Not the Holocaust

December 27, 2010 Agencies
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The president of  the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Descendants has criticised the B’nai B’rith Anti Defamation Commission for using the Holocaust as an analogy in the recent boat people tragedy.

Anna Berger writes:

The recent tragic death of asylum seekers is unquestionably worthy of heartfelt compassion and empathy by all decent people. The instincts of B’nai B’rith ADC in deploring this tragedy in their media release of 16 December 2010 are commendable, but their comparison of the asylum seekers’ plight to that of Jews trying to escape certain murder by the Nazis and their allies is irresponsible.

The Holocaust is generally recognised as the benchmark of the most extreme case of human evil, and the Jewish community has frequently had cause to deplore the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi Genocide in Australian public debate. It is especially disheartening that in this instance the offender is a respected Jewish organization.  Such comparison of sufferings is not only odious but, by relativising both causes, it benefits neither. It is an unacceptable dilution of the singularity of the Holocaust, trivialising the suffering of our Kedushim and Survivors while doing no less a disservice to the terrible situation of others, in this case the asylum seekers.

Jews do not need faux analogies to the Holocaust in order to make a strong moral statement on human rights issues.  When we choose to make our voices heard we do so as proud, engaged Jewish Australian citizens with a strong ethos of Tsedaka and Chesed based on the ethical system which has been our people’s unique gift to humankind.

We urge B’nai B’rith ADC to continue its good work in consultation with other concerned Jewish organisations by finding more appropriate ways to express support for compassionate and humane treatment of asylum seekers.

Comments

2 Responses to “Not the Holocaust”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    I agree the Holocaust is too often used to make a strong moral statements.
    This intristic and insidious evil can never be equalled, although for lack of a better comparison, I am guilty of using it myself when describing the sex- abuse of our beautiful innocent children, some as young as two years old at the hands of not just a few clergy with Bishops moving them around for decades.
    Rachels tears shed by both mothers.

  2. George Sternfeld says:

    Being a child survivor from the Holocaust, I am in full support of Anna Berger’s response to B’nai B’rith’s Anti Defamation Commission.

    It is unnecessary to compare the current event of boat people with what happened to Jews during the Holocaust.

    B’nai B’rith’s Anti Defamation Commission should concentrate on calling on the Gillard Government and the opposition Tony Abbot to stop maintaining a partisan attitude toward boat arrivals. It is sad to see history is being ignored, but comparisons to the Holocaust are not appropriate in this case or any other case.
    George

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