Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Playing the Holocaust card

Ami Eden, editor of the New York-based Jewish newspaper The Forward, has written a commentary for the NYT on why the world's Jewish community needs new tactics to combat anti-Semitism.

An excerpt:

THE 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which was be marked by ceremonies in Poland this week, is a painful reminder of how little has been learned since the Holocaust. Most obviously, bigotry and religious and ethnic violence have not been eradicated, but seem to be sharply on the rise, from Darfur to Tikrit to Tibet.

As for the Jews, the main targets of Nazi racism, they face a very different sort of problem today, one that is partly of their own making. Jewish organizations have pursued an effective campaign to combat bigotry through a combination of protest and education, hoping to shame wrongdoers and encourage the next generation to shed old prejudices. And yet, as they look around, they see a world increasingly hostile to them and to Israel. It is time Jews recognize that the old strategies no longer work.

Jewish organizations and advocates of Israel fail to grasp that they are no longer viewed as the voice of the disenfranchised. Rather, they are seen as a global Goliath, close to the seats of power and capable of influencing policies and damaging reputations. As such, their efforts to raise the alarm increasingly appear as bullying. …

For more than half a century, Auschwitz has rightly stood at the heart of virtually every moral argument put forth by spokesmen for the Jewish community, a powerful testament to the consequences of otherwise decent people remaining silent in the face of evil. Yet this legacy is in peril, threatened by an increasing reliance on raw political muscle over appeals to conscience.

As the world recalls the horrors and liberation of Auschwitz, Jewish organizations and advocates for Israel should remember that “speaking truth to power” does not work when you are seen as the powerful one.

Sun, January 30 2005 » Main Page