Never forget

Methodist Church implies that only European Jews suffered in Holocaust

by Joseph W

In a new Methodist Church document on Israel and Palestine, we read about the Secretary for Interfaith relations Elizabeth Harris’ visit to Yad Vashem:

Anti-Semitism in Europe, culminating in the Holocaust, is another factor that cannot be overlooked if Christians are to understand Jewish perspectives on the land of Israel. ‘Israel is the only real answer to the Holocaust’ is the message given at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Centre in west Jerusalem. Its location (on Mount Herzl, a hill which is home both to the tomb of the founding father of the Zionist Movement and the central military cemetery for members of the Israeli Defence Force) and its symbolic layout undergirds this message. A pilgrimage through the exhibition rooms of the Centre, which bring home both the horror of the Holocaust and the vigour of Jewish resistance, brings you out in the open air, overlooking the beauty of Jerusalem. This perspective is transmitted to young Israelis through visits to Yad Vashem organised by schools and other groups. When I visited the Centre with a group from Britain, I noticed that many visitors were not of European Jewish descent. As Michael Ipgrave, then Secretary of the Churches’ Commission for Inter Faith Relations, wrote in his report of the visit: ‘The Holocaust has come to serve as a national story embracing also Oriental Jews for whom this was not part of their family history.’ Peace groups in Israel have to work against this backdrop.

This is staggering.

The Methodist Church is implying that only Jews of “European” descent suffered in the Holocaust. These “Western Jews” have conned “Oriental Jews” into imagining that they too might be victims of the Shoah, all for the cause of Zionism.

Peace groups, then, have to work against Zionist myths about “Oriental” Jewish suffering.

If you have read about the treatment of “Oriental Jews” in the Balkans and North Africa, you will realise that what Harris says here is untrue.

So then, what motivated the Methodist Church to publish this?

[Hat-tip: Elder of Ziyon]