Minimizing the Holocaust at the “New Yorker”

In a brief review of the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy’s recent The Genius of Judaism, an unnamed author at the New Yorker points to the “real contradiction” between Lévy’s insistence that the Holocaust was a “crime without parallel” and his objection to the recent fad of “competitive victimhood.” James Kirchick assails the shoddy and “sinister” thinking behind this comment:

The New Yorker has it backwards. The competition for victimhood wasn’t started by Jews but in reaction to them. The issue is not minimizing other historical tragedies in relation to the Holocaust but minimizing the Holocaust in relation to other historical tragedies. This is not just the realm of Holocaust deniers, but increasingly of progressives who, whether through conscious malice or sheer naiveté, speak of the Holocaust (when they’re not speaking of “holocausts”) as but one unfortunate episode among many, not a world-historical crime that singled out Jews first and foremost. . . .

If those like the New Yorker’s anonymous book critic believe that Lévy is engaging in unseemly “competitive victimhood” simply by claiming that the Holocaust, in both nature and degree, was worse than any other crime in human history, that’s because [the critic] falsely interprets such claims as entries into a victim competition—when, in fact, it is those challenging the singularity of the Holocaust who are responsible for creating this obscene contest. . . .

The review’s sinister element comes in its accusation that Jews like Lévy are responsible for corrupting the commemoration of history and not, say, the Muslim propagandists who frequently invoke the Holocaust to equate Israelis with Nazis or the British student activists who voted against recognizing Holocaust Remembrance Day because doing so “prioritizes some lives over others.” As the British sociologist David Hirsch observes, “When people get competitive about the Holocaust, they do it by accusing the Jews of being competitive.” Not even in talking about something so grave as the Holocaust can the Jews avoid being pushy, it seems.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Bernard-Henri Levy, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Holocaust inversion, New Yorker

A New American Peace Proposal Could Be Very Bad for Israel

June 23 2017

The White House may well be considering the revival of a plan for the creation of a Palestinian state authored by the American general John Allen during the Obama administration. The plan calls for Israel’s withdrawal to a modified version of the pre-1967 borders, leaving the major settlement blocs in Israeli hands but not allowing for an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley. To counter the threat to the Jewish state (and to Jordan) that this arrangement would pose, a U.S. force would be permanently stationed along the Jordan River. Gershon Hacohen finds this proposal less than reassuring:

The basic problem is the notion that Israel will rely for its security on foreign forces. Not only is it difficult to ensure that such forces would fulfill their duty successfully, but it is uncertain whether they would stay in place—particularly if they suffer casualties like those they have suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade. Recall [also] that during the waiting period before the Six-Day War, the security guarantee given by President Eisenhower to Ben-Gurion after the 1956 Sinai campaign evaporated. . . .

There is, however, a larger question:

Do we want Israel to be no more than a haven for persecuted Jews where they can subsist under foreign protection? Or do we want Israel to be a place of freedom, a homeland, in which we alone are responsible for our own security and sovereignty? . . .

Perhaps we have forgotten that protecting our national existence, in terms of how the IDF defines national security, does not pertain solely to ensuring the physical existence of the citizens of the country but also to safeguarding national interests. . . . [The plan] completely ignores the possibility that the people of Israel, in renewing their life in their homeland, are motivated by something much greater than the need for a technical solution to security concerns.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Jordan Valley, Two-State Solution, U.S. Foreign policy