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Calling into dispute

image: Letters headerGiraldi and Taylor assert that the "Holocaust industry" in America is seeking, through its discussions of the Holocaust, to "make concrete what might otherwise become dated and ephemeral." My question is, how can one describe the deaths of more than 6 million individuals of one religion, and more than 10 million people overall--simply because the Nazis considered them untermenschen--"dated and ephemeral?" I am shocked at the callousness of arguing that one of history's most terrible tragedies is not worth our time and attention.

Haven't Giraldi and Taylor learned that the primary lesson of the Holocaust is that such barbarism can be visited upon anyone, even members of "America's Christian majority"?

From minimizing the Holocaust, Giraldi and Taylor visit the favorite ground of those who feel inconvenienced by the memory of the Holocaust-attacking "wealthy and influential American Jews," "Israel-firsters," and any other straw men they seek to knock down with their unsubstantiated demagogy and rhetorical claptrap. The fatuous nonsense of Jews controlling government--which the writers bring up by claiming that "Israel-firsters" are "masters of the executive and legislative branches"--the ranting that there exists a conspiracy by Jews to take over and dominate the media and government, is not new. Hitler, Himmler, and Goering said the same things, as did other anti-Semites throughout the centuries. The sheer lie of implying that American Jews are "Israel-firsters," and that somehow they put Israeli interests over that of the United States, their own country, is yet more recycled, prejudiced, and inaccurate harping against a loyal and patriotic segment of the American citizenry. American Jews do not put any country over America.

Besides, there is a contradiction in their illogical fulminations: If America is indeed a majority Christian nation, it would presume that the majority Christians are immensely powerful in numbers and influence. Such a conclusion is only logical. Are the writers actually claiming that the vast and numerous American Christian majority was outwitted and outmaneuvered by a small Jewish minority? How plausible does this nonsense actually seem?

Does a small Jewish minority really collectively have that much more money and influence than a vast American Christian majority? Does that explain why none of our presidents and vice presidents ever were Jews? Or do Jews simply pull strings behind the scenes? It appears that the prejudiced have joined forces with X-Files conspiracy buffs.

Their next trick is to bring up the plight of the Arabs. I do not doubt for a moment that in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, both sides have committed terrible acts, which should weigh heavily on their consciences. However, Giraldi and Taylor make no allowance for the suffering undergone by Israelis, who merely wish to keep their state, which is the size of Vermont, intact. They similarly forget that a number of Arab states, who possess so much more land mass, and so many more people, continue even today to plan for Israel's extermination. Giraldi and Taylor should perhaps get out of their cushy American existence, try living in an environment where they are surrounded by tens of states that want their existence extinguished, and see if they do not develop the very mentality that they condemn Israel for.

No one claims that the Jews suffered exclusively. No one has forgotten the genocide against the Armenians, the way in which the Khmer Rouge turned against 2 million Cambodians--their own countrymen. Certainly, within this decade the plight of the Bosnian and Albanian Muslims has been brought home to us.

Eli Wiesel, whom Giraldi and Taylor ridicule, spoke at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in 1993 calling for action on behalf of the Bosnian Muslims. What the lessons of the Holocaust do, and are supposed to do, is to remind us of the fact that any suffering minority could be enduring inhumane and barbaric cruelties. Has the world been perfect in responding to genocide? No. Can it respond to all genocide? Probably not, though we wish and pray for a way to. But if the Holocaust is forgotten and papered over, in the historically inaccurate and sociologically depraved manner that Giraldi and Taylor call for, there will be infinitely more such inhumanity, and it will likely not spare even Christians. In fact, perhaps Giraldi and Taylor have failed to note the plight and persecution of Christians worldwide. Preventing this, and the atrocities of tomorrow, means remembering the atrocities of yesterday.

Pejman Yousefzadeh, AB'94, AM'95
San Diego, California

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  DECEMBER 1999

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