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400+ Scholars Rebuke US Holocaust Museum for 'Fundamentally Ahistorical' Position on 'Concentration Camp' Comparisons

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/02/400-scholars-rebuke-us-holocaust-museum-funadmentally-ahistorical-position

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I have a hell of a lot of respect for those who stand up to truly say “never again.” We already know that denial is not a good idea. And there is a lot that we should stop denying.

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It’s almost as if the Museum’s leadership didn’t want anyone learning from the past if it can’t dominate the narrative.

“The long histroical memory is the most radical idea.”
–Utah Phillipps

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Those scholars are apparently wrong. The mission of the Holocaust Museum appears to be ensuring that Jewish victims must always be the only victims worthy of consideration. There is no other reason for the museum to have addressed the issue.

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Unfortunately citing the delusional Russia-gate pusher, Yale’s Tim Snyder, undermines this important point. He’s not a credible source given the lying he has done about Putin and Russia. Alternet (RawStory now) has published a lot of that garbage. I seem to recall, but can’t cite the title, that he wrote a book effectively excusing Ukrainian Nazis’ crimes during World War Two.

It’s much simpler to point out that the term was first used to describe camps the British set up for Dutch settlers during the Boar war in South Africa. Or that the Nazis set up concentration camps in the 1930s, but didn’t start the mass killings in the camps (largely but not exclusively of Jews) until 1942.

Right, there are other examples of concentration camps: the Japanese internment camps the US built during World War Two the enclosed “villages” the US built in Vietnam during Operation Phoenix, and some the Reservations for American “Indians”.

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One observer suggested at the time that the museum’s decision to distance itself from the condemnation of the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants stemmed not from its beliefs about the Holocaust but from its Trump-appointed chairman, Howard Lorber—a close friend and business associate of the president.

And I am quite sure all the MSM accounts covering the statement from the Holocaust Museum made this perfectly clear to its readers. /snark

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The reason that the museum objects probably has to do with Israel running the concentration zone known as The Gaza Strip.

So some figure in Israel contacted the director of the Museum and the chairman of the board to say “emphatically reject this characterization, because it calls attention not just to Trump’s crimes but similar ones here”. Obviously this communication would have been in person in a private conversation; there’s is no email or letter record of it.

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The reason that the museum objects probably has to do with Israel running the concentration zone known as The Gaza Strip.

So some figure in Israel contacted the director of the Museum and the chairman of the board to say “emphatically reject this characterization, because it calls attention not just to Trump’s crimes but similar ones here”. Obviously this communication would have been in person in a private conversation; there’s is no email or letter record of it. Nor did the meeting occur in public place like a restaurant in DC, so no one can say “we say X-Y-Z” dining together on June 26th."

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I do believe the scholars are correct and it is pointed out in the article that this stance of the Museum stems from the Trump appointed schmuck who is in the same club of psychopaths like Dick and Liz. Others associated with the Museum past and present should reject that statement.

After considering your post further I think we basically agree on all points. We’ll see if those associated with the Museum, aside from the Trump appointed jerk actually make statements in tandem with the scholars’.

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That of course opens a whole new can of worms; if the folks at the museum had any self-respect or honor they would never have said a word, but then, that’s why it exists.

Professors always told me that the value of museums and studying history is to provide a context for us to move forward, with nostalgia being a low priority. Any history class, history media or museum that fails to provide a context for us to move forward needs to be at least discredited and more likely shut down so resources can be deployed for more useful purposes.

There’s a bigger picture, of course, as embattled pro Palestinian campaigners in the UK know. See the outrageous phony claims of anti Semitism launched against Jeremy Corbyn and other members of the Labour Party. Their crime? Calling out Israel for its behaviour. The past can only be used in one way - to justify the actions of Israel and its allies.

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Yes. To accuse one who supports the Palestinians in their struggle to survive of “anti-Semitism” is absurd on its face, because the Palestinians ARE Semites—something which is NOT true of all Jews.

And yet it’s Israel that is doing the “never again” treatment of the Palestinians. The abused have become the abusers. But like with other issues Israel wants to be the only victims because they can get lots of sympathy for what they went through, but cry anti Semiticism if people call them out for the things they do. Take the BDS situation. They say that it’s anti Semitic to do that even though its purpose is to get them to quit treating Palestinians like second class citizens.

This. It’s what I wanted to say. Well stated.