The Envy of Suffering 4

In a study of contemporary anti-Semitism in Poland, included in a recently published collection of such studies [1], the author Anna Sommer Schneider writes:

[T]here is a level of constant competition between Jews and non-Jewish Poles over which group has suffered more in history. For Poles, the country holds a unique and continuing role as the “Christ of Nations”. This romantic-messianic ideology was built on Christian values more than two centuries ago and allows Poles to believe their main mission is to sustain brotherhood for others. The tragic history of the Poles, who arguably have suffered more than many other nations, has allowed this messianic vision to be built up alongside a ‘myth of sacrifice’. The Poles unwillingly share their sorrow with others. And, furthermore, the ‘myth of victimhood’ does not allow Polish people to regard themselves as victimizers. The question of ‘antagonism of suffering’ was expressed by Archbishop Henryk Muszynski, who in an interview in Tygodnik Powszechny referred to Polish and Jewish victimhood during the war and stated that: ‘During the period of occupation two basic categories were distinguished: perpetrators and victims. And we and Jews were victims. But one must say here right away: not in the same way and not to the same degree. The Jew was sentenced to death and was supposed to die [while] the Pole could survive as an Untermensch. Nevertheless, when Jews emphasize the exceptional nature, or the uniqueness of the Holocaust, Poles are offended. It is difficult for them to accept that the Jews suffered more than anyone else or to understand how, for example, the murder of an entire Jewish family differs from the murder of a Polish family for hiding Jews. … Thus is born the antagonism of suffering.’

From the symptoms described by the Archbishop, what can be diagnosed is not, in fact, a victims’ competition for the honor of being “more persecuted than thou” (no case is presented that Jews intend any such thing), but envy felt by (some) Poles of the Jews’ degree of suffering.

Why? It can be understood perhaps in the light of the Christian idea of suffering as a redeeming experience. Jews victimized by Christian nations can appear, afterwards, in the eyes of their victimizers, to have been not punished but exalted – even sanctified.

For Germans there is confirmation of this in their very language. The word “Opfer” means both victim and sacrifice. By victimizing the Jews in the Holocaust, the Germans inescapably conferred a martyr’s sanctity on them. And that must also mean, inescapably, that those who martyred them were in the wrong. Awareness of this unintended consequence could be hard to bear. It could be felt as an affront for which the Jews deserve to be punished – but then, to punish them would only augment Jewish victimhood again, and so again, also, German guilt. How can a victim ever be forgiven by his victimizer? To the Nazi mind, the Holocaust was an absolutely unforgiveable offense committed by the Jews.

I first became aware of the envy of victimhood, or envy of suffering, when I investigated the protest movement in Germany in the late 1960s, and the terrorist groups that emerged from it.

In West Berlin, many of the protesting students lived in what they called “communes”. Most of them were “squats”, because if the communards could get away with it, they paid no rent. The apartments were very austere. In some, bedsteads were considered an impermissible luxury, and carpets and lampshades were utterly despised. A sociology student, member of a West Berlin commune when the economic miracle had for twenty years been filling her side of the city full to overflowing with all goods necessary and luxurious, told me that she and her comrades did not and would not own a television set or a car because they were in revolt against “bourgeois materialism and the consumer society”. What did they do, I asked, if they wanted to watch a particular television program? “Everyone in the street has got a television set, so we go and watch in a neighbor’s house,” she said. “And if you need a car to get somewhere in a hurry?” “The street’s full of them,” she said, She knew as well as I that her abstinence was no more than a gesture. She and her comrades were playing at poverty, and their world was rich and secure and sentimental enough to indulge their pretence.

Some of the first leaders of West Germany’s student protest movement came from two pioneering communes formed in West Berlin in the mid 1960s. Two or three years later, as the New Left peaked in 1967 and 1968 with mass marches and street demonstrations, the movement was manipulated by skilled, professional apparatchiks. “We chose the slogans,” one of them told me, nostalgically recalling those heady days. But most of the tens of thousands who marched with anti-West banners in West Berlin – or the hundreds of thousands in all the university cities of Western Europe – were not ideologically Marxist, nor wanting victory for the Communists in the Cold War. What those well-off, well-fed, well-educated sons and daughters of the free world wanted was to be seen as voluntary co-sufferers with the wretched of the earth; to qualify by their gestures for membership of an imagined community of underdogs.

In pamphlets and articles, New Left writers declared that they “identified themselves” with the underclass, but were disappointed with the workers of West Germany because their potential for revolution had been spoilt by the economic miracle. Not only in West Germany but in all the developed countries, they believed, the working-class had been bought off with material plenty. So revolutionary hope was placed instead in the Third World, in the “victims of imperialism”, particularly the Vietnamese who were being subjected to “American aggression”, the Iranians under the Shah, and the peasants of Latin America.

As the self-styled vanguard of “the revolution”, the student protestors marched for world peace and Western nuclear disarmament – hosts of pacifists, armed with banners on stout staves, bags of paint, custard-pies, cobblestones and petrol-bombs. In their regular clashes with the police, blood was spilt, protestors were arrested, tried, and sometimes sentenced to short terms of imprisonment: which only went to prove, they argued, that the police and the courts were agents of “authoritarianism”. “To provoke the fascist out of the police” was one of the declared purposes of the West German protest movement; and though most of its members had been born after the Second World War, they were, they maintained, still having to combat Nazism. As evidence that the liberal-democracy of the Federal Republic was not very different from the Third Reich, they pointed to the many persons in positions of authority who were erstwhile Nazis, and claimed that they, the young protestors of 1968, were “up against the generation of Auschwitz”. In crowded public meetings and in interviews with the press they would often say, “We are the Jews of to-day.” [2]

As an active movement, the New Left came to an end in the early 1970s. A few dozen protestors who had refused to give up “the struggle” turned to terrorism. Most of the terrorists were caught, tried and jailed. They made repeated applications for relief to the European Court of Human Rights, complaining that they were being tortured by isolation and sensory deprivation. An international campaign was mounted to rouse public opinion on their behalf. Posters were distributed referring to “the smoking chimneys” of this or that prison in which members of the group were being held, in an attempt to evoke the Holocaust. A constant theme of the campaign was that the prisoners were being treated as the Jews had been by the Nazis.

Their complaints did not stand up to scrutiny. A few prisoners had been kept for a short while in isolation, but most of them, for most of the time, in conditions of exceptional privilege. The European Court of Human Rights rejected their appeals. And their claim to be “the Jews of today” turned out to be more a declaration of rivalry than compassion. A group of terrorists firebombed a Jewish retirement home in Frankfurt, and laid incendiary bombs – fortunately found before they exploded – in a Jewish meeting hall in West Berlin. One of the bombers, when caught and charged, explained that he had needed to carry out such actions “in order to get rid of this knax about Jews that we’ve all had to have since the Nazi time”.

The notorious terrorist Ulrike Meinhof, when she herself was in custody and giving evidence at the trial of a comrade, declared that the Nazis had been right to kill the German Jews because they were capitalists (“were that which was maintained of them – Money-Jews”). She insisted, however, that she was anti-Nazi and had fellow-feeling for the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto. In sum, she considered it wrong to kill Jews genocidally as a “race enemy”, but not wrong to kill millions of them as “class enemies”. [3]

Meinhof believed in collective guilt. She believed particularly in the collective guilt of the German middle classes for the crimes of the Third Reich: but she held that she and her co-terrorists were exempt from both national and class guilt, not on the grounds that they had been infants or as yet unborn at the time of the Holocaust, but because they were communist revolutionaries; as such they “belonged to the working class”‘, and the working class in Germany had “never supported Hitler”, had “not voted him into power”, and were therefore “not guilty”.

Her passionate, confused statements made only one thing clear: she and her like-thinkers hoped that by identifying themselves with victims – of the Nazis, of the present social order in the First World, of “colonialism” and “imperialism” in the Third World – they could free themselves from guilt; or, more accurately, protect and preserve themselves from accusation. It was a way of asserting a moral superiority over their own nation and their own class. None of them really wanted to be poor, or oppressed, or hurt, or deprived of liberty, or killed, or compelled to do manual labor. What they wanted, what they envied, was not what victims had to endure, but the supposed esteem in which victims are held, their freedom from culpability, their high moral status. To be a victim – they seemed to believe – was to be innocent. And to be innocent was almost the same as being heroic.

It was not only the young Germans who felt a need to escape from guilt or accusation. Everywhere in Western Europe the rebels of the New Left found cause to be ashamed of their own countries.

Americans also felt a need to evade accusation, and America had its own anti-Vietnam-war anti-America student protest movement, and its own affluent terrorists. The United States was, as much in the eyes of its own protestors as in those of the European New Left, deeply guilty: of the war in Vietnam, of opposition to Communism in general, of ‘dollar imperialism’, of internal racism, and of Third World deprivation.

In the early 1970s an American student told me that after being enrolled in a Californian university in 1968, she had suddenly left and gone to Calcutta “in order to share the suffering” of the multitudes who had to live on the streets. I asked her how she had thought this would help them. She replied that the whole point was not to help them but to save herself from being “one of the privileged of the earth”. She “stuck it out”, she said, for three weeks, after which the American embassy had arranged for her to fly home.

In Britain, an immigrant from Pakistan judged Britain to be a severely intolerant, “racist” country, though the state of affairs was “not yet”, he said, like the Third Reich:

Britain is not … Nazi Germany. … Auschwitz has not been rebuilt in the Home Counties. I find it odd, however, that those who use such absences as defences rarely perceive that their own statements indicate how serious things have become. If the defence for Britain is that mass extermination of racially impure persons has not yet begun, or that the principle of white supremacy has not yet been enshrined in the constitution, then something must have gone very wrong indeed. [4]

When Salman Rushdie said this in 1982 in a BBC radio talk (printed soon afterwards as an article in New Society), he was as free as any man in Britain. Some years later, in 1989, he did indeed become the victim of intolerance, not British but Islamic, when the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa was issued in Iran condemning Mr Rushdie to death for having written and published The Satanic Verses. From that moment on, the British authorities, at the expense of the tax-payers, provided Mr Rushdie as a matter of course with constant protection. He then got to know some members of the police force better than he had known any when, in that broadcast and article, he had said that the British police “offer threats instead of protection”. Yet when Rushdie had the article republished in a book of essays in 1991, he did not qualify his accusations by so much as a footnote. [5]

Now the Vietnam war is long over, and the Iron Curtain has been lifted, what can explain the continuance of victim envy?

It can reasonably be supposed that there are few if any who actually want to be victimized. (Genuine victims are outside the scope of this essay and beside the point.) They want the role of victim, identifying themselves with a group that they claim is oppressed, or has been oppressed in the past. In America there are manifestly large numbers of women and blacks, for instance, who make this claim and choose this role.

Do they yearn for pity? Or do they look for benefits and privileges to flow their way out of the compassion of their compatriots? That would be an understandable reason, as benefits and privileges often are the reward of grievance.

The degree of their victimization is often depicted as far more severe than anyone might have supposed; so severe as to be comparable only to the Holocaust.

For example, a feminist writer published her opinion that American women in the hands of gynecologists were like the extermination camp victims, and the gynecologists were like the Nazis:

It is my intention … to show some threads of connectedness between manifestations of the medical re-search [sic] mania as it worked itself out in Nazi death camps and as it has manifested itself in gynecology practiced in America. There are striking similarities in style and method of perpetrating and legitimating atrocities. [6]

She believed that violence against women, or “patriarchal genocide”, was “the root and paradigm” of all genocide, that “the Nazi medical atrocities and American gynecological practices” had “common roots” and there was a “deep kinship” between their respective practitioners.

Her Holocaust comparison, farfetched as it is, brings us back to the woeful competition Archbishop Muszynski talked about – that Poles are offended when Jews emphasize the uniqueness of the Holocaust; to Ulrike Meinhof’s attempt both to condemn the Nazis and yet blame the Jews for it; and to Salman Rushdie’s effort to equate British racism with Auschwitz.

Envy of the Holocaust victims has been expressed even by Jews. For instance, in a 1967 article on Sylvia Plath, George Steiner wrote:

Are these final poems entirely legitimate? In what sense does anyone, himself uninvolved and long after the event, commit a subtle larceny when he invokes the echoes and trappings of Auschwitz and appropriates an enormity of ready emotion to his own private design? Was there latent in Sylvia Plath’s sensibility, as in that of many of us who remember only by fiat of imagination, a fearful envy, a dim resentment at not having been there, of having missed the rendezvous with hell? [7]

Whether or not there was “a fearful envy” in Plath’s “sensibility”, he is telling us that there was such a thing in his own. Can he be believed, or is this an example of envy of suffering as affectation, of sentimentality? Such an envy must surely be shallow, pretentious, and insincere as sentimentality essentially is.

And what of Plath herself? What is it in her poetry that gave rise to Steiner’s statement?

In two of her poems, Daddy and Lady Lazarus, she uses Holocaust imagery.

A part of Daddy reads:

I thought every German was you.

And the language obscene

An engine, an engine

Chuffing me off like a Jew.

A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

I began to talk like a Jew.

I think I may well be a Jew.

And there is more such imagery to identify “Daddy” as a Nazi , even as Hitler himself – “A man in black with a Meinkampf look” – at whose hands the poet-daughter had suffered.

And a part of Lady Lazarus:

… my skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade,

My right foot

A paperweight,

My face a featureless, fine

Jew linen

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.

Ash, ash –

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there –

A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.

She used this imagery to convey the intensity of her own anguish, and to depict two men – her father and her husband Ted Hughes – as Nazis. Her father was German. Might she conceivably have felt something akin to Meinhof’s desire to distance herself from a stained generation? I doubt it. I doubt that she, born in America, felt herself vulnerable to accusation because of her German descent. I doubt that the Holocaust was anything more to her than a source of imagery. [8] I agree with Steiner’s implication that she was wrong to invoke Auschwitz, that to do so is not “legitimate”. But I do not agree that she might have felt even the dimmest “resentment at not having been there, of having missed the rendezvous with hell”. The envy her comparison implies, and that Steiner claims for himself, is of the status of the victims, not their experience.

What moves “Holocaust deniers” or “revisionists” to write history with the Holocaust expunged from it? Some declare that the Jews invented the Holocaust for their own advantage – to disturb the conscience of mankind with lies, or to extract reparations from the German nation. But why? It should be surprising that anti-Semites want to deny the Holocaust. It would be logical for them to rejoice over it. The fact that they don’t indicates to me that they feel the Jews were somehow elevated rather than debased by it. If so, their hatred is heated even more by envy.

When some revisionists find they cannot prove that the Holocaust never happened, they fall back on dogmatic assertions that even if it did happen, it wasn’t as bad as reported; and even if it was very bad, the Germans suffered more and worse than the Jews. For example, one author claims that the sufferings of Germans returned to Germany from Czech and Polish border areas after the war were “obviously more hideous and prolonged than those of the Jews said to have been exterminated in great numbers by the Nazis”. [9] And from the same author: “[I]t is almost alarmingly easy to demonstrate that the atrocities of the Allies … were more numerous as to victims [than the ‘most exaggerated’ of the Nazis’ atrocities] and were carried out for the most part by methods more brutal and painful than alleged extermination ovens.” [10]

The revisionists present themselves as a group of respectable scholarly academics who have painstakingly ferreted out and tried to reveal to the world an important truth, and yet are not only unappreciated but ill-used. “The Holocausters,” one of them complained, “accuse Revisionists of being hate filled people who are promoting a doctrine of hatred. But Revisionism is a scholarly process, not a doctrine or an ideology. — When a Revisionist does speak on campus he is oftentimes shouted down and threatened …. Next, the Thought Police set out to destroy the transgressor professionally and financially.” [11] And this campaign against them, they stress, is devised, led, orchestrated and run by the Jews, who invented the Holocaust in a vast malicious conspiracy, and will go to any lengths to prevent their plot being exposed. So the Jews are turned into persecutors and the neo-Nazis into victims.

Some who do not necessarily want to excuse the Nazis but are irritated by the victim-status of the Jews, protest at what they see as a Jewish monopolization of that status. “What about all the other victims?” they ask, “Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists … ?” They speak as if, in absolute opposition to the truth, the Holocaust were a source of pride to the Jews rather than extremest grief.

It seems that the temptation to make Holocaust comparisons can be so compelling that even someone who is against them may succumb – though his discomfort will probably reveal itself, as in a letter written to the London Times in August 1992 by the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks:

The atrocities currently being committed in Bosnia strike at the very core of our consciences as citizens of the world. For surely our moral credibility after the Holocaust rests on a … commitment never again to be passive witnesses to … mass exterminations, concentration camps and “ethnic cleansing”. To be sure, no direct comparison can be made between events today and those which took place in Nazi Germany. But the reports emerging from Bosnia bear an uncanny resemblance, in manner if not in scale, to those which disfigured humanity half a century ago. [12]

Dr. Sacks did not mean of course that the reports half a century ago disfigured humanity, but that the events did. And to those events, he says, these of 1992 are not “directly comparable”. Yet, he says, there is a resemblance between the reports that strikes him as “uncanny”. But is there really anything uncanny about it when the reports were compiled with the express intention of rousing the comparison in the readers’ mind?

The comparison was given a huge boost by the publication of a picture which the media seized upon precisely in order to provoke the comparison. The picture, however, did not show what they claimed it did – and they knew that it did not.

The camp was horrible – there can be no doubt about that. But was a Holocaust comparison justified? I quote part of a translation of an article that first appeared in the German magazine Novo in 1997: [13]

This image of an emaciated Muslim caged behind Serb barbed wire, filmed by a British news team, became a worldwide symbol of the war in Bosnia. But the picture is not quite what it seems. …

The picture reproduced on these pages is of Fikret Alic, a Bosnian Muslim, emaciated and stripped to the waist, apparently imprisoned behind a barbed wire fence in a Bosnian Serb camp at Trnopolje. …

The fact is that Fikret Alic and his fellow Bosnian Muslims were not imprisoned behind a barbed wire fence. There was no barbed wire fence surrounding Trnopolje camp. It was not a prison, and certainly not a “concentration camp”, but a collection centre for refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished.

The barbed wire in the picture is not around the Bosnian Muslims; it is around the cameraman and the journalists. It formed part of a broken-down barbed wire fence encircling a small compound that was next to Trnopolje camp. The British news team filmed from inside this compound, shooting pictures of the refugees and the camp through the compound fence. In the eyes of many who saw them, the resulting pictures left the false impression that the Bosnian Muslims were caged behind barbed wire.

Whatever the British news team’s intentions may have been, their pictures were seen around the world as the first hard evidence of concentration camps in Bosnia. “The Proof: behind the barbed wire, the brutal truth about the suffering in Bosnia”, announced the Daily Mail alongside a front-page reproduction of the picture from Trnopolje: “They are the sort of scenes that flicker in black and white images from 50-year-old films of Nazi concentration camps.” (7 August 1992.) On the first anniversary of the pictures being taken, an article in the Independent could still use the barbed wire to make the Nazi link: “The camera slowly pans up the bony torso of the prisoner. It is the picture of famine, but then we see the barbed wire against his chest and it is the picture of the Holocaust and concentration camps.” (5 August 1993.)

Penny Marshall, Ian Williams and Ed Vulliamy have never called Trnopolje a concentration camp. They have criticized the way that others tried to use their reports and pictures as “proof” of a Nazi-style Holocaust in Bosnia. Yet over the past four and a half years, none of them has told the full story about that barbed wire fence which made such an impact on world opinion.

I wonder if perhaps Dr. Sacks accepted the false narrative attached to the picture because he understood that Holocaust envy is dangerous for the Jews?

There can be little doubt that the picture made “such an impact” precisely because “world opinion” wanted the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust to be matched if not outmatched – and especially for it to be matched by Muslim suffering. UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, whose sole purpose is to aid the Palestinians, and to which Israel contributes its dues) declared in April 2011 that they were “adamantly opposed” to teaching Palestinian children about “the Holocaust of the Jews” on the grounds that doing so will “confuse their thinking”. They said they would rather “emphasize study of the history of Palestine and the acts of massacre which have been carried out against Palestinians”. [14]

When Arabs or their sympathizers proclaim that the Palestinians are “the Jews of today” and the Israeli Jews treat them “as the Nazis did the Jews”, they are not only intending to wound the Jews with the worst insult they can think of, they are also displaying Holocaust envy. And although the “Grand Mufti” of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, had encouraged the Nazis – Himmler in particular [15] – to carry out genocide of the Jews, now many of them seem to grudge the Jews the attempt Hitler made to do so. The Holocaust rankles with them. It seems to them to be yet another area of competition – like warfare – where the Jews have unforgivably won.

On August 15, 2013, the day after some hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed and thousands wounded by the military regime which had taken power in Egypt, a Brotherhood official said that the “scale of violence was worse than the Holocaust”. [16]

As for their sympathizers, two professors at Columbia University – for example – share their envious grudge. Nicholas De Genova, professor of Anthropology and Latino Studies, announced absurdly at an anti-war rally in 2003: “The Heritage of the victims of the Holocaust belongs to the Palestinian people … Israel has no claim to the heritage of the Holocaust.” And his colleague, Bruce Robbins, professor of English and comparative literature proclaimed in a speech backing divestment from Israel: “The Israeli government has no right to the sufferings of the Holocaust.” [17]

Comparisons to the Holocaust come glibly even to the lips of America’s current leaders. When the US Secretary of State John Kerry announced in September 2013 that he believed Bashar Assad had gassed Syrian citizens with sarin, he made an analogy to those who had died from “German gas”; and Senator Harry Reid made a similar comparison. [18] President Obama “spent many words describing the horrors of the gas attack, even implausibly linking chemical weapons to the use of Zyklon-B to murder Jews.” [19]

For my final example of envy of suffering, and specifically envy of Jewish suffering, I quote the words of Daisy Khan, the wife of Imam Rauf whose plan it is to build an Islamic Center close to the site where the World Trade Center was destroyed by Muslims on September 9, 2001.

When Daisy Khan was interviewed on ABC TV (22 August, 2010) about the mounting opposition to the project, she ascribed it to hate of Muslims which, she said, went “beyond Islamophobia”, and was ““like a metastasized anti-Semitism”. [20]

Her words meant that in her opinion hatred of Muslims in America was more widespread, more threatening, more potentially lethal, more frequently expressed than the hatred of Jews – the existence of which her declaration acknowledged.

She may have been right. But apart from the vocal opposition to the Ground Zero mosque project itself, there was little evidence of it. FBI reports show that in 2010 there were more than five times as many “anti-religion hate crimes” committed against Jews as against Muslims. (21)

Regardless of the facts of the matter, Dr Khan wanted to make the point that Muslims were the victims of prejudice and bigotry. As the term “anti-Semitism” carries connotations of irrationality, her words implied that any feeling against Muslims is wholly irrational. But is it?

Antagonism towards Islam since 9/11, however emotional much of it may be, is not reasonless. Reasons for it abound. The attack on the World Trade Center was carried out in the name of Islam, as other violent attacks, murders, and plans for murderous attacks have been, both before 9/11 and after. (The Fort Hood massacre is one; the Boston marathon bombing another.) Muslims fit the role of victimizers far better than that of victims. So while anti-Islam odium may be felt as unfair by many Muslims, it is not irrational; and while Dr Khan’s complaint cannot be dismissed as having no substance, her analogy with anti-Semitism was wide of the mark.

Daisy Khan took the example of anti-Semitism because it is what racial or religious hatred is best measured by – the Richter scale of it, so to speak. Her comparison strongly implied envy of Jewish suffering. Muslim suffering, she would impress on America, was worse. But America knows that it is not.

Holocaust comparisons can only be exaggerations, and are often so far from the truth as to be preposterous. Those which conclude that some violent or unjust event was “worse than the Holocaust” are not generally believed. If they were, it would not be long before the Holocaust became, in the public mind, a quite common type of episode, and comparisons with it would have no point and would no longer be made. This has not happened. For our time and perhaps for all time, the Holocaust remains the measure of evil and man-inflicted suffering. It sets the limit to them, as does the speed of light to speed.

 

Jillian Becker    September 30, 2013

 

NOTES

[1] Anna Sommer Schneider, The Catholic Church, Radio Maryja, and the Question of Antisemitism in Poland in Resurgent Antisemitism, Global Perspectives, ed. Alvin H Rosenfeld, Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2013.

[2] The quotations are from my book, Hitler’s Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang by Jillian Becker, 1977, 1978, 1989.

[3] Becker, op. cit.

[4] Salman Rushdie, The New Empire Within Britain, in New Society, 9 December 1982.

[5] Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991, Granta/Penguin, London, 1991.

[6] Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, Beacon, Boston, 1978, as quoted and summarized by Paul Hollander in Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home and Abroad, 1965-1990, OUP, New York, 1992.

[7] George Steiner, Dying is an art, Sylvia Plath in The Art of Sylvia Plath, ed. Charles Newman, Faber, London, 1970.

[8] I think the poems themselves indicate this, but I also judge by a personal impression. Towards the end of her life, Sylvia Plath talked to me long and often about what troubled her, and she never mentioned the Holocaust.

[9] Harry Elmer Barnes, Blasting the Historical Blackout, a privately printed pamphlet quoted by Lucy S. Dawidowicz in Lies About the Holocaust, Commentary, December 1980.

[10] Harry Elmer Barnes, Revisionism: A Key to Peace, quoted by Lucy S. Dawidowicz, op.cit.

[11] Bradley R.Smith, article as a paid advertisement in The Daily Reveille, 29 January 1992.

[12] The Times (London), 8 August 1992.

[13] An LM-vs-ITN translation of Thomas Deichmann’s article, Er was dieses Bild, das die Welt in Alarmbereitschaft versetze, Novo, January/February 1997 edition.

[14] UN Workers “Adamantly Opposed” to Holocaust Education, by Itamar Marcus, Gatestone Institute, April 28, 2011.

[15] David G. Dalin and John F. Rothman, Icon of Evil, Random House, New York, 2008, passim.

[16] The Daily Caller August 15, 2013.

[17] Douglas Feidan, Hate 101 at Front Page Magazine, November 22, 2004.

[18] These speeches are quoted and discussed in an article titled The people milking the memory of the Holocaust to justify an airstrike on Syria are moral relativists and charlatans by Brendan O’Neill in The Telegraph, September 11, 2013.

[19] Fifteen Minutes of Foreign Policy Malfeasance, by Bruce Thornton at Front Page Magazine, September 11, 2013.

[20] Daisy Khan speaking in an interview with Christiane Amanpour on the ABC TV show This Week, August 22, 2010.

[21] The official FBI statistics for 2010 are these: Of the 1,552 victims of an anti-religion hate crime, 67.0 percent (by far the most) were victims of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias, 12.7 percent were victims of an anti-Islamic bias.

Posted under by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 30, 2013

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  • Cogito

    This is a brilliant analysis. Thank you for your insights – psychoanalytical and philosophical, and sociological!

    • Thank you, Cogito! I greatly appreciate your telling me this.

  • liz

    For Muslims to compare themselves to Holocaust victims is insulting not only to Jews, but to the intelligence. The accurate comparison is of Muslims to Nazis – not their victims! They perpetrate atrocities against Jews and preach hatred against them, yet have the gall to compare themselves to them??!
    Whatever hatred there is toward Muslims in the world, they have brought it on themselves, and they richly deserve it.

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