Modern Sikrikim exploit children in very awful way
JERUSALEM (AP) — Images of ultra-Orthodox Jews dressing up as Nazi concentration camp inmates during a protest drew widespread condemnation Sunday and added a new twist to a simmering battle over growing extremism inside Israel's insular ultra-Orthodox community.Uh oh, is the AP taking advantage of this whole mess for brewing their own incitement by suggesting there's a religious war in the works? In a manner of speaking, there is, thanks to the Sikrikim, but beyond that, it sounds like the AP is rather hoping there will be one - literally - between religious/secular. I'd rather there not be, and I'm sure plenty of other folks here would rather avoid such a thing too. The claim that Hasidics are "insular" could be a bad bias too.
Religious extremists are facing increasing criticism for their efforts to separate men and women in public spaces, and Saturday's protest, in which a child mimicked an iconic photo of a terrified Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, added to the outrage.
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli policemen Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word "Jude" — German for Jew — dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.
Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial denounced the use of Nazi imagery as "disgraceful," and several other survivors' groups and politicians condemned the acts.
"We must leave the Holocaust and its symbols outside the arguments in Israeli society," said Moshe Zanbar, chairman of the main umbrella group for Holocaust survivors in Israel. "This harms the memory of the Holocaust." [...]
It's not the first time ultra-Orthodox zealots have referred to the Holocaust in their political struggles. But the sight of children dressed in garb that conjures up images of the darkest period in Jewish history was unprecedented. It sparked angry rebuttals that only exacerbated Israel's brewing religious war.
The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, an umbrella organization of U.S. survivors, expressed its "utter contempt at this disgraceful exploitation" of the Nazi symbols.And to use concentration camp imagery for this protest is as offensive as can be to the victims of the nazis during WW2, and has no place in this kind of an affair.
"We who survived and witnessed these Nazi crimes are particularly offended that demonstrators so blithely used children in this public outrage. They have insulted the memory of all the Jewish victims, including those who were ultra-Orthodox," the organization's vice president, Elan Steinberg, said in a statement.
"The Nazis made no distinction in their murderous treatment of our people — whether one was ultra-Orthodox, traditional, or nonbeliever, you were marked for cruelty and death."
Update: here's a Jerusalem Post article that's almost better, but not enough:
Condemnation of the use of Holocaust imagery by ultra-Orthodox protesters on Saturday night came in thick and fast on Sunday from politicians and Holocaust educational institutes.Just what the world needs: that they attack the very belief that's supposed to unite us all.
At a demonstration in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Geula protesting perceived incitement against the ultra-Orthodox community, children were paraded around wearing mock, black-and-white striped concentration camp clothing, adorned with orange and yellow Stars of David on their chests bearing the word “Jude.”
Dozens of other men also wore the stars on their jackets.
One young child was photographed re-enacting a wellknown scene from the Warsaw Ghetto in which a frightened boy stands with his hands raised in surrender.
The ultra-Orthodox world has come under heavy criticism of late over a series of incidents involving what has been termed the exclusion of women from the public domain, as well as extremist agitation against a national-religious girls school in Beit Shemesh.
Minister-without-Portfolio and Holocaust survivor Yossi Peled denounced the demonstrators as “crazy and immoral.”
“What we have here is a lack of inner balance and shame in which anything goes,” said Peled in a statement released by his office. “This insults me personally as a Jew along with hundreds of thousands of others.”
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Weisenthal Center in Israel, called the protest “an obvious abuse of the memory of the Holocaust, insulting to all Jews and Holocaust survivors.”
Zuroff also rejected the idea that the ultra-Orthodox community, due to lack of education, is less aware of the sensitivity of Israeli society to the abuse of Holocaust imagery.
“They want to lash out against the last holy cow of Israeli society, so by using the Shoah in this manner they are spitting in the face of the Israeli public,” Zuroff said.
An official from the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit communal association, which organized the demonstration, defended the behavior of the protesters on Sunday and said that the group had “no regret at all” for the use of Holocaust imagery.
“During the Shoah they tried to eliminate us physically and now the Zionists and the media are trying to eliminate us spiritually,” the official told haredi news website Kikar Shabbat. “This is why we wanted to express the real pain that we are experiencing.”
In his comments to The Jerusalem Post, Zuroff added that the use of the Holocaust as a political statement in Israel is not without precedent, citing similar protests during the disengagement from Gaza in 2005 by national-religious settlers and activists.I'll have to admit that there may be a point there too, though what Ariel Sharon conducted at the time was basically what we call Judenrein, and was simply abominable.