4/22/07

Holocaust Blame Game Redux

Zionism, Reform, bad fish. Anything but the maniac Hitler and the evil nazis.
Rabbi Draws Criminal Complaint For Blaming Reform Jews For Holocaust
By AMY TEIBEL
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Members of the Reform Jewish movement filed a complaint with police Wednesday against a former Israeli chief rabbi who blamed the liberal Jewish movement for the Holocaust.

The complaint accused Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of defamation after he told an ultra-Orthodox radio station last week that the Holocaust was punishment for Reform Judaism's liberalization of the religion. Israeli media reported his remarks on Wednesday. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that an official complaint was lodged and said police would look into it.

Asked by a radio interviewer what was the sin of the 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis, Eliyahu quoted a biblical verse about divine punishment for altering a ritual and added, "Those people (victims) were not to blame, but the Reform movement began in Germany. Those tinkerers with the faith got their start in Germany."

Divine wrath, Eliyahu added, "doesn't distinguish between the virtuous and the evil." The lesson, he said, was not to make "even the slightest change" to Jewish practice.

The comments sparked the criminal complaint by a group of Reform Jews, including some Holocaust survivors, according to Gilad Kariv, an Israeli Reform rabbi. One of the complainants, Avraham Melamed, is chairman of the Israeli Reform movement and sits on the board of Yad Vashem, the country's Holocaust memorial authority.

By blaming Reform Jews for the Holocaust, Kariv said, Eliyahu was playing into the hands of anti-Semites who say Jews were responsible for what befell them.

Eliyahu, 77, who served as chief rabbi for Israel's Middle Eastern Jews from 1983-1993, did not respond to requests for comment faxed to his office.

In 2005, Eliyahu raised a similar stir when he blamed nations "that don't help Israel, but want to ... interfere in our affairs and harm us," for causing the devastating 2004 tsunami that killed nearly 230,000 people in Asia and Africa.

2 comments:

Bryce said...

I'm not going to defend what Rav Eliyahu said (partially since I rarely trust the accuracy of the A.P.), but I would like to know why they -- the media -- insist on stirring the pot with phrases like these:

"By blaming Reform Jews for the Holocaust..."

"who blamed the liberal Jewish movement for the Holocaust."

The media's insinuation is that anyone who considers themselves Reform today (heck, even liberal) is part of that blame. Meanwhile, Rav Eliyahu explicitly said that the victims of the Holocaust were not to blame, implying that the current Reform Jews surely aren't.

Any sinas chinam generated by Rav Eliyahu's statement is compounded by the way the media handles it.

andy said...

I wouldn't endorse his comments either, but where's the crime?