Making the crossover from Elie Wiesel to Marc Ellis

US Politics
on 47 Comments

“It’s part of Jewish exceptionalism to deny exceptionalism,” Marc Ellis said at Tzedek Chicago’s Shavuot program on May 31st at Grace Place, in downtown Chicago.  “There has never been a sustained time in history where Jews didn’t think they were exceptional.”

Ellis, author of more than 25 books, is an author, liberation theologian, and a retired Professor of Jewish Studies (as well as a regular contributor to Mondoweiss). The Shavuot event was a conversation between Ellis and Brant Rosen, the Rabbi of Tzedek Chicago, to celebrate and discuss the 30th anniversary of Ellis’s groundbreaking book Toward a Theology of Jewish Liberation.  About 50 people came to hear Ellis talk about his understanding of Jewish exceptionalism, the meaning of Judaism in a post-Holocaust world, and the absence of the Jewish prophetic in discourse on Israel.

Ellis and Rosen’s dialogue emphasized one of the central ideas of the book–that the God of liberation–stemming from Jewish sacred tradition, demands that Jews stand with all forms of oppression rather than only Jewish oppression.  Liberation theology centers on a spiritual justice that calls upon us to help all people. “The goal of the evening,” Rosen said, explaining that it’s customary to engage in learning as part of honoring Shavuot, “is to let you in on an ongoing conversation that Marc and I have been having for a long time now.”  For this high school teacher who’s almost done with the semester, hearing Ellis and Rosen speak from their hearts–two teachers and thinkers I’ve admired for a long time–was a refreshing and sobering way to commemorate Shavuot and end the school year.

Rosen explained that Ellis’s book paved the way for him, as a Rabbi, to understand the Israel/Palestine conflict from a spiritual point of view, and talked about how influential Ellis’s book was for him when he was in rabbinical school.  “I first read this book as a rabbinical student back in the mid-1980s–and suffice to say it fairly rocked my world at the time,” Rosen said.  “Here was a Jewish thinker thoughtfully and compellingly advocating a new kind of post-Holocaust theology: one that didn’t view Jewish suffering as ‘unique’ and ‘untouchable,’ but as an experience that should sensitize us to the suffering and persecution of all peoples everywhere.”

Ellis first witnessed the suffering of Palestinians under Israel’s military occupation when he went to the West Bank and Gaza in 1984.  He grew up learning about the martyrs of the Jewish people, but when he was in Gaza, he “saw their martyrs–martyred by us.”  It was after his trip to Palestine that Ellis knew he had to speak out.  “That’s when a Jewish theology of liberation was born,” he said.

Throughout the discussion, Ellis returned to the question of what it means to be Jewish after the Holocaust.  He referred to Elie Wiesel and Emil Fackenheim as examples of Holocaust thinkers who believed that Israel was the path that would bring Jews out of suffering and towards redemption.  Since they primarily focus on an end to Jewish suffering, Israel, in their view, serves as a quasi-salvation for the Jewish people.  This way of thinking wouldn’t allow for an acknowledgement of Palestinian suffering (or, even, at the least, a Palestinian narrative).  Ellis referred to Richard Rubenstein, the Holocaust thinker who, unlike Wiesel and Fackenheim, declared that Judaism was at an end in a meaningful way, asserting that Jewish reality was severely compromised after the Holocaust.  Wiesel and Fackenheim broke away from Rubenstein, since they believed that the end of Jewish suffering would be brought about by Israel and thus a future for the Jewish people could be assured.

Since the prophetic, Ellis explained, is about justice, and justice involves helping to alleviate Palestinian suffering, “the Holocaust thinkers had to beat the prophetic out of us for Israel and support for Israel to be strong.”  The Holocaust thinkers said that we will never suffer again.  “But you can’t be Jewish today without being willing to suffer for the sake of justice,”  Ellis asserted.

While Ellis and Rosen were talking about the Holocaust thinkers, I kept thinking about the numerous letters I wrote to Elie Wiesel when I was in high school in the 1980s where I told him how much I loved his books.  I was obsessively reading everything he wrote– I became a fervent Zionist as my friends were reading Judy Blume books. And I remember the late afternoon several months later when a letter from Wiesel arrived in the mail.

“Study everything you can,” Wiesel wrote.  “It is important to learn as much as possible.”  I framed the letter on my bedroom wall.

For years, when Wiesel came to speak in Chicago, I’d attend, sometimes with both my parents, always with my mother, and I’d take copious notes and go home and study them and share with my parents what I wrote.  I’d stare at his autograph–“To Liz, In peace, Elie Wiesel”– remembering how nervous I was when I approached him at the book signing after the lecture and asked him to sign the books I had brought with me in a grocery bag.   Before leaving the house, my mother had said, “Honey, why don’t you bring his books?  I’m sure he’ll be happy to sign them for you.”

Looking back, the teenager in me is confused by his words, and now I’m angry about the subtext of his letter, which really said to study and learn everything except certain things.  The words he wrote to me were conditional and limited, though they claimed the opposite.  My mother continued to attend Wiesel lectures in Chicago, and when she asked me if I wanted to go with her, I didn’t tell her the truth.  I was becoming anti-Zionist and I could no longer sit through his lectures that idealized Israel and demonized the Palestinians.  The transition has been difficult for my mother who doesn’t understand the shifts in my thinking.  At the time, it was easier to say I had plans than to explain why I didn’t want to go with her.

Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)

In 1986–I was 16–Wiesel appeared on Larry King’s live radio show soon after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and my friend Gregg and I called in to ask a question.  We were put on hold for over an hour.  We didn’t know what we were going to ask him, but Gregg held the phone, so I figured he’d ask Wiesel the question when it was his turn.  Suddenly, King came on the line and said, “Hello, Chicago!”  Gregg froze.  He threw me the phone, and left the room.  I was on the line with Wiesel and, unsure what to say, but knowing I’d always loved his writing, I blurted out, “Don’t you think you should have received the Nobel for Literature instead of Peace?”  King scoffed, then laughed, and said, “Um, I don’t think he’s disappointed,” and hung up.  When I reflect on that phone call now, I think a deep part of me–an aspiring writer who, decades later, would transition from a Zionist to an anti-Zionist way of thinking–must have been unconsciously more affected by Wiesel’s writing than by his efforts at peace.  At the time, his voice spoke to me in a way many writers hadn’t.  I was deeply moved by the literature he wrote.

Though my disillusionment with Wiesel happened years ago, it still stings when I remember how much I admired him growing up.  I hadn’t thought about that phone call from 1986 until I heard Ellis and Rosen speak about Wiesel and the other Holocaust thinkers who looked to Israel as a path towards Jewish empowerment.  Ellis said Wiesel always talked about Israel as heroic, beautiful, “a cosmic force to fight a second Holocaust.”  I believed Wiesel when I was young, and I felt the same way about Israel.  I was a young Zionist who looked up to elders like Wiesel to teach me about writing and justice and truth.  Once my views about Israel changed–when I understood that Israel is Palestine–I stopped reading Wiesel.  And I miss how much I loved his books growing up.  A friend suggested to me that I should read Wiesel again, “with this new perspective.”  I’m not sure there’s a point.  The process of crossing over from Zionism into anti-Zionism is never over.  The disillusionment comes back in waves.  It hurts each time I remember.

Toward a Theology of Jewish Liberation is in many ways about Ellis’s own disillusionment with the direction of Jewish life.  “Our religion has become a sign of violence,”  he said.  “We had a sense of innocence when I was young.  We were the good guys; the Christians were the bad guys.  Now we’re the bad guys,” he reflected.  “We have become like those who oppressed us.”

What would it have meant for Wiesel and Fackenheim and others to admit the violence that has been committed in the name of Jewish life, history and religion?  They couldn’t have done it, Ellis asserted, because they would have had to acknowledge what was happening in Israel to the Palestinian people.

These Holocaust thinkers sought to preserve what remained of the special relationships between God and the Jews, and between the Jews and Israel.  “The essence of Jewish history has been about the special relationship,” Ellis argued.  “You can’t understand Jewish history without understanding the positive and negative meanings of this exceptionalism.”  Toward a Theology of Jewish Liberation, Ellis said, “is about this sea change I was living through at the time.”

When I was in graduate school learning to teach literature to high school students, I was given anthologies with titles like Coming of Age and The End of Childhood and Innocence.  Losing one’s innocence is essential to a deeper understanding of the human condition, I understood.  I love the stories I teach to students that reflect this idea.  I became an English teacher so that I could help students, through the literature they read, find themselves in the stories and feel, albeit briefly, less alone when they experience disillusionment.

My students don’t have to look far for examples of this in the real world.  They have so many specific instances they can point to–moments in their young lives where they’ve lost their innocence, realized the world isn’t what they thought, had a paradigm shift.  It’s those rare moments in a classroom–despite the unfortunate corporatizing of education–that remain pure and hopeful.  Something shifts, and they grow from confronting uncomfortable truths about themselves and the world.   It’s necessary if we want to move, as Ellis argues, towards justice and the prophetic.  “You can’t have hope without truth,” Ellis said, referring to his own disillusionment.

In 1982, years before the phone call with Wiesel, I planted a tree in his name in Israel.  I was helping the forest grow through the JUF.  I was in love with Wiesel’s writing and with Israel.  Later, I would learn that pine trees were planted to cover up Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel and that they aren’t even native to the Middle East.  When we’ve become disillusioned, Ellis said, “There’s no way back and no way forward; it’s never the same.”  Once I understood that Israel exists as a product of the atrocities committed against the Palestinians, the Israel that I had known became myth.

It is refreshing to be in the company of teachers and thinkers like Ellis and Rosen as I reflect on my own teaching.  When Rosen asked Ellis if he considers himself an activist, Ellis remarked, “My teaching and writing is a form of activism.”   It was a good reminder for me, as I wrap up the semester after a difficult school year in a harrowing political climate, of the importance of teachers who accept, rather than run away from, disillusionment as a necessary path.

After Ellis’s talk, I went home and tried looking for the JUF certificate of the tree I planted in Israel for Wiesel.  I know it’s somewhere, but I can’t find it.  I did find two of Wiesel’s books on my book shelf.  I think I got rid of several, in anger, years ago.  The Holocaust thinkers never came to terms with the reality of what Israel has become.  Books by Ellis and Rubenstein and Rosen are on my nightstand now–prime real estate for books in my home.  There is solidarity in disillusionment.  “The Holocaust didn’t end Jewish ethical history,” Ellis concluded, “but Israel might.”

About Liz Rose

Liz Rose is a Chicago teacher.

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47 Responses

  1. festus
    June 5, 2017, 3:26 pm

    From Eli Wiesel’s “Night”. “In Buchenwald they sent 10,000 persons to their deaths each day. I was always in the last hundred near the gate. They stopped. Why?” I remember seeing that one of my daughters had this book at home as part of her required reading (maybe 9th or 10th grade) a dozen years ago. It struck me as absurd to believe that he was always in the last hundred near the gate and that this was being taught as history and not hyperbole.

    That was before I became more interested in the Holocaust (my interest was piqued by seeing how ever present it is in our culture and how it has been used to excuse crimes and line pockets).

    Recently I returned to this claim, focusing instead on the 10,000 per day number which I never even questioned initially.

    Turns out that Wiesel claims to have been in Buchenwald for @ 3 months (Jan 1945 through April 11, 1945). Some simple math puts the death toll during his stay at 900,000. Let’s say 1/2 of that since we were nearing the end of the war.

    A simple googling of several sources shows Buchenwald was opened in 1937 and that @ 43,000, or 56,000, or 70,000 depending on the source died there in the 8 years it was open.

    Wiesel was simply a liar and a con man. It’s not as if he were a great man with one bad blind spot.

    • johneill
      June 5, 2017, 9:13 pm

      i think primo levi’s aphorism about life in the lager is very instructive: “to those that have will be given, from those that have not will be taken away.”

      • Stephen Shenfield
        June 7, 2017, 8:26 am

        I never understood why Elie Wiesel is considered so special. I suppose he was good at self-promotion. Primo Levi is a much better and more truthful writer about the Holocaust. So are many others. Above all, where is the moral distinction in condemning crimes committed against one’s own people? That is only to be expected. Moral distinction lies only in condemning the crimes committed BY one’s own people, and Wiesel resolutely refused even to contemplate doing that.

      • catalan
        June 7, 2017, 11:44 am

        “I never understood why Elie Wiesel is considered so special. “-
        Some people like him, some do not. Some people like Marwan Bargouti, others think that he is a murderer lucky to be alive and getting way better treatment than he deserves. You see, it’s all in the viewpoint.

      • amigo
        June 7, 2017, 3:58 pm

        “Some people like him, some do not. ” catalan

        What would we do without our resident master of pointing out the obvious.

        Go back to sleep catalan or better still , join your fellow American workers , (who you think are uneducated and stupid) and earn your pay instead of using the companies time to spout irrelevant twaddle.

      • gamal
        June 7, 2017, 5:32 pm

        “some do not”

        love it, pirouette i felt but then i saw him, you can actually photograph self-deprecation, i salute his timorous roar. some do not ever at all, not ever.

      • catalan
        June 7, 2017, 5:48 pm

        “earn your pay instead of using the companies time to spout irrelevant twaddle. ” – amigo
        It’s not a company, it’s the government – they treat people more humanely, you know. Either way, I love you – you clearly have a sense of humor, which is the best tell of a good person. One thing that unites all haters is their dark views of the world, from Adolph to Yoni Falic, they are always a sad bunch. Good for you that you can laugh, you will live longer that way.

      • amigo
        June 8, 2017, 6:23 am

        “It’s not a company, it’s the government – they treat people more humanely, you know. ” catalan

        So , doing a fair days work for a fair days pay is inhumane.We get you catalan.

        Btw, Trump thinks the US Gov is his company and you work for him.

        Now get back to work or “Your,e Fired”.

    • Misterioso
      June 6, 2017, 5:43 pm

      A quick note on Elie Wiesel: He rightfully protested the desecration of Jewish graves anywhere in the world, but had nothing to say when the Arab cemetery at Deir Yassin was bulldozed along with hundreds of others throughout Palestine. Nor did Mr. Wiesel publicly mention that from November 1947 to January 1949, he worked as a journalist for the Irgun newspaper, Zion in Kamf (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October/ November 1997) and was surely informed by his employers of what occurred at Deir Yassin on 9 April 1948.

  2. Annie Robbins
    June 5, 2017, 6:04 pm

    it’s always a fulfilling journey reading your stories liz rose. thank you.

  3. Citizen
    June 7, 2017, 6:01 am

    Lies Elie Wiesel Told Us http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/07/05/lies-eli-wiesel-told-us/

    More lies: http://www.eliewieseltattoo.com/elie-wiesel-died-before-he-confessed-his-lies-about-the-holocaust-says-french-website/

    So he died, still a flaming liar. No doubt believing his lies were justified to keep Jews safe.

    • jon s
      June 7, 2017, 3:57 pm

      Citizen is unashamedly citing two blatantly Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying ,websites.

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2017, 4:29 pm

        “Citizen is unashamedly citing two blatantly Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying ,websites.”

        Gee, maybe they got the idea from Zionist Nakba denier?

        So why don’t we make a deal, a nice compromise? Nobody will be allowed to deny or distort the Holocaust any more than Zionists deny or distort the Nakba?

      • Keith
        June 7, 2017, 6:55 pm

        JON S- “Citizen is unashamedly citing two blatantly Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying ,websites.”

        Anti-Semitic! Holocaust-denying! You are a broken record, Jon S. Elie Wiesel was a notorious Holocaust exploiter who made a lot of money capitalizing on his experiences, real and imagined. Are you sure you want to defend this guy who cozied up to genocidaire Paul Kagame?

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2017, 7:29 pm

        “Jon s” is shocked, shocked, to find that antisemitism is going on there.

      • Citizen
        June 8, 2017, 1:43 am

        More on the serial liar, Wiesel, who thought Madoff was God, and propagandized for Likud: ‘If I Lie About Thee, O Jerusalem’ https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2010/04/18/wiesel-if-i-lie-about-thee-o-jerusalem/

      • Citizen
        June 8, 2017, 2:03 am

        Re Crossing Over From Wiesel to Ellis: An Open Letter to Elie Wiesel’s Ghost: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1988/08/18/an-open-letter-to-elie-wiesel/ via @nybooks

      • RoHa
        June 8, 2017, 5:34 am

        “Citizen is unashamedly citing two blatantly Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying ,websites.”

        Irrelevant. It does not make any difference to this issue whether the site is ASHD or not.
        The important question is whether or not the claims about Wiesel are true or not.
        Are the claims supported by evidence or not?
        Do you have any evidence to the contrary?
        Deal with those sort of questions, rather than simply whining about the ideology of the websites.

  4. jon s
    June 10, 2017, 4:41 pm

    Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are specifically prohibited according to the “comments policy ” of this forum. Rather loosely enforced, I would say…
    As to Elie Wiesel, he became world famous not only as a writer and Holocaust survivor , but as an outspoken voice for human rights all over the world, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize. He did, apparrently, have something of a blind spot regarding Palestinian rights, for which he deserved criticism. That blind spot doesn’t cancel all the good that he did.

    http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/eliewiesel.aspx

    • eljay
      June 10, 2017, 6:49 pm

      || jon s: … As to Elie Wiesel, he became world famous not only as a writer and Holocaust survivor , but as an outspoken voice for human rights all over the world, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize. … ||

      Wiesel and Barry O.: Peace Prize winners and hypocrites.

      || … That blind spot doesn’t cancel all the good that he did. ||

      It’s a good thing non-Jews were in his blind spot. Had it obscured Jews, he’d’ve been labelled an anti-Semite and no amount of other good deeds would have mattered.

    • RoHa
      June 11, 2017, 4:00 am

      “Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are specifically prohibited according to the “comments policy ” of this forum. Rather loosely enforced, I would say… ”

      It would help the moderators if you could spell out any instances of Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Are there any on this page?

    • oldgeezer
      June 11, 2017, 5:13 pm

      @jon

      Something of a blind spot for Palestinians?

      No.
      He didn’t support human rights. Just another cheap opportunist. The world is filled with them.

  5. jon s
    June 11, 2017, 10:49 am

    Any instances of Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial?
    You’re joking, right?
    Have you ever looked at “veteranstoday.com”?

    • Annie Robbins
      June 11, 2017, 11:51 am

      jon, do you think Nikolaus Grüner was a fraud or delusional? here is a video of him revealing his tattoo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCF9NcJMWdg . interestingly, he doesn’t have a wiki page and there’s not much published about him or his story in english except for these kinds of sites. here’s a site in english that appears to be an exception (i merely checked out the homepage briefly)
      http://www.bosnewslife.com/25102-hungary-rejects-holocaust-survivors-defamation-case-bosnewslife-in-depth

      what do you think of his allegations? did he just make them up?

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2017, 12:10 pm

        here’s the french wiki: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel

        (google translation under the heading “Autobiographical Veracity” — my bold)

        Miklos Grüner, Jewish survivor of Auschwitz , accuses Élie Wiesel to have “usurped number registration number A-7713 a certain Lazar Wiesel and [to have] the appropriate account of the latter on his visit to Auschwitz 60 ” . This thesis is supported by negationists and the publisher and journalist Jean Robin , who calls himself “anti-antisemite” and who received an email from the archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau National Museum stating that the deportee registered A-7713 was named Lazar Wiesel and was born in 1913 (when Elias Wiesel was born in 1928). Michaël de Saint-Cheron questions the reliability of these archives

        …..

        The 3 July 2016, Claude Lanzmann told France Inter , referring erroneously 64 , 65 to book Fateless of Imre Kertész, Elie Wiesel (contrary to what he said in the Night ) was only four days in Auschwitz. In addition, Claude Lanzmann blames Wiesel for not encouraging him when he announced his plan to make his film Shoah and not to have given praise to this film after the reception “triumphal” (dixit Lanzmann) he received 66 . These remarks are valid for Lanzmann, on the part of Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret in the online magazine Alliance , [ Archive ]

        Imre Kertész was a Holocaust survivor and the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2017, 12:36 pm

        oh look, i did find reference to gruner in english wiki’s “talk” section https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AElie_Wiesel%2FArchive_1?oldformat=true#Miklos_Gruner

        sample:

        There is so much criticism about Elie Wiesel, some even say he is a fraud (ie. the relation between the tattoo number “A-7713” and Miklos Grüner) so why aren’t there a criticism section. Seems many other people have that section, why not here.

        i guess discussion of criticism of wiesel is not allowed on wiki, for it has all been erased.

        here’s another: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Elie_Wiesel/Archive_2

        Controversies
        The controversy section should maybe contain the fact that his tattoo is missing. A French journalist also reports to have contacted the archives of Auschwitz where they say the number he claims to be his was actually someone else. Even though he may be who he claims to be, he would be appropriate to mention that fact as well.

        but (now) there’s no “controversies” on the english wiki page at all. are they all anti semitic?

    • RoHa
      June 11, 2017, 7:23 pm

      Veterans Today Is a totally different website. The MW moderators have no responsibility for that. They can only act on instances of AS and HD on MW.

    • echinococcus
      June 11, 2017, 8:22 pm

      OK, John S, get us the exact text and context of what you want to call “antisemitism” and “Holocaust(TM) denial” on Veterans Today.

      And you damn better define the damn thing. Still no definition from you guys. Mind you, any opposition or criticism directed at acquired characteristics is perfectly kosher.

      • jon s
        June 13, 2017, 12:17 pm

        echinococcus wants proof of Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on VT. Assuming that he isn’t kidding:

        http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/04/16/trump-easter/

        http://www.veteranstoday.com/category/false-flag-investigations/holocaust-false-flags/

        …and so on.

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2017, 1:04 pm

        “Jon s”, there is no such thing as “anti-semitism” any more.
        We Jews are now a nation! We are all, whether resident in Zion or not, citizens of The Jewish State, so all criticisms or accusations against the Jews or Jews are simply political speech, in which the widest latitude is allowed.
        If we were merely a religion, things would be different, but allowing people to say a few mean things is a small price to pay for a promotion from “religion” to Nation.

        But don’t worry “Jon s”!! Mooser is here, and I will never, ever, allow anyone to say anything worse about Jews, Judaism and Israel than we say about those Arabs and Muslims. It wouldn’t be fair.

      • echinococcus
        June 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

        So, invader and unindicted war criminal John S, now shows that in defining “Holocaust(TM) Denial” he predictably follows the Holocaust(TM) Industry line: he classifies under this inflammatory name the request for freedom of speech, including freedom to question any and all Zionist propaganda around one genocide. Even though I do not share Faurisson and Co.’s views, I sure will defend their right to discuss it anything they want. Same by Veterans Today. The same position is that of the Zionist but honest Noam Chomsky, by the way.

        Saying that the Holocaust (TM) Industry managers and peons are vile liars and extortion artists, to the tune of tens of billions, in the service of the Zionists does not mean that a genocide of people the Nazis considered Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, etc. did not happen. Of course it did, but the Zionist lies must be pitilessly hunted and rejected.

        He also indicates as “antisemitism” the observation that the US is not a Jewish-majority country, by far, and logically when one wishes one’s neighbor a good Easter or happy Xmas or whatnot, normal people wouldn’t ask one’s baptism certificate. Except in a Zionist-powered “Jewish” dictatorship.

        So when are we getting the exact definition of “antisemitism” from any of youse? One gets tired of asking.

      • jon s
        June 13, 2017, 3:39 pm

        echinococcus,
        I’m not an invader, I live in my people’s historic homeland. No Jew is an invader in the Jewish homeland.

        I’m not a war criminal .

        I also support freedom of speech. “Veterans Today” can say whatever they want on their website.
        Including Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

        As for the definition, the standard, conventional , definitions are good enough for me.

        The Webster defines Anti-Semitism as : “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group”.

        The Oxford definition: “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.”

        Besides, Echinococcus, you can always look in the mirror.

      • talknic
        June 13, 2017, 5:13 pm

        @ jon s June 13, 2017, 3:39 pm

        “I’m not an invader, I live in my people’s historic homeland. No Jew is an invader in the Jewish homeland.”

        You’re an Israeli. Israel’s borders were defined and recognized per the Israeli plea for recognition 1948. Israel has not since legally acquired any further territories by any agreement or legal means (it has been inadmissible to acquire territory by war since at least 1933) When and by what means did BeerSheba become Israel (please cite the agreement)

        “I’m not a war criminal “

        If you fought for a military engaged in the dispossession of people from their rightful territories, you ARE a war criminal

        “I also support freedom of speech. “Veterans Today” can say whatever they want on their website.
        Including Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial”

        Quote them verbatim … thx

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2017, 5:16 pm

        Shorter “Jon s”: ‘I am not a crook!”

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2017, 5:32 pm

        “I also support freedom of speech. “Veterans Today” can say whatever they want on their website.”

        The staff at “Veterans Today” will be very relieved to hear that “Jon s”. They can take off the helmets and get back to work.

        Very, very principled, I must admit, of you to allow VT to continue publishing.

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2017, 5:44 pm

        “The Webster defines Anti-Semitism as : “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group”.

        Very true BUT NOT AS A POLITICAL GROUP. You are right, when talking about “Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group”.

        BUT NOT AS A POLITICAL GROUP! When we form ourselves into a “nation” and establish a “Jewish State”, people can talk about us the same way they talk about any other state, Nazi Germany, North Korea, USSR. You got a way around that?

        Jon s” do you think Jews are entitled to a religious protection in political speech that nobody else gets? Nobody is saying anything worse about Zionist Jews than Zionist Jews say about, well, everybody else. Including other Jews who don’t agree with them.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        June 13, 2017, 6:18 pm

        jon s:

        “I’m not an invader, I live in my people’s historic homeland..”

        Oh, I see, I was born to a Christian family, so I guess I have a right to move to Betlehem, because Jesus was born there and he, he surely was my people.

        Or are you claimig that God created the Jewish people from nothing and “all of you” are descendants of “those people” and genetically different from “us all” who are not?? And there for there are different rules for you??

      • echinococcus
        June 13, 2017, 6:28 pm

        John S,

        Thanks for responding.

        I’m not an invader, I live in my people’s historic homeland. No Jew is an invader in the Jewish homeland.

        Of course you are an invader. You illegally immigrated into Palestine, against the will of its owners, the Palestinian people.

        Those Palestinian Jews who lived in Palestine before 1897, the year the Zionist beasts announced their intention to colonize the place, of course were Palestinians and their direct descendence should have a right to Palestinian citizenship. No other.

        I’m not a war criminal

        Of course you are. You are part of the foreign civilian population settled on conquered land in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions (and other international law instruments before the GC.) Of course, it would be impractical to try and sentence all participants in such a mass crime, just the way only a few leaders among the Nazis were convicted and punished. You are far from being any kind of leader. But then, if you ever were under uniform or in the reserve for the Zionist entity you sure are a war criminal and possibly indictable.

        I also support freedom of speech. “Veterans Today” can say whatever they want on their website.

        Strange. What the VT articles you cited are about is a request for freedom of speech, so that the Holocaust (TM) Industry propaganda used for the age’s biggest extortion scheme may be discussed and criticized. You falsely characterized them as “Holocaust(TM) denial”. What can your goal be, other than banning any discussion?

        The Webster defines Anti-Semitism as : “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group”

        The Webster is full of sh|t. Return it. This definition

        -does not differentiate between opposition to “Jews” (undefined) due to their religion, which is an acquired characteristic, not something that is there from birth, and as such perfectly legitimate,

        – pushes obvious Zionist propaganda by positing that “Jews” (undefined) are an “ethnic group”, which they definitely are not, under any circumstances: the religious ones belong to a religion but the irreligious have nothing in common among the different groups. You as an Eskenazi are totally foreign in every aspect of “ethnicity” to my family. Opposition to the Eskenazi for the single fact of being born so would of course be a despicable thing, Anti-Ashkenazism. I’d agree with that.

        – of course there is no such “racial group” except in Zionist myth, but that doesn’t keep both Nazis and Zionists from murderous racial discrimination. That last element is of course fully valid and I do condemn any discrimination based on the sole fact of being born “biologically Jewish”.

        So we are left with one element only: racism. Well, there is no need to separate “antisemitism” from common-or-garden racism. The racism that you and your fellow Zionists are practicing against all persons born Palestinian does not give you much of a standing to protest this (real) antisemitism, you know?

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2017, 7:16 pm

        “I am not an invader”

        Sure, “Jon s”, that’s why you make damn sure to have American citizenship and passport.

      • eljay
        June 13, 2017, 7:32 pm

        || jon s: … I’m not an invader, I live in my people’s historic homeland. … ||

        Geographic Palestine is not the “historic homeland” of all people in the world who:
        – undergo a religious conversion to Judaism; or
        – are descended from someone who underwent a religious conversion to Judaism.

        || … No Jew is an invader in the Jewish homeland. … ||

        If there were such a thing as “the Jewish homeland” you might be right. But there isn’t, so you’re not.

      • MHughes976
        June 14, 2017, 9:49 am

        The Webster definition seems close enough to common usage (I suppose the aim of a dictionary) if we understand the hostility to go with an opinion in the mind of the hostile person that Jews form a religious, ethnic or racial group with characteristics that are bad, bad enough presumably to deserve that hostility: so that calling a person anti-S under that definition does not imply agreement with any of the classifications they make. The definition does not actually make anti-S wrong in all circumstances, i.e. does not say ‘undeserved hostility’ or suchlike, so Zionists might dislike it for that reason.
        My reaction to reading VT is that some of its contributors are anti-S in the Webster sense and that they (some) at least use language which conveys insult and prejudice to a degree that puts them significantly in the wrong, but that, as RoHa reminds us, does not prove that they speak no truth. I admit to understanding Jon’s difficulty in abiding them.
        As to Wiesel, I think that he took the Modernist blurring of the truth: fiction boundary rather worryingly far. There does seem to be something unsettling about his records and paperwork. His status as a moral oracle can seem a bit annoying, to VT readers and others, both because he would ‘defend Israel even when wrong’, which disrupts his rhetoric about never standing apart from the oppressed, and because someone who has a purely literary career with no political responsibility cannot really be a paragon or exemplar. Still – and even if he actually evaded the Holocaust – he wrote the most compelling account of it so far, at least for those who like their history tinctured with theology. Most compelling is not necessarily most deeply truthful, of
        course, either on the historical or theological level.

  6. jon s
    June 11, 2017, 3:54 pm

    Annie, I’ve never heard of Miklos Gruner. He seems to being saying that Elie Wiesel stole the identity of another prisoner who had the same name . How mush sense does that make?It’s obvious that the Holocaust deniers like to cast doubt on the credibility of iconic figures, such as Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel.

    • Mooser
      June 11, 2017, 4:47 pm

      “doubt on the credibility of iconic figures”

      Yeah, we Jews can’t stand iconoclasm! Our religion and way of life requires icons, graven images, and golden calves.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 11, 2017, 4:52 pm

      well, gruner is a holocaust survivor jon, not an “obvious” holocaust denier. and claims his friend who he was at auschwitz with him (and took him, as a young lad, under his wing or something) had the very number wiesel claims was his, tattooed onto his arm, and his friends brother had the other number, the one wiesel says was his fathers. and allegedly this was confirmed by an email from the archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau National Museum. there are many articles about this in french. so while i have not researched it myself (and just heard about it today as far as i know, unless my memory fails me), simply referencing gruner as “Holocaust deniers like to cast doubt”, isn’t very credible or charitable towards holocaust survivors. especially when one of those ‘holocaust survivors casting doubt’ is a nobel prize winner himself, Imre Kertész — who said wiesel was only there a few days.

      plus, there is that odd incident of the photograph which allegedly shows a 15 year old wiesel. except gruner says it’s his friend lazar wiesel, and it does show the man had a receding hairline. just because a man is an iconic figure, doesn’t mean he always tells the truth.

      my point actually, without knowing all the facts, is that factoids like who had what numbers tattooed into their arms at Auschwitz, are confirmable. and confining discussion of it on holocaust denying sites and keeping all mention of it out of mainstream english press or denying there’s a controversy at all on wikipedia english, will not silence investigations of this in the future. his reputation in 20 years may not be what it is today — which is already tarred by his selective designations of worthy victims vs unworthy victims.

  7. YoniFalic
    June 13, 2017, 8:00 pm

    Because antisemitism is such a topic in this discussion, I present below the first reference (1822) to antisemitic/antisemitisch.

    Footnote 54. Semitic alphabets have no vowels, antisemitic no letters. (Meager humor.)

    Click here.

    • echinococcus
      June 13, 2017, 11:11 pm

      Steinschneider’s usage is more interesting: he uses it about Renan, i.e. about the top semitist and top religion historian of the 19th C. So “antisemite” was appropriately used to describe the most erudite and informed critic of the three Semitic superstitions.
      Thank you for the tidbit.

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