I'm no Glenn Beck fan. Like most people who have a perpetual microphone in our cable news universe, he doesn't let a little thing like solid scholarship or sound reasoning get in the way of his agendas. Though when I watch scholars interviewed for outlets like the History Channel, I can't say there's much room to pick at Beck, or Olbermann, or others who make a mockery of historical research. Still, it's bothersome that a generation of such self-proclaimed enlightened intellectually sophisticated consumers care so little about what's actually true when it comes to advancing agendas.
With that said, my stomach almost fell out my butt when I read this story, that 400 rabbis are doing nothing less than demanding censorship of Glenn Beck. Why? Because he keeps invoking the Holocaust in ways they don't like, and attacks George Soros, who happens to be a Holocaust survivor.
Now quick, what's wrong with this picture? Well, first, so what if he uses the Holocaust? How are we supposed to remember it and learn from it if we don't use it an apply it? And where were they for all those years that Republicans and Conservatives have been called Nazis, that everything America ever did was compared to the Holocaust, that our treatment of minorities has been repeatedly compared to the Nazi treatment of Jews, and every time someone over the decades has advanced a liberal agenda by comparing their opponents to Nazis? Or when some rabbis actually insisted that the traditional Christian Gospel was inherently anti-Semitic? I know a few exceptionally egregious times some rabbis spoke out. But I can't remember any calling for censorship.
Second thing that bothers me is the idea that since Soros is a Holocaust survivor, he is somehow immune. I could care less if he is a Holocaust survivor. A man who spends billions on advertisements doing the very thing that the rabbis are suddenly concerned about deserves the criticism he gets. If a holocaust survivor axe murders children, is he immune? Come on. That's about as cheap and cowardly as you get.
Third, I'm growing tired of being told that "Hitler and the Nazis were evil and killed 6 million Jews" as if that is all that can be said, studied, or read about. Any and every other grotesque inhumanity of history is debated, denied, argued about, and discussed - providing they haven't just been forgotten about. While there was something particularly sinister about the Nazis using everything that science, technology, industry, and the latest political and scientific theories about humanity to such horrible ends, it wasn't the only horrible thing of the last century. Or any century for that matter. Learning from the Holocaust means learning from, and doing so to avoid future holocausts, not simply bemoaning the past for the sake of bemoaning the past. Certainly not for the sake of advancing political or social agendas.
Fourth, sorry, but growing tired of Jews in the name of the Holocaust turning to good old fashioned intimidation, bigotry, censorship, and a host of other things that were the stuff of what led to the holocaust. When Mel Gibson produced his film The Passion, I was gobsmacked at how many Jewish commentators called for it to be banned. Banned? Would we like to have some book burnings, too? Again, remembering the Holocaust means learning from it to prevent it from happening again - to anyone. Not just Jews. And certainly not happening to anyone because of Jews willing to exploit the holocaust for their own agendas.
So shame on these rabbis. They can complain about Beck all they want. That is their right. But censorship? Come on. That suggests despite a lifetime of obsessing over the Holocaust, these rabbis have apparenlty learned nothing from it. And that would be a shame on this Holocaust Remembrance Day.