Potsherd2
        November 29, 2010, 2:51 pm

        What do you mean “manipulating history?” The Gustloff incident is factual. It’s fact that hundreds of thousands of Germans were killed in war crime bombing raids on civilian targets and after the war when they were expelled from conquered territory. How is citing facts “manipulating history,” which implies distortion and lies?

      • annie
        November 29, 2010, 3:11 pm

        no that definitely had nothing to do w/my point. but i’m done w/you because i think you are a shit stirrer.

      • Antidote
        November 30, 2010, 6:57 pm

        Printe — you didn’t read the article(s)? Grosser is well known for being an outspoken critic of Israel, and no non-Jewish critic of Israel would have been considered/invited/defended by German officials for drawing comparisons between Jews in Nazi Germany and Palestinians. This is still considered by many as outright Holocaust denial, and Grosser was fiercely attacked by German Jewish leaders (not to mention the German branch of the JDL, who attacked him as a notorious anti-semite):

        “In a letter to Frankfurt’s mayor, Petra Roth, Germany’s Central Council of Jews condemned the invitation to Mr. Grosser, saying that he “does not tire [of] equating the situation of the Palestinian population with the fate of millions of Jewish men, women and children during the Shoah… and for this reason plays down the Holocaust and the unspeakable suffering of the victims of National Socialism.”

        As the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, last year Mr. Grosser accused the Central Council of silencing any criticism of Israel. Mr. Grosser told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, “As soon as a voice against Israel rises up, it’s immediately called ‘anti-Semitic.’” He added, “the worst is the Central Council of Jews.”

        The Post reported that “Dieter Graumann and Salomon Korn, both vice presidents of the Central Council and residents of Frankfurt, plan to attend the Kristallnacht event,” but reserved the right to walk out if they object to Mr. Grosser’s speech.”

        link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

        link to forum.jdl-germany.org

      • Antidote
        November 30, 2010, 7:00 pm

        “Boy, you really do have a problem with the fact that Germans are at fault when it comes to talking about WW II. Why else your frequent, if not frantic, references to German victims? ”

        Well, it does help me to put things in perspective when it comes to blanket demonizations of Zionists and Jewish Israelis that one frequently encounters on this blog. So while you accuse me of being an apologist for Nazi Germany, others accuse me of a Zionist shit-disturber. See if I care.

      • Antidote
        December 1, 2010, 11:32 am

        The biggest manipulation of history is the convenient divide between aggressors and victims along national/ethnic lines. The Germans were considered collectively guilty, so they had it coming. No grounds for calling Dresden or the expulsions a war crime. “It might under ordinary conditions be called rape, but this case comes under the heading of justice”, wrote Newsweek correspondent Bill Downs in April 45 on the rape of a German girl by a Soviet POW. So there you have it: millions of raped women – justice. Millions expelled and many of them killed in the process – justice. Same applies to rationalizations of ‘collateral damage’ in the wake of the perfectly justified ‘war on terror’, of course. And the I/P conflict from the Israeli side: the excuse for the ongoing aggression towards the Palestinians is always that their suffering from the Nakba to Cast Lead is merely self-inflicted: if there had not been a Nazi/Mufti – instigator of virulent anti-semitism, if Arab leaders had accepted the partition plan, if the Arabs had not attacked, if there had not been any intifadas, suicide bombers and rockets killing innocent Israelis etc – then Zionist/Israeli aggression, oppression and collective punishment would not have been necessary, and Palestinians would long have their own state. But it’s too late to give them a state now — they blew their chances, and missed all opportunities. Unfortunately, their land has been settled by Israelis in the meantime.

        Never mind that Zionist leaders had no interest in establishing a Palestinian state, or that the German expulsions were driven by local nationalist interests and sanctified in the interest of Soviet expansionism. Justice had nothing to do with it.

      • eljay
        December 1, 2010, 11:57 am

        The biggest manipulation of history is the convenient divide between aggressors and victims along national/ethnic lines.

        Prior to 9/11, the death 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of sanctions was “worth it”.

        The death of 3,000 people on 9/11 was an act of unimaginable terror / evil / hatred, a day that changed Amurrika and the world forever!

        The killing of tens of thousands, and the displacing of hundreds of thousands, of Afghani and Iraqi civilians since then is…irrelevant.

        A few thousand invading / occupying / destroying / marauding Western soldiers have been killed by “insurgents”. Terrorists!! Barbarians!! Islamofascists!! Savages!!

        Bias, anyone?

  4. bob
    November 27, 2010, 5:30 pm

    Ahh, its like when Israel-Firster Cheryl Halpern (was) Named Head Of Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We had a noticeable shift in programming. Halpern was on the exec board of Washington Institute for Near East Policy and with the International Republican Institute. She also has aslo served as the chairwoman for the Republican Jewish Committee.

    Also, see
    CPB CHAIR CHERYL HALPERN, HARD-RIGHT PRO-ISRAEL IDEOLOGUE

  5. Susie Kneedler
    November 27, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Henry, I had a similar response to that story, without your quick action.
    Thanks for excellent research–as always!

  6. eljay
    November 27, 2010, 6:21 pm

    >> For NPR, it seems, the Holocaust is the Chosen Tragedy.

    The Holocaust is, by far, “the bestest genocide ever!” No other genocide has resulted in:
    – seemingly perpetual reparations;
    – a brand new, supremacist colonialist state;
    – a seemingly endless influx of money and weaponry from the West; and
    – immunity against all forms of criticism via useful inoculative words and phrases such as “Remember the Holocaust!”, “anti-Semitism”, “Hitler”, “Jew-hater”, “Israel-hater” and “Nazi”.

  7. MRW
    November 27, 2010, 6:48 pm

    Oh, jesus. “Russian Village Haunted By A Hidden Holocaust Past.” Baloney. The young producers at NPR need to upgrade their knowledge of history, and how life works/worked in Russia. It’s the West that thinks Russians congregate around their religion, and wrong rags about it. Russians don’t give a shit for religious ties; they never did — who would in a country with 11, now 9, time zones — and if you ever hear them say it now, it’s because they know they can appeal to the maudlin West’s tunnel vision. Russians unite around if you are from their village, or their area, or if your grandfather was a close friend of my grandfather; that’s the tie that binds, because if you cross me, I know where to find your family.

    Read the introduction to The Red Mafiya by Robert L. Friedman using Amazon’s Look Inside feature. Friedman died at 51, ostensibly from a rare blood disease, but many think he was infected on purpose: he had numerous death contracts on his head as a result of his journalistic work (West Bank settlers beat the shit out of him, too). All four of his grandparents were Russian Jews, but it didn’t help him, except in one case where the mobster’s family came from the same village as his grandfather; in fact, it saved his life.

    The Red Mafiya is an amazing read, and as an ex-NYCer, it stunned me to think about what was happening around me then that I knew nothing about, my incredible naïvete about the after-effects of the breakup of the USSR. It will also give you enormous insight into what happened in Israel in the 90s with the influx of Russians (now almost 20% of Israelis) that bear a direct result on the conditions there today.

    • MRW
      November 27, 2010, 6:48 pm

      Of course, I meant “wring rags.”

    • Antidote
      November 27, 2010, 8:50 pm

      Speaking of Russian Israelis: just read this article on Lieberman’s new PR campaign. Interestingly, it looks like the Holocaust (which Ahmadinejad calls a religion) does no longer occupy centre stage in Lieberman’s version of ‘Israel’s message':

      “The Foreign Minister is planning to initiate a new public relations campaign in a number of European capitals early next year. The campaign, which will make extensive use of professional advocacy and public relations experts by Israeli embassies in Europe, aims to also use as many as a thousand people in each country, who will be willing to volunteer to spread Israel’s message. […] The Foreign Ministry team will produce three types of materials: political messages, in which Israel’s positions on the peace process, the settlements, etc. will be encapsulated; “branding” messages which will position Israel in specific areas of activity, such as technology, economy, tourism, etc.; and messages about problematic developments in the Middle East which are not directly related to Israel, such as human rights in Iran or Syria, Hezbollah’s take over in Lebanon, etc.”

      link to haaretz.com

    • Scott
      November 27, 2010, 9:56 pm

      Glad to see Friedman remembered. I knew him slightly nearly forty years ago, before his books (except the one on Columbia) a sweet and smart guy.

  8. Avi
    November 27, 2010, 6:48 pm

    But it’s not only NPR.

    Hollywood is obsessed with the Holocaust. The Discovery Network with all its sister channels (TLC, History, Smithsonian, Military, Science) are obsessed with the Holocaust. I kid you not, the History Channel features more programs about Nazi Germany and Hitler than it does any other event in human history.

    By hijacking the Holocaust discourse, Jews throughout the world have diminished the involvement and victimhood of all other races and groups in the Holocaust.

    By the way, is Henry Norr Jewish? I’m only asking because if he isn’t, then he must be an anti-Semite. Duh. Only Jews are allowed to speak about the Holocaust. Dontya know?

    • Henry Norr
      November 27, 2010, 8:17 pm

      Maybe I should add that I’ve visited Auschwitz several times, and Treblinka and Majdanek and Anne Frank’s house and the Holocaust Museum, and I was deeply moved by all of it. But I’ve also spent six months in the occupied Palestinian territories (the last two in Hebron, god help me), and I know a crime when I see one, whoever the perps may be…

      • Walid
        November 27, 2010, 9:06 pm

        Henry, you forgot to give a bit of credit for raising the holocaust flag once a month to Richard Witty with his stories about his holocaust-surviving mother-in-law from Hungary.

      • Hu Bris
        November 28, 2010, 9:41 am

        yeah that cracks me up every time he does it – it’s just Witty trying to grab a moral high-ground – as if his words and pseudo-humanism are less odious because a relative of his is a survivor. A LOT of Zio-racists do this – it’s as if they need to justify the racism, and any old relative will do, any connection to the Zionists defining moment (don’t mention the zionist offer to fight on the side of the Nazis though, they don’t like when you do that) ‘Pathetic’ doesn’t even begin to describe it

  9. Henry Norr
    November 27, 2010, 7:38 pm

    Yup, I’m Jewish – born, circumcised, Hebrew-schooled (not that I learned anything there), and bar-mitzvahed, in a Conservative temple.

    On the other hand, ever since I was a teen-ager I’ve believed that one of the best things about Bolshevism was the League of the Militant Godless. It seems, though, that doesn’t disqualify me from commenting on the Holocaust.

    • Antidote
      November 27, 2010, 7:46 pm

      Some of my best friends are circumcised and not even Jewish.

      • Avi
        November 27, 2010, 8:49 pm

        Antidote November 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

        Some of my best friends are circumcised and not even Jewish.

        That’s the funniest comment on Mondoweiss since the exchange between Mooser and Shmuel:

        link to mondoweiss.net
        ========

      • Mooser
        November 28, 2010, 11:27 pm

        I feel flushed. Maybe I’ve got a fever.

      • Antidote
        November 29, 2010, 12:04 pm

        Now if only I was able to get your insider jokes. Alas, as I said, most of my friends are not Jewish.

  10. chris o
    November 27, 2010, 10:13 pm

    [TO NPR, I ask:] Can I just say how tired I am of this story, the only apparent holocaust worthy of mention, and mention, and mention? I wonder why the crime of Germany against these people receive so much attnetion in our society 70 years later. Not the blacks, who we enslaved, not the Indians, who we wiped out in a pretty notable genocide. Nor all of the other persistent and seemingly never-ending crimes against peoples, whether in Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Congo, the Balkans, Kashmir, Ukraine, China and the never-ending list of genocides thoughout history. I wonder why the Jewish holocaust is treated as the favorite child here in the United States.

    P.S. This was a comment I left to the Aug. 28 Holocaust-related story.

  11. Psychopathic god
    November 27, 2010, 11:29 pm

    I recently learned of Roberto Rossellini’s trilogy of films about the impact of the second war on Italians, especially Italian children. I purchased “Paisan,” and started to watch it, but I can’t continue. Among the first scenes is footage of American sailors landing at Sicily. My Father was in that campaign; he was wounded and permanently disabled. He never, ever talked about it. I found myself looking for my Father in the rubble of the Italian villages.

    Thousands of Italian children were left homeless and parentless as a result of campaigns on Italian soil and through Italian villages. A country was despoiled and a generation shattered. The only recognition granted to that vast tragedy is the saccharine and patronizing tune, “Dondi,” from back in the ’50s.

    My Father is dead, and most of the American men who fought in Europe will be dead by the end of the next decade. But still, their stories have not been told. “Disabled vets” — men with no legs or no arms or with shattered minds, who spent their lives in wheelchairs on the city’s street corners, were as ordinary a part of my childhood as Sunday morning Mass, but only in the last 3 months has an author (whose name I cannot recall) proposed to tell the story of the difficulties faced by servicemen returning from the second world war. A monument to World War II veterans was dedicated only in 2004, the holocaust museum opened 11 years earlier. What nation places its own servicemen, from the “greatest generation,” in second place to a foreign state?

    • Todd
      November 29, 2010, 11:09 am

      “What nation places its own servicemen, from the “greatest generation,” in second place to a foreign state?”

      And who insists that it’s done?

  12. hophmi
    November 28, 2010, 1:58 am

    “It seems, though, that doesn’t disqualify me from commenting on the Holocaust.”

    Hey Henry! So far I haven’t seen anyone here say you couldn’t talk about the Holocaust. It’s interesting that you feel the need, given that your contention is that it’s talked about too much.

    You people make me sick.

    • thankgodimatheist
      November 28, 2010, 4:38 am

      “Hophmi: You people make me sick.”

      Is that supposed to be a bad thing?

    • annie
      November 28, 2010, 12:40 pm

      So far I haven’t seen anyone here say you couldn’t talk about the Holocaust.

      By the way, is Henry Norr Jewish? I’m only asking because if he isn’t, then he must be an anti-Semite. Duh. Only Jews are allowed to speak about the Holocaust. Dontya know?

      Yup, I’m Jewish – born, circumcised, Hebrew-schooled (not that I learned anything there), and bar-mitzvahed, in a Conservative temple.

      On the other hand, ever since I was a teen-ager I’ve believed that one of the best things about Bolshevism was the League of the Militant Godless. It seems, though, that doesn’t disqualify me from commenting on the Holocaust.

      the comment was made in jest hophmi.

      It’s interesting that you feel the need, given that your contention is that it’s talked about too much.

      iow, talk about how it’s talked about but don’t talk about how it’s talked about too much. got it.

    • Kathleen
      November 28, 2010, 7:55 pm

      Trying to stomach the truth is difficult for some

    • Mooser
      November 28, 2010, 11:29 pm

      “You people make me sick.”

      Maybe somebody should take your temperature.

      • Mooser
        November 28, 2010, 11:35 pm

        Oh crap, I did it again. There I go, making a smart-ass remark to Hophmi, and completely ignoring the fact that Mondoweiss holds him captive in a way only an alumni of one of the more outstanding death-camps could appreciate. Don’t give up hope, Hophmi, I’ll leave no turn unstoned in my quest to have you set free from imprisonment by this blog! How could Phil and Adam do such a thing? Chaining a man to his computer and compelling him to obsessively read a blog which makes him sick! There oughta be an international law!

  13. iamuglow
    November 28, 2010, 2:06 am

    If you want to go further than comparing NPR stories, Google has a great feature that allows you to search for keywords in news stories historically & see the results in a timeline.

    link to news.google.com

    • Avi
      November 28, 2010, 11:07 am

      That’s interesting.

      In 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon.

      In 1979 there was the oil crisis – Iranian revolution.

      In 1993 there’s a peak three months prior to the Oslo Accords.

      After 2001 there seems to be an undulating wave of highs and lows.

      What’s really interesting is that after the end of WWII and until 1978 the mention of the Holocaust was spurious, then in 1978 there was a reawakening of sort, a constant increase ever since.

      • iamuglow
        November 28, 2010, 1:46 pm

        Yeah, the trend starts in 1978. I saw the peaks as corresponding to the Holocaust TV series (1978) and Schindler’s List (1993)…

        The consistency of stories and increase in recent years is interesting. Even I notice that AP seems to run an tangential story about the Holocaust every other week. I’d speculate its due to Holocaust memorial/education groups being more active. They probably produce researched stories specifically for the media outlets to run.

        Whatever the goal of Holocaust education/awareness is, it certainly isn’t making the public more aware of the danger of scapegoating minorities (Islamaphobia), illegal wars (Iraq) or international law/refugees (I/P).

      • Psychopathic god
        November 28, 2010, 2:37 pm

        try this at home, avi:

        interlace the Timeline you set down, with the timeline of the US holocost museum: link to ushmm.org

        What are some significant dates in the Museum’s history? ↑
        1978, November 1 President Jimmy Carter establishes the President’s Commission on the Holocaust.

        1979, September 27 The President’s Commission on the Holocaust submits its report concerning Holocaust remembrance and education in the United States.
        1980, October 7 President Carter signs Public Law 96-388 establishing the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
        1983, April 13 Land for the museum building is transferred from the government to the Council in a ceremony held at the Capitol.
        1984, April 30 A symbolic ground breaking ceremony is held at the future site of the Museum.
        1985, October 16 Actual ground breaking ceremonies take place. Two milk cans containing soil and ashes from different concentration and extermination camps are symbolically buried on site.

        1988, October 5 The cornerstone for the Museum is laid. President Reagan speaks at the ceremony.

        1989, August 2 Construction on the Museum begins.

        1993, April 22 The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is dedicated. Speakers at the ceremony include: Bill Clinton, Chaim Herzog
        Harvey Meyerhoff Elie Wiesel
        1993, April 26 The Museum opens to the public. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the first visitor.

        2000, October 12 President Clinton signs Public Law 106-292 granting permanent status for the Museum.
        2003, November 1-2 As part of a year-long celebration of the Museum’s 10th Anniversary, over 2,200 survivors and their families gather in Washington for the Tribute to Holocaust Survivors: Reunion of a Special Family.

    • Antidote
      December 1, 2010, 11:48 am

      interesting to compare with: Palestine and Palestinians in news stories

      link to news.google.com

      link to news.google.com

  14. braciole
    November 28, 2010, 8:12 am

    Perhaps it is time for NPR to start covering the Jewish communities that the Zionists have destroyed and are still destroying.

  15. MHughes976
    November 28, 2010, 10:29 am

    On the history side, the London Review of Books has a spirited correspondence about the spirited review by Richard Evans of Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands. This does seem to be, rather sotto voce, an argument about the uniqueness of Jewish suffering – though it seems to me that this argument always has a theological aspect. I’m not too impressed with Snyder’s attempts to use mere numbers as if they were, or would be if properly added up, decisive at this point.
    There’s a certain element of narcissism of small differences in these academic debates. Every few years someone produces a huge book which essentially confirms the standard view that Hitler and Stalin were demonic tyrants. I’ve never rejected that view myself but in one sense and to some extent all this agreement does make the subject uninteresting and does make you slightly uneasy.
    Theologically, I dislike and fear the term ‘the Holocaust’. One might as well say ‘the Sacrifice’ and entertain the terrifying thought that God’s anger was being placated, so that He would spare the world or would restore the Israelite Kingdom.

    • Donald
      November 28, 2010, 1:08 pm

      ” I’m not too impressed with Snyder’s attempts to use mere numbers as if they were, or would be if properly added up, decisive at this point.”

      I’m confused by your point–I may also disagree with it. Numbers matter a great deal.

      But what confuses me is that you seem to be implying that Snyder is one of those pushing the notion of the uniqueness of the Holocaust, when nothing I’ve read seems to indicate that and in fact the letter-writers at LRB also seem to think that Snyder takes the opposite view.

      I do share your uneasiness about the never-ending stream of books dedicated to proving what all sensible people have long accepted–that Hitler and Stalin were horrific mass murderers. In my case I’d like to see more mainstream attention devoted to the slaughters perpetrated by European colonialists, for example. The after-effects of colonialism are with us just as much as the after-effects of communism and nazism.

      • Antidote
        November 28, 2010, 5:28 pm

        “Numbers matter a great deal”

        I remember that sometime during or after Cast Lead, when asked on TV (US, if I remember correctly) about the vastly disproportional number of Israeli and Palestinian victims, Israeli FM Livni saying that it’s not just about numbers. But numbers do obviously matter: Israeli officials usually cite the large number of Hamas rockets rather than the relatively small number of Israeli victims to make their claims for disproportionate self-defense (fewer ‘rockets’, more casualties).

        Numbers also matter when it comes to the 6 million figure, even though Hilberg’s figure is closer to 5 million, and not all Jews went to prison and concentration camps for ‘no other reason than being Jewish’. During the 30s, they were there for being activists or members of outlawed political parties, or homosexuals, or for violations of the Nuremberg laws (such as sexual relations with Aryans) or regular crimes, just like non-Jews who were sent to such camps for the same variety of offenses.

        As Finkelstein noted, claims regarding the uniqueness of the Holocaust tend to contradict each other, so there’s no consensus on what exactly constitutes this uniqueness, or at least none that is not challenged by historical facts. Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer refutes all claims based on the magnitude of numbers or suffering as immoral. In his view, what makes this genocidal attack unique is its sheer irrationality, the elimination of a purely imaginary threat: the murder of the European Jews did not confer any rational or practical advantage, such as eliminating a hostile ethnic group and/or acquiring land and resources. Instead the Nazis eliminated citizens of Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe that posed no more threat than any other group.

        However, the victims of the European witch trials certainly posed no more than an ‘imaginary threat’ either, and historians are still largely at a loss to comprehensively explain the phenomenon, let alone settle on some monocausal explanation such as Christian or patriarchal misogyny. Some witches no doubt commit regular crimes, but even they were convicted for crimes that do not even exist in the natural world. In a few cities, only a small fraction of women survived . It’s impossible to claim any plausible or consistent practical or material advantage for what has often been described as a ‘gendercide’, even though women were not the only victims, and in some countries they were even in the minority. At any rate, there were much more obvious and well documented material advantages to be gained from expelling, expropriating, enslaving and murdering millions of European Jews. Not only for the Nazis whose war effort benefitted from Jewish slave labor, assets, and gold, but also for Nazi leaders, party members and ordinary Germans who took over Jewish houses, apartments, furniture and other property, at bargain prices. Criminal and horrendous, yes, but neither irrational nor unique.

      • MHughes976
        November 29, 2010, 10:32 am

        I afraid I don’t know Bauer’s work – Evans, in his review of Snyder, makes the point – and I this respect I’m with him – that this isn’t and can’t be just a statistical question. Whether Jewish suffering was unique isn’t a strictly mathematical question. The numbers are always very important – I never denied this – but the numbers always have to be interpreted and placed in some moral scheme. Is it the absolute number that ‘matters’ or the proportion of the population that became victims – or should we be thinking about the motive rather than the extent of the crime? If the criminals are irrational do we condemn them less or more – Bauer, on Antidote’s showing, says ‘more’. Is this because political irrationality has more of sin than of illness about it?
        I don’t know how I gave the impression that Snyder is pushing for the uniqueness of Jewish suffering. I think that he is trying, discreetly but discernibly, to push against that theory, following his mentor Judt and in some alliance with Polish nationalist and Catholic historiography, principally represented by Davies, who is one of the LRB correspondents. This (I think) is part of the reason why he turns, causing Evans’ disapproval, away from the Balkan area where there are important questions about the Catholic role. Evans for his part is a stalwart – so stalwart that I become uneasy reading him – representative of academic orthodoxy, engaged in warding off Snyder’s critique of the uniqueness theory.
        I note with interest Antidote’s references to the way people were induced to join the persecution of the Jews in the hope of sheer plunder. A bit more down to earth than the Arendtist line of thought where banality and routine have corrupted the soul of modern humanity.

  16. Printe
    November 28, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Commemorating the Holocaust => supporting Israeli settlements and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?
    If this is what it takes to practice solidarity with Palestinians, then thanks but no thanks…

    • Mooser
      November 28, 2010, 11:44 pm

      Oh don’t worry, Printe, I’m sure you can find reasons to support Israeli settlements and the ethnic cleasing of Palestinians without mentioning the Holacaust.

      • Printe
        November 29, 2010, 1:08 pm

        However, reading Norr, there is one question that comes to my mind: What’s his point, i.e. what does he propose?
        Avoiding the Shoa? Even forgetting it? By remaining silent here, Norr not only restricts himself to describing NPR’s own policy – he seems to be eager to make room for rather sinister conclusions…
        One of my personal intellectual heroes, Marc H. Ellis, strongly warns against the exclusion of Shoa memory and commemoration. There must be a third way, beyond shutting up about the Shoa or using it to legitimize the ongoing Nakba. There’s got to be a third way!

      • Henry Norr
        November 29, 2010, 4:28 pm

        What do you mean that I’m “remaining silent here” – just that I haven’t responded to your posts?

        As for “Avoiding the Shoa? Even forgetting it?” nothing in my post suggests that, because it’s certainly not what I believe. Note my response yesterday about my personal visits to various Holocaust memorial sites. But a) I don’t see why NPR should devote so much of its *news* broadcasts to distant history, and b) to the extent they do want to devote news time to historical issues, they should not privilege the killing of the Jews, as they clearly do, but give equal treatment to all such crimes and tragedies, with (I’d say) special emphasis to those that took place on this continent: the dispossession and extermination of the native Americans, black slavery, etc.

  17. Jeffrey Blankfort
    November 28, 2010, 6:22 pm

    It is not an accident that hardly a day passes when there is no mention of the Jewish Holocaust in some fashion in the mainstream media. It is obvious that at this point in time and for some years previous, abusing that period of Jewish suffering is the only arrow left in the quiver of the Zionists to justify their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the ongoing dispossession of their land which was reinitiated in 1967 after a 19 year hiatus.

    The influence over the Zionist establishment in our public schools is aptly demonstrated by the fact that in most of the texts that I have seen (as a teacher) there is as much space devoted to the Jewish Holocaust as to the entire war in Europe, and more, when one adds the personal story of Anne Frank which is required reading for 7th graders in the California public schools as well as in many other states, whereas the story of Emmet Till, or oral histories told by slaves after the Civil War are not.

    This is not to say that the Holocaust should be ignored but in this country there is absolutely no justification, no legitimate rationale, for it being given more attention than the far worse genocide that was carried out against the indigenous peoples of this country and the racism that still continues against them or of the 400 years of slavery and the harmful after effects that continue to this day

    Since the US made its contribution through the war on Vietnam to the rise of Pol Pot and the genocide that followed in Cambodia, one might think that should be part of the curriculum, or the US war on Laos where more bombs were dropped than on Vietnam on which more bombs were dropped than on Germany and all of Europe in WW2. It ain’t there folks and it ain’t there for a reason and unless the teacher chooses to talk about and introduce his or her own historical materials, today’s generation will no nothing about the 60s except it was the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But they will know about the Holocaust and our closest ally, Israel that was “born” in its aftermath.

  18. Kathleen
    November 28, 2010, 7:54 pm

    “Also of note is that NPR’s stories on the Holocaust talk almost exclusively about the murder of Jews. I spotted no references to the millions of non-Jews – Roma, gays, trade unionists, leftists, etc. – who were also killed in the camps, nor to the tens of millions of Polish and Russian civilians who died in the war.

    For NPR, it seems, the Holocaust is the Chosen Tragedy. ”

    Definitely and increase of Holocaust stories at NPR along with Israeli feel good stories. As far as our MSM not mentioning “the others” that were put to death during the WWII Holocaust…this has been going on for decades.

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