John Atkin: “On “holocausts” and “the Holocaust””

John Thomas Atkin is intelligent and thoughtful and challenged me regarding my previous TOI contribution, On “holocausts” and “the Holocaust” two days ago. If, as I, he does not return to past articles for followup I did want to share my response, and feel it suitable as explanation for other readers regarding the direction of my thought as I appear on my TOI blog.

John Thomas Atkin: 

Selling the idea of the Jew as the eternal victim also sell’s the idea that everyone else is a closet Nazi.” 

DT: As I wrote in a previous response, John, I appreciate your input. I assure I am not “selling immigration to Israel.” Nor am I suggesting that the sky is falling, because at this moment it is not. And yes, Jan (not-John),

“Jews today [may be] more numerous than before WWII.”

But our numbers would have been today’s population plus six million plus how ever many more children would have grown to adulthood and had children, plus whatever fertility those already adult might yet have contributed to that number.

But back to John. The most secure Jewish community before Hitler, John, was in Germany. Nowhere in the world was assimilation so high, pride in “homeland” so great. And if you have been reading my blog at JPost, Antisemitism and Jewish Survival you are also likely aware that before and during the war antisemitism in Germany and in the United States was virtually identical; that even after 1945 antisemitism in the US continued to climb (you might want to read my current update, Chapter Twenty-four: An American Holocaust? Assessing the threat, Part 1 for some of the statistical evidence?).

But of course you are correct that by me pursuing these writings I might inadvertently be feeding the passions of those already committed antisemites. And this is something I have been aware of before even beginning my project. And while I might not be most qualified to write on the Jewish Problem whose origins are in Christian scripture (sorry, but I have to remind that the topic is not really very “genteel”) how else spread the warning regarding the dangers unseen for lack of precedent by history by our German community; unseen today in spite of the benefit of history by our American community, by the Diaspora entire? I made the choice to write despite the risk of offending some while possibly provoking other Christians in order to at least plant the seed of awareness in a global Jewish community in voluntary Denial.

John Thomas Atkin:

Selling the idea of the Jew as the eternal victim also sell’s the idea that everyone else is a closet Nazi.”

History, John, not I, confirms that in Christian society “the Jew” is the eternal victim, Christendom’s “Other.” As regards me pointing at “everyone else” as “closet Nazi” that, as Christian participants (yes, a few have gotten past their initial misreading of me as “anti-Christian) and participate actively and productively in the discussion); as I already I do not write for a Christian audience, but do invite all to participate. And I certainly do NOT charge all Christians as “closet Nazis.” On the other hand I do state openly and clearly that Christian scripture and theology are responsible for the actions of Christendom from the first to the twenty-first centuries, including, obviously, the failed “final solution” to its Jewish Problem. And so Christianity has much to own and take responsibility for. And while, in the end, that will change neither past nor future for “the Jews” still might it, in the end, provide salvation for a religion that describes itself “loving” and “forgiving.” Whatever other promises Christianity represents, history certainly suggests a failing in these promises.

Again, these words are not spoken in anger. More from pity. All Christians are not “closet Nazis.” But neither were all Germans.

About the Author
David made aliya in 1960 and has been active in Jewish issues since. He was a regional director for JNF in New York, created JUDAC, Jews United to Defend the Auschwitz Cemetery during that controversy; at the request of Jonathan Pollard created and led Justice for the Pollards in 1989.
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