Identity Politics in the Age of Genocide,
by David B. MacDonald
Reviewed by Jan Peczkis
The author exhibits more frankness than do most other authors. I elaborate on some of his strong but true statements.
COURAGEOUSLY STATING THE OBVIOUS: THE HOLOCAUST IS PRIVILEGED OVER ALL OTHER GENOCIDES
MacDonald gives away the store as he writes, “Yet, the Holocaust is unique for many reasons, and will continue to occupy a privileged place in genocide studies, and in Western consciousness more generally.” (p. 3). Yes, and that is exactly what Holocaust supremacism is all about. So much for the myth that all genocides get a fair hearing.
SAYING THAT THE HOLOCAUST IS SPECIAL DOES NOT MAKE IT SO
Nowadays, the Holocaust is promoted as unprecedented rather than as unique. But no matter: The idea is the same. The author adds that, “Some posit that the Holocaust is intrinsically unique; others that it has been made unique by Holocaust historians, and other interpreters. Some see all events as unique in some way.” (p. 35. Italics in original.)
MONOPOLIZING THE VERY TERM HOLOCAUST
Author MacDonald acknowledges that, “I am fully aware of the debates about whether the mentally and hereditarily ill, Roma, Slavs, Communists, and others should be included as part of the Holocaust. (pp. 9-10). [Since nowadays the term Holocaust refers exclusively to Jews, and excludes all others, I use the term Polokaust for the Poles’ genocide at the hands of the Germans, as a protest.]
MacDonald continues, “Simon Wiesenthal used to talk about a Holocaust of eleven million victims, including some five million non-Jews…Yet after being challenged on his figures by historians, Wiesenthal eventually concluded that he invented the number. This arbitrary figure, he felt, recognized non-Jews, while still highlighting the numerical superiority of Jewish victims. The total number of Nazi victims is closer to fifty million in Europe, including the horrific death tolls in the Soviet Union.” (p. 10. Emphasis added). Note that only a fraction of the victims of the Nazis were Jews, but Jews is all we ever hear about.
VICTIMHOOD COMPETITION IS REALITY: THE JEWS CREATED IT
David MacDonald quips, “Identity politics has always involved competition for recognition.” (p. 30).
The author realizes that, “Some fear that aggressive Armenian lobbying might reduce the significance of the Holocaust in America and elsewhere.” (p. 128). Of course, there is no concern for the fact that Holocaust dominance has long been reducing the significance of non-Jewish genocides!
JEWISH INFLUENCE IS THE KEY TO MAINTAINING THE HOLOCAUST ABOVE ALL OTHER GENOCIDES
By way of introduction, MacDonald comments, “A dynamic and confident minority, Jews were at the forefront of popular culture–in literature, the media, and movie industries.” (p. 22). They certainly were and are.
The author toys with the idea that the Armenian genocide could perhaps become equal to the Holocaust in American life, and then arrives at a decidedly negative conclusion. This is for the following reason: “Finally, I argue that despite all of the similarities between the two genocides, the full ‘Americanization’ of the tragedy is most likely impossible. This has little to do with Dadrian’s scholarship or that of his colleagues. It has rather more to do with the special role that Jews and Israel have in American life, which (perhaps maddeningly for Dadrian) means that while the Armenian genocide may be recognized and commemorated in America, it will never have the same social resonance, nor make the same contribution to national memory, as the Holocaust.” (p. 128).
Neither, unfortunately, will any other non-Jewish genocide.
MacDonald makes these revealing comments, “Another aspect of uniqueness concerns the compensation given to victims and their families. Goldstone notes the ‘very substantial political and material acknowledgement which victims of the Holocaust have received.’ This adds to our appreciation of Holocaust uniqueness, as ‘victims of no other genocide have received this kind of acknowledgement. Neither have the Romani or the other non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.’” (p. 54. Emphasis added). [This Goldstone quote is found in: IS THE HOLOCAUST UNIQUE, 3rd edition, by Alan S. Rosenbaum (ed.), p. 47]
In other words, the Holocaust is supreme because it has successfully been peddled off as supreme, and this notion has successfully been employed to acquire financial compensation. Might makes right. Follow the money. Jews are singularly worthy of compensation for genocide, while victims of non-Jewish genocides are not.
This is whose idea of justice?
OF COURSE GERMANY REPENTED FOR NAZISM. SHE HAD TO!
One common theme in the Holocaust-saturated media is that of Germany a model of contrition that Poland should be shamed for not emulating. This is nonsense. It, first of all, equates the German murder of 6 million Jews with trivial Polish misdeeds (if that) against Jews. It also implies that Germany is now off the hook for its murder of 6 million Jews, merely for saying that “she is sorry”, and now it is time to put the blame on others, notably the Poles.
But who says that Germany was ever sincerely contrite in the first place, much less that this “contrition” is of moral credit to the Germans? MacDonald reminds us that, “Yet the German case is unique. With their leader dead, their armies defeated, and their country occupied and divided, Germany had little choice but to come to terms with its past. There was no way to avoid responsibility for Nazi crimes. Other genocidal nations have been able to evade justice.” (p. 55. Emphasis added).
As if to drive the point home, MacDonald repeats that, “Germany was forced into admitting its crimes. It really had no choice. The country was occupied and split in half, its leaders put on trial.” (p. 142. Emphasis added).