Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Jews and Genocide

From Vox Day, "The Jews are far from the only historical victims of genocide. They are not even the most recent victims."

While true, this conveniently, or perhaps ignorantly, obscures the fact that the Jews are unique in that they have been victims of genocide throughout time and throughout the world. The Holocaust was far from the first organized attempt to eliminate the Jews, and it was far from being a uniquely mid-twentieth century German phenomenon. Even setting aside that the Jews of the old testament come across as a particularly belligerent people, history is replete with organized slaughter of Jews designed to eradicate them. The medieval crusaders routinely slaughtered Jews and other infidels on their way to the Middle East. The Russians were infamous for their Jewish pogroms. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century there was a very public debate not only in Germany but also in other European countries on how to solve "the Jewish problem." It was then, not later, in Nazi Germany, that the notion of a "final solution" took root. Against that backdrop, the persecution and slaughter of Jews takes on a different perspective, distinguishing their history from that of those victimized by attempted genocide in Turkey, Rwanda, Darfur, and Cambodia. Other ethnic, cultural, and religious groups have been victims of genocide, and those individuals killed and uprooted are no less victims than Jewish victims of genocide. The difference is the Jews would be foolish to not believe it will happen again to them.
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