Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Helen Thomas wasn't trying to bring back the Holocaust

V.D. Hanson brings his usual careful insight to Helen Thomas' statement:
By picking Poland and Germany as the ultimate destinations to which she wishes Israelis would go, Thomas was, deliberately or carelessly, saying that they should be uprooted and sent to places where 6 million of them were liquidated. In other words, Thomas was not voicing the usual prejudice, but something much creepier, a sort of flippant pop blueprint for a repeat of 1939–45, echoing the shout from one of the seaborne “peace” protestors, “Go back to Auschwitz!”
Um, no. Not to excuse her statement, but Thomas was saying that the many Jews of European descent could return to their families' countries of origin. It's still a ridiculous and outrageous statement, but hardly one that equates to suggesting a revival of the Holocaust.

In fact, if Hanson would bother to do the tiniest bit of research he would find that so few Jews agree Germany=Auschwitz (or, to be geographically correct, Bergen-Belsen) that Israel has actually tried to get Germany to keep Jews from immigrating there.
The mass migration of Jews from the former Soviet Union to Germany likely will come to a swift end with the introduction of a new law drawn up by Germany’s 16-state governments.

German authorities presented the new restrictions on Jewish immigration to Germany’s two national Jewish organizations last week. As put forth, the restrictions effectively will end the wave of migration that has brought almost 200,000 Jews and their relatives to Germany from the former Soviet Union, causing a Jewish renaissance in the most unlikely of places.

The law drew praise from Israeli authorities, who have long been uncomfortable with Jewish immigration to Germany, especially since it began topping immigration to Israel in the last few years. Michael Jankelowitz, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency for Israel, a quasi-government agency responsible for immigration to Israel, said the changes were “positive.” Jankelowitz said that his organization aggressively had lobbied the German government for the new law.

But the new restrictions provoked concern in German and Russian circles. “This means the death of our immigration,” said Larissa Sysoeva, European director of the World Congress of Russian-speaking Jews.

The law has created confusion among German Jewish communal leaders, who were informed of the changes only on December 13 and soon will be responsible for administering parts of the new law. In particular, communal officials are scrambling to understand the consequences of a clause requiring that all new Jewish immigrants to Germany be certified as Jewish by one of the country’s two national Jewish organizations.
In other words, Israel--not Helen Thomas--fought for a law that limits the mobility of Jews and requires them to be "certified as Jewish" for the purposes of the German government. Take from that what you may.

(h/t Juan Cole)


Blogger Jim Bales said...

Terry writes:
In other words, Israel--not Helen Thomas--fought for a law that limits the mobility of Jews and requires them to be "certified as Jewish" for the purposes of the German government. Take from that what you may.

I'm simply gobsmacked.


PS -- Terry, so I stop following for a bit and you step up to the plate and knock Mr. Kirk far into right field! Well done!

8:47 AM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

Thank you, Jim.

You're still welcome to jump in here if you'd like.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Jim Bales said...

Thank you for the offer -- if I feel I have something to say, I will!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

I was surprised to learn that the kerfuffle is centered on remarks that had to be "made public." Were I Helen, I'd have assumed that they were private. The youtube video even makes the worst part of what she said seem coerced, i.e., she seemed to feel put on the spot.

What she said reminds me of what al-Saud said to Truman, regarding the creation of Israel: "Why not set it up in Germany, if you're looking to right wrongs that Germany committed?"

11:46 PM  
Blogger SanMigMike said...

I thought for the most part the leadership of Israel were European Jews, Ashkenazic Jews. Depressing that some people seem to think that to be good Americans we have to put Israel first rather than America first and that any word against Israel somehow means you are anti-Semitic.

Funny to me how being an ally of Israel means they are comfortable attacking your ships and employing spies against you. Such a friend?

So, why is Israel against immigrants from the old Soviet Union being free to go where THEY want to go?

1:19 PM  

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