Jewish Denial Family of Blogsites

An index of all Affiliated Links, Current and Archived Postings by Topic (below and to the right) provides access to all articles currently appearing according to topic of interest.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

AAA World presents, Oberammergau...With or Without the Passion

AAA's Obergammergau, a response:

I was astonished to find that AAA World is promoting tours to {Oberammergau: It's all about 'Passion'}. For hundreds of years Oberammergau’s blatantly antisemitic passion play has demonized the Jews, has described us as Christ-killers in league with the devil, as vermin. The play has served successive generations as justification for murderous antisemitic outbursts against innocent Jews. Oberammergau inspired Hitler, who promoted its value as an educative tool by which the Party could enlighten Germans as to the need and justification for a Final Solution to Europe's 2000 year long Jewish Problem. He makes this explicit in the following quote following its performance: "One of our most important tasks will be... to remain forever watchful in the knowledge of the menace of Jewry. For this reason alone it is vital that the Passion Play be continued at Oberammergau; for never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in the presentation in the times of the Romans. There one sees in Pontius Pilate a Roman racially and intellectually so superior, that he stands out like a firm, clean rock in the middle of the whole muck and mire of Jewry."

I believe you owe your readership, and particularly those among your membership who, like myself, are Jews, an apology. That apology should also include publication of this letter as a small step in distancing your magazine and organization from the explicit antisemitism your article appears to support.

Oberammergau...With or Without the Passion
The famous Passion Play is a main draw—but not the only draw—to this small Bavarian village. By Melissa Burdick Harmon
AAA World, November/December, 2008, pps. 54-60

It is a story of war and plague and a promise, a story of a gloriously handsome young king trapped in a world of dreams, of majestic mountains and hidden green valleys, of glistening baroque churches as pastel and white and rich-looking as ice cream sundaes, and of farms so immaculate they look as though the fields are vacuumed and dusted every morning.

Most of all, however, it is a story of people who remember to be grateful.

It is the story of Oberammergau, a small southern Bavaria village of woodcarvers and craftspeople, its houses sporting brightly painted Bible stories on their exterior walls, its lifestyle little changed over the centuries.

That is until the year ends in zero, when hundreds of thousands of tourists arrive.

In 2010, the Oberammergau Passion Play—complete with a cast, orchestra, choir and behind-the-scenes participants totaling 2,000—will present for the 41st time the story of the last week of Jesus’ life, his death and his resurrection. Some 4,700 people will attend each performance of this megaspectacle, which will run from mid-May to early October, come rain or shine, on the open-air stage at Oberammergau’s state-of-the-art Passion Play Theatre. The play is one of Germany’s most important tourist events.

An Act of Gratitude

Oberammergau has presented its Passion Play since 1634, when the Thirty Years War was raging, famine was rampant, and countless people were dying of the plague.

In fact, death had become so common that the villagers began to fear that no one would survive. They made a promise to God that they would perform the “play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” every 10 years if they were spared extinction.

They put on the play, the plague disappeared, and the villagers have kept their promise for almost four centuries, viewing the production as an act of gratitude for the lives (in many cases of their ancestors) that were saved centuries ago. Today, local residents still form more than half of the play’s vast cast.

Over time word spread, tourists arrived, and they kept on coming, except for interruptions caused by war. Tickets are already on sale for the 2010 Oberammergau Passion Play (see below).

Attending the Passion Play is a moving and dramatic way to see Oberammergau and its environs. Another option, however, is to visit during the years when the play is not being performed. Then, you can enjoy the rich pleasures of southern Bavaria when life is normal, when an evening involves nothing more dramatic than sipping some Augustiner with the locals in an outdoor beer garden.

And so on…..

Sunday, May 11, 2008

David Irving, Holocaust Denial and Christian Dogma

25 December, 2006
Holocaust Denial is as much a defense of Christianity as an attack on the Jews. In his recently published interview (Jerusalem Post, 12/23/06) David Irving issued the following challenge: "They (the Jews) should ask themselves the question, 'Why have they been so hated for 3,000 years that there has been pogrom after pogrom in country after country?' and it's the one question they seem to be very shy of." Irving’s challenge defines both his failure as “historian,” and his underlying purpose as Holocaust Denier.

Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome monotheistic Judaism may have seemed strange to surrounding pagan states, but Judaism was also admired and respected, even attracting converts from among the emperor’s own household. It was, in fact, this attractiveness and respect that made it possible for Judaism’s rejecting daughter, the messianic movement which took the name, Christianity, to grow and eventually fuse with the Roman Empire. But “hated,” Mr. Irving? The historical fact is that state-sponsored and systematic persecution of Jewry only began with the fusion of Christianity with the Roman state in the 4th Century, with the advent of Political Christianity.

'Why have they been so hated for 3,000 years that there has been pogrom after pogrom in country after country?’ Even his framing of the question gives away Irving’s purpose. The answer, of course is, because they have not been “hated” for 3,000 years. Jews have been demonized and persecuted qua Jews only since the appearance of Political Christianity. The “country after country,” and “pogrom after pogrom” referred to took place and continues almost exclusively in the Christian West. That Irving prefers a persecution time span of 3,000 years rather than the 2,000 years of Christian history defines both his identity and project: For Irving, in addition to his defensiveness and fear of The Jews, Holocaust Denial is at least as much an effort to defend Christianity from blame as persecutor as it is to transfer that blame to the persecuted for bringing about their own persecution. The answer to whether or not the Church under Pius XII actively or passively participated in the murder of the six million is still locked away in the closed files of the Vatican. What is not in doubt is that Christian dogma, tradition and history are the bedrock, the necessary pre-requisite and motive for Shoah. And this is the source of the post-Holocaust Christian guilt feeding Irving’s Holocaust Denial: Christendom continues unwilling to come to terms with its hate-filled dogma regarding Judaism; cannot, even in Nostre Aetate, find the will to reform itself.

Christianity faces a very basic problem because as it purports to promote, peace acceptance, and forgiveness, regards itself the religion of “brotherly love,” it also persecutes its “heretics,” promotes hatred against the Jews on such a scale as to inspire murder at the hands of Crusade, Inquisition and Holocaust. For the believing Christian, for the religion itself, this poses an irreconcilable emotional and logical problem. And if Christians cannot allow that their religion is both ideological cause and active promoter of that hatred, then denial is the only way available to square the circle.

According to this reading Irving and his ilk need not, strictly speaking, be “antisemites” just because they are Holocaust Deniers. Consciously or not they may just be defending their faith, heroically attempting to insulate Christianity and its basal teachings from its own dark and contradictory history. After all, proto-holocaust denial has been around as long as Christianity itself. The evolving justification for the triumphal charge of Jewish inferiority goes back to before Augustine of Hippo justified their persecution as punishment inspired by God, back to the gospels which themselves blame the Jews not only for deicide, the murder of their god, but for having those so accused as accepting blame not only for themselves, but for all generations to follow. One need look no further than the murder of God to justify any act of brutality by the believer. Even genocide.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Antisemitism, the dark heart of Christianity

25 January, 2008

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are both instances of xenophobia. In a way that's consoling to us Jews who prefer to consider ourselves hated because we are viewed as Other, something possibly overcome by educating the majority population, by ourselves demonstrating by behavior that we are as loyal to our country of residence as our non-Jewish neighbor. More so! A consoling thought, but unfortunately does not conform to our unique history of dispersion among Christendom. Without going into describing 1700 years of persecution, torture, murder and expulsion which was a constant of our life in dispersion, our most recent brush with our host's Jewish Problem presents an excellent example of the tragedy of mere xenophobia to describe Shoah. Jews lived in and had colonies in Germany for more than 2000 years (how far back can the forerunners of modern non-Jewish Germany trace their forebears?). In pre-Hitler Germany we were leaders in politics, culture and commerce, intermarried at a rate only now approached in the US. In no country before or since were our people more loyal or assimilated. When we seek a reason for the aberration Hitler serves both as explanation and reassurance. After all, pre-Hitler Germany was among the most civilized and cultured in Christendom. turning on a minority constituting less than 1% of the total population; then expanding its machinery of death to include all Jews in Europe and, if successful, worldwide? The sheer magnitude, the insanity of the project bangs at the door of insanity-, of mystery-as-explanation.

But how explain the residents of Jewabne, Poland forcing their Jewish neighbors and friends into barn and then setting it ablaze? And the Ukrainians who rescued their Jewish neighbors from the SS only to club them to death before, what was described as the disgusted eyes of the Germans, were they Nazis, also under the sway of that half-crazed German leader? Or the French police who rounded up the Jews of Paris for deportation to Auschwitz Nazis also? Was all Europe Nazi, under the evil influence of the madman from Germany? Were we the victims of world-wide xenophobia?

I think not. Simple explanations are consoling. They are also dangerous, and in the case of the Jewish people, fatal. We are singled out not because we are “strangers”, for how long does it take to be considered native, 200 years, or 2000? In the case of the Jews xenophobia is at best a partial explanation, a background as explanation and justification.

The real cause of anti-Jewish animus lies at the very heart of Christian dogma and belief. Condemned by the gospels as the deicide people, blamed for the death of the Christian god, condemned for the crime for all generations it should be no mystery that anti-Judaism, and its secular daughter antisemitism are a permanent part of Christendom, and of Jewish experience in the Christian Diaspora.