Jeffrey Goldberg: Are Jews Who Fear Iran Obsessed With the Holocaust?

Roundup: Talking About History

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, is a Bloomberg View columnist. 

Bringing up the subject of the Holocaust at a dinner party can be a downer. Genocide is an unpleasant and apparently insoluble problem, and, when Jews raise it, they run the risk of seeming parochial, even narcissistic.
Sophisticated, cosmopolitan people don’t want to be thought of as “Holocaust-obsessed,” and applying the lessons of the Holocaust to current events -- particularly those that have to do with the special concerns of Jews, and not Kurds or Tutsis or Tibetans -- is sometimes understood as a form of distasteful special-pleading. “Holocaust-obsessed” is, in fact, a new insult, one meant to sting and to bully into silence.
One person who is undeterred by the accusation is the writer Ron Rosenbaum, who has just published the most important essay I’ve read this year. Rosenbaum, the author of “Explaining Hitler,” writes in Slate that “Holocaust-obsessed,” a term that shows up with disquieting frequency in mainstream discussions of Jews and Israel, is meant to marginalize those who believe that vanquishing genocide is the most urgent issue facing humanity, and that the Holocaust holds specific lessons about the way in which Jews should understand hateful rhetoric directed against them...

comments powered by Disqus