Truth, Lies and Stereotypes: Christian Denial – Jewish Denial

In my recent discussion of Antisemitism and Jewish Denial my readers often see issues more starkly than I. “John” is a Christian and clearly from his entire challenge (appearing is a brief excerpt) supportive of Israel and the Jewish People. His comments to my most recent article, An American Holocaust? Assessing the threat, reflect a common simplification, an “honest” effort to reduce a complicated and emotion-laden problem to manageable terms. I describe the phenomenon as “denial,” not necessarily “conscious” but certainly superficial and potentially dangerous for all. Christian Denial directs attention from the scripture and theology inspiring the need to find a solution to the “Jewish Problem:” that Christianity is fundamentally flawed and responsible for two thousand years of anti-Jewish persecution which resulted in that most evident and horrible Final Solution, the Holocaust.

Jewish Denial insists that the Shoah is an aberration, a departure from history, exceptional and mysterious. As such it is disconnected from history so holds, for most, no lesson for the future.

Below is a transcript of “John’s” comment and my response. Our discussion continued with several additional exchanges.

“John”: “While you are all too willing to apply psychological language to pose a problem, “subconscious cultural stereotypes”, “cultural subconscious”, “cultural consciousness”… it is very strange in all your analysis, you will not come to terms with the basic corruption that antisemitism represents. It is a system of beliefs based on lies and the willingness of the public to accept lies without question [that] is the basic problem.”

DT: “John”, the “lies” are obvious to all, Jew and Christian. These are the stereotypes we confront daily and are clearly represented by the ADL list of statements used to determine “degree of antisemitism.” General Brown insisting that, “They own, you know, the banks in this country, the newspapers. Just look at where the Jewish money is.” Or the good Representative quoted above in debate referring to “jewing’ in a debate over budgeting insisting innocence based on the fact that, “it’s a phrase that was used when I was kid, and it was used often…It was just something that came out from the wrinkles of my brain.” Jew and Christian KNOW it exists, is common. The real issue I am addressing, and you might consider priority, is not that we are all aware that lies are present, but the motivation to minimize their presence. For Christians it is obviously a we “good” they “bad” Christians, and so a plea of innocence.

And for the Jews? Because for us Christianity’s eternal Jewish Problem is literally a matter of life and death: What is our need to ignore the meaning and presence of these “lies,” the real danger of their presence?

In a rational world “acceptance” by our neighbors might be appropriate: assimilation, conversion. But the Diaspora is demonstrably, no obviously not “rational” when it comes to the Jews. And with the very recent attempt on the part of our neighbors to solve the eternal and pathological Jewish Problem with finality, what counter-pathology promotes our denial that “it cannot happen here?

Yes, “John”, we can follow the well-trodden path laid by generations of our predecessors, as promoted by ADL today, and reason with our perpetrators. Or, we can confront our own pathological need to deny that which is, should be obvious to all, and act. I prefer to demonstrate the existence of Jewish Denial. ADL is competent to address Christian “lies.”

I strongly recommend reading Pinsker’s little pamphlet, Autoemancipation, “John”. He already appreciated the “Problem,” and its “solution,” in the 1870’s.

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.