Thursday, June 18, 2009

Victimhood revisited

In following the media coverage of the recent shooting at the Holocaust Museum, there has been a lot of focus on the psychology of the shooter and of white supremacist groups in general, but there has been no exploration (at least that I've seen) of the psychology of the Jewish response. The insistence on Jewish victimhood at the expense of other hate crime victims, the fear of a rise in anti-Semitism (despite polls that show otherwise), etc... that proliferated in op-eds and articles written by Jewish authors, in the Washington Post and other publications, presented a response that I found to be particularly narrow and frustrating. I wrote a Letter to the Editor (see below) that pretty much sums up my thoughts:

"From Professor Jonathan Sarna wondering if this latest attack signals an “open season on Jews” to Rabbi David Saperstein insisting on “the quintessential victimhood” of Jews in the Western world, this rhetoric of victimization only serves to breed fear and heighten tension. To pay mere lip service to other violent acts of discrimination recently suffered by other minority groups in the US, as both these men did, while emphasizing the anti-Semitic incidents is to deny the universality of racist and xenophobic hatred that James von Brunn, and others, embodies. The deadly attack at the Holocaust Museum serves as yet another reminder that there are those who wish to wreak havoc on our society, but in order to confront this threat, we must acknowledge this and fight against the danger that these views pose for all Americans, not just Jewish Americans. "

No comments: