Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cherwell 24 [Oxford student newspaper] gets it wrong

As I observed in the previous post, Joshua Freedman, in his article in the Oxford student newspaper, Cherwell 24 gets a basic aspect of my views on the Holocaust completely wrong.

He writes:
"Lipstadt... plac[es] the Holocaust above other suffering in the world. With masses in need and dying in Darfur and the Middle East and a splattering of genocides behind us in the last decade, hers is a view that seems hard to hold on to."

Simply put, this is not my view. In fact, in our interview [in which Mr. Freedman seemed more transfixed by my accent -- neglecting to mention his own heavy American accent -- than by the content of my remarks], I used the word "unprecedented" regarding the Holocaust.

Historically it was "unprecendented." An Armenian living in Berlin or Paris was in no danger during the Armenian genocide. A Jew living anywhere on the European continent -- and outside of it [e.g. Rhodes] -- was.

This is not a matter of "comparative pain," which is a useless enterprise. It is a matter of historical analysis. Nor is it a matter of "uniqueness." Arguing about "uniqueness" is an ahistorical enterprise.

Next time Mr. Freedman interviews someone he might be advised to pay better attention to the crux of the issues and not ancillary nonsensical matters.

But I guess that's what comes from being a very young American student at Oxford.

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