Holocaust Dialogues, 1, Who is a Jew and Nazi “Selection”

My philosopher friend, who yesterday inspired my, The Holocaust as failed Final Solutionagain pressed me to define “Who is a Jew” as represented in my writings. For my part I have purposely avoided the question in terms of religion precisely because Zionism in its original form was a secular movement  and Israel, the secular state of the Jews also provides a far broader definition for purposes of fulfilling its Zionist obligations to provide refuge. Israeli law conforms to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws which define “Jew” not by religion, but by blood: Jews are a race, and mixed-race Christians are, for purposes of “Selection,” also Jews back to a single Jewish grandparent. According to Philosopher, by me beginning my discussion of the roots of the Holocaust with Christian scripture, my progression, anti-Judaism-to-antisemitism, from Christian scripture to the Holocaust already represents religion as the motive for the Shoah.

Philosopher presents five logical conclusions based on  his understanding of my definition represented in his “1. All Jewish persecutions were caused consciously in Middle Age and subconsciously after the Enlightenment by Christian “deicide obsession” and thus were religious in nature.”

My response follows:

I’ll try to be as brief as possible. I prefer your Number 1 to read as follows: “Most Jewish persecutions, etc,” since that would accommodate also pogroms based on the Black Plague’s “well poisonings” and act by individual not immediately inspired by religion, etc… ”

I am not as deterministic as you represent me. Yes, Matthew 27:25 in blaming “the Jews” eternally set the tone, supplemented by the later John gospel references to “Jews and Satan.” And both continue to motivate many who hold the gospels “inerrant word of God” (for example, Easter being a prime season for pogroms until recently).

But that does not mean that I attribute the Shoah to Matthew and John, consciously or sub-consciously. What I maintain is that these and other scripture writings inspired a centuries-long and continuing “theology of hate” that directly resulted in the deaths of countless Jews over the centuries and, to a far lesser degree due to the state of western religion in modern times, also continuing today in parts of the Christian West.

Since the Enlightenment, as regards the influence of the “theology of hate,” Christianity-the-religion had and has little overt influence on the behavior of secular states (see my reference to Nostre Aetate in my previous article). What passed through the permeable barrier between religious and secular represented by the Enlightenment was the  tradition of Jewish demonology with medieval stereotypes perhaps representing the best illustration: Jew as Evil.

I previously described the transformation of “the Jew” according to different post-Enlightenment “sciences” and none of these referred to religion or religious anti-Judaism. Yes they sub-consciously referred back to scripture and theology, but only as vague and distant memories. These ghostly memories are what I refer to as the Christendom’s cultural inheritance.

While the description of Jews as parasitic and non-human organisms is certainly patterned after “science,” ghettos and distinctive clothing, and even “impure blood” are all borrowed from the religious past, and reinforce Christian history as complicit in the Shoah. And that may or not have been what you attribute to me as religion-sub-conscious.

My definition according to your logical sequence might read:

1. Historically (before the Enlightenment) most Jewish persecutions were religious in origin; Jewish persecutions in the past three hundred years grew progressively less religion-based, inspired by the “Jew-as-Other” rather than the “Jew-as-deicide,” where “Other” represents a secular introject of the historical “Jew-as-evil” inspired by the “theology of hate.”

2. Shoah was an instance of 1.

3. Shoah victims’ selection by Nuremberg laws was secular (as described in 1. above). Selection, as defined according to Mischlinge codices, was based on blood, on racial theories in the vogue pseudoscience Eugenics of the day.

4. The next Holocaust of the Diaspora will be another instance of 1.

5. Selection of victims of 4 will follow a pattern similar to 3.

6. The Law of Return should give refuge to those endangered by 5 and thus, logically is based upon, or related to Nuremberg Mischlinge codicil.

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.