This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2015, what should Jews remember? What should Christians in the West remember? Palestinians?
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Gaza remains unreconstructed. Settlements continue to expand. The Israeli populace moves farther and farther to the right. The churches continue to write documents against the occupation that mean little. Jews who enabled the occupation for decades and now come out against it are honored. Are they honored for finding their voice when it’s already too late?
The interfaith ecumenical deal continues unabated. Here Jews are empowered and Christians are supposed to repent – and remain silent about what Jews are doing to Palestinians. Thus the many posts from Christian remembering the Holocaust. Are these posts strategic? Most of this Holocaust grief has become rote, a credential played so that support for Palestinians can’t be seen as a form of anti-Semitism.
The Holocaust has assumed a religious significance. Like Easter and Passover it comes around every year without doing much of anything except encouraging outrageous conduct among those with access to power.
When will this Holocaust remembrance – with injustice continuing – charade end?
Many years ago I encouraged Christians to halt their religious services because the words they uttered and the doctrines they signed onto meant little if anything in the real world. Is it now time to halt remembrance of the Holocaust for the every same reason?
What Jews – and Christians – would do without the Holocaust as a signifier of absolute grief is difficult to know. Yet, since absolute grief has other destinations, including Gaza, it is time to turn our attention elsewhere.
Perhaps, then, the remembrance of the Holocaust will return as an authentic attempt to grapple with unmitigated evil. One thing is for sure: As Jews continue to oppress Palestinians, making a holy day for Holocaust remembrance only delays the more authentic second coming of Holocaust remembrance.
Note: Marc chose to change the title of this piece from The Second Coming of the Holocaust out of concern that some misunderstood. –Ed.