On Elie Wiesel, Idolatry, and the State

Elie Wiesel died. I’m sad about it. I liked certain things about Wiesel, and I disliked other things. I see the word going around now that some guy named Max Blumenthal who is the son of some of other Clinton-sniffer named Sidney Blumenthal, who are both Jewish…Max does not like Elie Wiesel and tweeted that at the end of his life he supported those who commit war crimes. He’s referring to Jewish “ethnic cleansing” and “settlers” and whatnot, and all the other trifling nonsense that equates homesteading vacant land with “war crimes”. But nevermind that. That’s nonsense, but I still appreciate Max for cutting through the worship of supposedly infallible people.

Now, I’m no fan of Max Blumenthal or virtually anyone who has any dealings with the sleazy Clintons. From the little I read about him he’s your average shallow thinking stereotypical left winger. But I still consider his comments heroic because deifying any person to the point where he can do no wrong and anything he says is right, is very dangerous and the essence of Avoda Zara, or idol worship.

I read some of Wiesel’s books when I was a kid. I definitely remember reading Night. He was a good writer and his works will live on. But unlike most Jews who base their Jewish identity on the Holocaust, I don’t consider him a role model at all. Wiesel was knee deep in the State infrastructure, and served as part of its intellectual guard, most notably justifying the various wars of the US government against the world, including the invasion of Iraq, which is now ISIS and the next excuse to invade the next country in the “war on terror”. He took pictures with president this and that, visited with a whole bunch of state leaders all the time, and generally approved of what they do as long as they were Western.

Wiesel was a good writer and a good speaker who did not understand that the source of the holocaust was not anti Semitism. Anti Semitism was only the excuse. The cause was the institution of the State which keeps a monopoly on violence.

The danger of deifying a person is that all of his positions come in packages. To criticize is illegitimate. To say he was wrong about some things takes you out of the realm of discussion. Max Blumenthal may be an idiot, but at least he has the courage to criticize a person that everybody else refuses to touch.

Lots of people say things like “Let’s not speak ill of the dead.” I don’t hold by that. When everyone is saying the same thing nobody is thinking. The truth is, there were good things about Wiesel and bad things about Wiesel. He did, in a sense, support the war crimes that he was a victim of. Not because he supported the “ethnic cleansing” of East Jerusalem which basically means supporting Jewish purchase of Arab property, which is absolutely legitimate, but he did support unjust wars against innocent people. Are the atrocities in Iraq on the same quantitative level as the holocaust? No. But add in Vietnam and the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Korean War and Granada and the Philippines and every other place that the US government has invaded in the last century and a half or so, the numbers get pretty close.

It is especially important to criticize when everyone else is praising, just to help people remember that nobody should emulate anybody entirely. If you are an aspiring writer, you can learn from Wiesel. If you want to learn how to deal with tragedy and loss, his life is an example.

If you want to learn how to stop the next holocaust, Wiesel is not your man. He had good and bad, and to a degree, Max is right, but for mostly the wrong reasons.

May the good parts of his life be for a blessing, and his mistakes pointed out so they will not be repeated.



A New Jewish Look at US Skinheads and Neo Nazis – Are they reasonable people?

No, I am not a fan of Skinheads, Aryan Nation people, Neo Nazis etc. Let’s just get that out of the way. However, I did come across this 1988 clip of the Gerald Rivera brawl. If you listen to what the Aryan guys are saying, it’s actually quite reasonable. No, not when they use slurs and generally act like hateful idiots, but some of the points are reasonable.

Americans, and especially American Jews, have been conditioned and trained to demonize and totally deligitimize anyone who calls themselves Aryan. Anything they say is automatically foaming-at-the-mouth nonsense. But listen to what the guy is saying and how Gerald responds to it.

The first Aryan dodges a question about whether he endorses the murder of innocent people. The fact that he couldn’t answer the question is of course disturbing, but politicians do the same thing all the time. However, he sort of answers it by saying that blacks are not part of the Aryan agenda, whatever that agenda is, so they shouldn’t be worried. The Nazi’s name, Metzger, is ironically the same as the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, by the way.

Second, when challenged about the Holocaust, one of the other Aryan guys goes on about Stalin and the Ukraine, where Jews were also murdered. He quotes the number 30 million, not sure if it was that much, but he didn’t even mention Mao who clocks in at 45 to 55 million, and that’s not even counting the years outside ’58-’62, which would be ’48-’57 and ’63-’76.  When asked if the Holocaust happened, the Aryan asks, “Does it matter?”

Then Gerald pins him as a Holocaust denier and the whole thing descends into a brawl.

To wit, the guy responded, “I didn’t say it didn’t happen, I said it doesn’t matter,” and keeps reiterating that Stalin killed more and that nobody seems to care, or even acknowledge the point at all. Is that equally holocaust denial? Yes, it is.

I can’t call these Skinheads jolly people or anything like that. They are not nice people, that’s for sure. But neither is Gerald, Geraldo, or whatever he calls himself. I’m fairly certain that in a room with libertarians, there would be a levelheaded discussion with these Nazis instead of some dumb sensationalist fight erupting. I would agree that Hitler’s Holocaust is irrelevant to him as a non Jew, but very relevant to me as a Jew, and that Stalin’s Holocaust should be more relevant to him as a non Jew because it was directed against humans as economic beings, which is everyone. He would probably agree with that. We could go home, not necessarily liking each other, but at least understanding each other and agreeing to keep our distance.

I’m waiting for the comments calling me a Nazi sympathizer now, just because I don’t completely discount every single word coming out of their mouths. “If you listen to even a single word they say you’re guilty of committing genocide against your own people!” someone will undoubtedly say.

They are simply tired of Hitlerian Holocaust education to the detriment of Stalinist (and Maoist) Holocaust education. And if I were a non Jew, I’d probably be frustrated with that as well. Even as a Jew it annoys me.