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400 Rabbis Pen Letter to Fox News on Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation

400 Rabbis Pen Letter to Fox News on Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation

Today, as we remember those killed in the Holocaust, we celebrate the lives saved on this date in 1945 when Soviets liberated Auschwitz, the largest Nazi facility. Auschwitz, a combination “concentration, extermination, and forced-labor camp,” held a mere 7,000 people when it was liberated in January of 1945. A conservative estimate is that of 1.3 million people imprisoned at Auschwitz, 1.1 million of them were killed. Prior to the liberation of Auschwitz, the SS forced over 60,000 prisoners to march westward from the camp. Over 15,000 people died during these death marches.

With a plethora of photos and first-hand accounts, it’s almost impossible to ever forget what has happened. And yet, words like ‘Nazi’ and comparisons to Hitler still linger in the media today. This morning, a letter to Rupert Murdoch was published in The Wall Street Journal condemning comments made by Glenn Beck and Roger Ailes. The authors? Over 400 rabbis from the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements from across the United States.

Glenn Beck is under fire for his recent three-day series defaming Holocaust survivor George Sorros. Beck claimed that Sorros “used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property and then ship them off.  And George Soros was part of it.  He would help confiscate the stuff.  It was frightening.  Here’s a Jewish boy helping send Jews to the death camps.” The backlash after Beck’s abhorrent comments led Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, to call critics “left-wing rabbis who basically don’t think that anybody can ever use the word ‘Holocaust’ on the air.”

The Rabbis’ letter states the following:

“In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed. But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only ‘left-wing rabbis’ who think so.

We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News. It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps. It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency ‘Nazis.’ And it is not appropriate to make literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people with whom you disagree.
 
It is because this issue has a profound impact on each of us, our families and our communities that we are calling on Fox News to meet the standard it has set for itself: ‘to exercise the ultimate sensitivity when referencing the Holocaust.’
 
We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and Roger Ailes apologize for his dismissive remarks about rabbis’ sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air.”

Will this work? I don’t know. I don’t expect Glenn Beck to be sanctioned, nor do I see Roger Ailes apologizing for his harsh words against the Jewish community. I would love to be proven wrong. But for me, this letter, published the day we remember the liberation of Auschwitz, means more than any apology. 
It is an example of the unity and strength of the Jewish community, a community that will not back down, despite the adversity we have faced in the past.

Related Stories: 

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“Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews During World War II” Now on Exhibit in NYC

 

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Photo thanks to Lars K. Jensen

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87 comments

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9:25AM PDT on May 4, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:19AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

The issue should be addressed or we keep going down the same path of destroying our fellow human being.

2:37PM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:09AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Wendi M,
MILLIONS!!!!! It is the number one news channel! Check it out.

6:08AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

That is, a 14-year old!

6:07AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Soros has come a long way since he was a poor 24-year old boy!!

2:14AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Glenn Beck is a paranoid schizophrenic and needs help. He should be institutionalized, not publicly speaking.

10:46PM PST on Jan 30, 2011

You mean people are actually watching FAUX NEWS????

4:34AM PST on Jan 30, 2011

I remember seeing that interview with Soros. Funny how people hear and twist things to fit their own purposes. Any unprejudiced viewer would have come away understanding that as a 14 year old boy he had no choice in the matter, and as such he felt no complicity. He could have chosen - as I'm sure a 14 year old Beck would have - to turn himself in. Or he could have survivors guilt, which some do. Or he could just be grateful to have survived. How each of us would respond we simply cannot know until we are faced with such a situation. I would hazard to guess, most people would hide, in plain sight, if necessary. I don't think any of us can possibly begin to imagine the terror of those times, if we did not live through them. To cast oneself as God-like judge in such a circumstance, not only within one's own heart, but to spread such twisted assumptions and poison the hearts and minds of others (willing to drink in the poison) and then to claim to be so moved by ones faith in Christ goes far beyond hypocrisy. Sadly, Beck can weep over his politics and nationalism, but not over the plight of a 14 year old boy because he grew to be a man whose political views don't concur with his own. So rather, he gives himself permission to demonize that same boy. Something is profoundly wrong with this picture.

3:50AM PST on Jan 30, 2011

thanks for this post

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