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The inappropriate use of Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack political opponents is rampant both on the left and the right and both among Jews and non-Jews. In fact, it seems far more prevalent on the left, many of whose most vocal ideologues invoke it against all manner of enemy ranging from George W. Bush, to Israel, to me (“Zionazi”). Rabbi Michael Lerner and his supporters refer to Kristallnacht when attacking those who criticize them. Rabbi Arthur Woskow decries the possibility of a nuclear Holocaust. Keith Olbermann repeatedly invokes Nazi imagery. Move On, an organization funded by George Soros, produced a video showing pictures of Hitler and Nazi rallies and claiming that Hitler’s war crimes have become President Bush’s foreign policy. Norman Finkelstein, whose articles are published and praised by Michael Lerner, repeatedly compares the Israeli army to the Gestapo. Gilad Atzmon apologizes for making such a comparison, arguing that the Israeli army is far worse than the Gestapo.
There are also several prominent Israeli professors who regularly compare Israel and Nazi Germany. And just a week or so before this Wall Street Journal ad appeared, a prominent Jewish liberal congressman, Steve Cohen, compared Republican arguments against Obama healthcare to the “big lies” told by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
One would think that a group of rabbis, many on the hard left, would express concern about their coreligionists and ideological soul mates misusing the Holocaust. “But nooooooo!,” as John Belushi used to say. These rabbis, 400 strong, took out a $100,000 ad in the Wall Street Journal, limiting their vitriol to two right wing figures who have misused Holocaust imagery: Glenn Beck and Roger Ailes. Not surprisingly, the list of rabbis includes both Michael Lerner, whose dubious rabbinical credentials have been questioned for years, and Arthur Woskow, a strident demonizer of Israel. Both of these rabbis are guilty of the very offense they accuse Beck and Ailes of committing. I would bet there are also other rabbis on the list whose sermons and political screeds include inappropriate Holocaust references and support for Move On.
Why then did so many decent rabbis sign an ad that includes indecent rabbis and that fails to deal with the far more serious problem of Jewish demonizers of Israel who repeatedly compare the Jewish state to Nazi Germany? Related to that question is another one: Who shelled out the $100,000 that it costs to run a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal? Certainly it wasn’t the rabbis themselves, many of whom earn yearly salaries less that the cost of the ad. The third question is how many of these rabbis would sign an ad condemning the inappropriate use of Holocaust imagery by hard left delegitimators of Israel such as Lerner, Woskow, Finkelstein and Atzmon?
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