Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Victimhood of the Jews

Did you take time to read Clyde Haberman's latest (Needing Help From New York to Leave Gaza) in the paper of record? First class stuff.

Toward the end, our intrepid reporter shares a bit from a sad conversation he overheard:
The anger was apparent on the streets outside Baruch, where hundreds of protesters gathered. Some called Mr. Sharon a traitor. A few likened him to the Nazis.

Ugly words. They troubled one man who seemed about 70 and wore the knitted skullcap of a modern Orthodox Jew. He told a knot of young Hasidim surrounding him that he, too, was uncomfortable with the Sharon plan. But cries of "Nazi" and "Auschwitz"? That was unacceptable, he said.

"How is it different from the Nazis?" a young Hasid screamed. "Telling Jews they have to leave where they live - that's what the Nazis did.
No difference? Listening to this youg Hassid (and others like him*) you would think Ariel Sharon was Hitler or the Czar. Which is crazy talk.

"...that's what the Nazis did." Man. How can anyone be so wanton with the word "Nazi?" Don't we have more than a rough idea of what Nazism looks like? The end of Ofra and Elon Moreh and Itamar and Bracha and Tappuah is not Nazism.

The end of Ofra and Elon Moreh and Itamar and Bracha and Tappuah is not, as Leon Weiseltier has argued, even a crime-- except against the plans and the fantasies of the men and women, giants in their own eyes, who live there; and worse things can be imagined, much worse.

* I want to link "and others like him" to someone approriate. Any suggestions?