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Comments

Yaron

A very interesting post, and I'm sure it took some courage to write it.

Personally, I think a lot of the discomfort people have with Holocaust remembrance stems from the way in which it's presented. It's usually explained as an example of racial hatred, which makes sense: in 21st-century America, racism and murder are about the only two things we all agree are bad. The problem is that, by presenting it in that way, it (a) distorts the truth and (b) leads to feelings of hypocrisy: who are Jews to keep painting themselves as victims, when others are currently suffering so much more? And, as you note, it leaves Israelis open to the outrageous charge (popular in Europe and the Arab world) that, because of their occupation of the Palestinians, they are somehow the modern-day inheritors of the Nazis.

What's missing entirely is the component of economic and class jealousy that separates the Holocaust from other genocides. Jews were being killed in large part for their collective wealth, which you don't get a sense of if all you see is photos of starving people behind barbed wire.

So, it would be nice if the study of the Holocaust could focus less on the graphic details of slaughter and more on the social context in which it happened, and thus its deeper meaning. Is that a pipe dream? Yes it is. But that's my 2 cents.

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