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Another Alleged Perpetrator Faces Court. Holocaust uniqueness? Jewish Care Abuse Response. Abuse Hush Money And More

November 15, 2013 – 10:14 am12 Comments

From the editor:

gossip2This is what we believe will be dominating Shabbes dinner table conversation….

. Another accused in the Yeshiva abuse scandal faces court: Aaron Kestetcher has his committal hearing today.

. Jewish Care responds to accusations of abuse against its predecessor organisation in a way many are suggesting should have been the way Yeshivah should have behaved from the beginning.

. Manny Waks posted a link on his and Tzedek’s Facebook wall to an article from a publication that is reviled by many for its sensationalism, racism, and  desperation to be a part of hipster culture. The story detailed horrific and graphic abuse allegations and tarred the entirety of Orthodox Jewry, alleging that there is a, “child rape assembly line.”

. Meanwhile the accusations against Chabad institutions continue to emerge. The latest allegations relate to the possibility that NSW abuse victims may have been given hush money.

. In news unrelated to child rape, the NSW Kashrut imbroglio continues is bizarre and messy course. Rabbi Meir Rabi writes  provides a fascinating update in the comments section of his article posted on October 31.

. Rabbi James Kennard spoke at the Holocaust Centre’s Kristallnacht commemoration about the uniqueness of the Holocaust. Rabbi Kennard dismissed comparisons with Darfur, Cambodia, and Rwanda as a hindrance to learning the lessons of the Holocaust.

I had written, …”and implied that any suggestion that the Shoah was not the worst genocide in history is a form of moral relativism.” Rabbi Kennard has since contacted me, asking me to correct that statement. He did not state that the Holocaust was the “worst” genocide.

Rabbi Kennard has given me permission to publish his communication with me and I thank him for the correction:

Rabbi Kennard writes: “I did not say, or imply, that “any suggestion that the Shoah was not the worst genocide in history is a form of moral relativism.” I never once raised the issue of what was the “worst genocide in history”. I do not know why you claimed that I implied any such thing and would be grateful for a correction.

What I did say, as the JCCV press release, and the AJN article, made clear was that there were six factors which together made the Holocaust unique:

·         The Holocaust was state sponsored and organised

·         It involved not just death on a massive scale, but dehumanisation of the Jewish people through propaganda

·         Modern industrialisation was used to orchestrate the process of death

·         The scale of the Holocaust was not just the numbers who were murdered but the effort to which the German war machine went to hunt down and eliminate Jews throughout their controlled territory

·         The killing was not a means to an end, but the end in itself

·         The Holocaust was not carried out by monsters, but by ordinary people.

I believe that the Holocaust’s uniqueness lay in the combination of those six (and other) factors.

By all means challenge me, and invite your readers to challenge me on what I said, but not on what you incorrectly claim I “implied”.

Shabbat Shalom”

. CSG and the Anti-Defamation commission have joined forces to avoid duplication in responding to anti-Semitc incidents.

. And a reminder:  Mitzvah Day is on Sunday.

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12 Comments »

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I sympathise with Rabbi Kennard’s view, because my experience has been that people who describe the Holocaust as one atrocity among many are typically anti-Semites. None the less, his position isn’t intellectually satisfying: every event is unique if you select your criteria carefully, and there’s room to quibble even if you accept his criteria.

    I have a further problem with asserting that the Holocaust as unique: it closes avenues of investigation. What point is there in comparing (say) the actions German and Hutu civilians if the outcome itself can’t be compared? The claim of uniqueness may even be taken as an assurance that the Holocaust will remain unique. Why study the causes, the environment in which Nazism took root, if it can never happen again?

    Rather than say that the Holocaust was unique I think we should say that it was a monumental collection of atrocities that are unparalleled among modern European history; that it has scarred the lives of tens of millions of survivors and their descendants; that it has demolished our confidence in the strength of our society and civilisation; that it exposed, hopefully forever, the depth of the evils that may come from hatred and discrimination. All these things are significant enough without demanding that they be unique. That’s merely a distraction; we need to focus on the lesson, and not its originality.

  • Manny Waks says:

    It seems there was a shortage of stories this week.

    It is interesting that posting “an article from a publication that is reviled by many” is deemed newsworthy, especially in the context of referring to another publication’s ‘desperation’.

    No doubt Vice Media is controversial. However, in the context of the article that was shared, it is a vital fact that most (if not all) of the allegations put forward in the article were already known. It is also crucial to be aware that the people interviewed and quoted in the article are some of the key US-based advocates in the area of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community.
    The fact that a publication is ‘reviled by many’ does not equate to information contained in a featured article being false/inaccurate.

    I should note that the US-based Jewish Community Watch also posted a link to the same article (http://www.jewishcommunitywatch.org/the-child-rape-assembly-line/). I’m in good company. (But of course they too are reviled by many.)

    Many will continue to shoot the messengers. Thankfully we’ve been up to the challenge.

    I’ll leave it at that.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Manny

    PS The Committal Hearing of Ezzy Kestecher didn’t proceed today; it was adjourned.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    No doubt Vice Media is controversial. However, in the context of the article that was shared, it is a vital fact that most (if not all) of the allegations put forward in the article were already known.

    Manny, I’m surprised to see you defend that article. It simply reeks of anti-Semitism. Take this editorial paragraph, for instance:

    The rabbis, dominating an ignorant and largely poverty-stricken flock, determine the fate of every individual in the community. Nothing is done without the consent of the rabbinical establishment. A man wants to buy a new car—he goes to the rabbi for counsel. A man wants to marry—the rabbi tells him whether or not he should marry a particular bride. As for the women, they don’t get to ask the rabbi anything. Their place is beneath contempt.

  • Sunshine says:

    Can’t call the truth antisemetic

    Although in truth reform rabbis certainly don’t demean women and neither do female rabbis.

    Have been on the receiving end of that kind if demeaning rabbinical behaviour I’d hardly call myself an antisemite

    Manny Waks you go guy!

  • letters in the age says:

    Reviled by many….??? Hmmmm

    Too vague Manny and with the utmost respect to the Galus readers, Vice is very popular with a younger demographic

    It’s edgy and it works.

    The M.S.M is old news and along with this blog and Vice et al new media is the new black and hss been for a while!!
    ;)

  • Alex Fein says:

    Letters, mainstream versus, “alternative” isn’t clearly binary.

    You can be non-mainstream and still be painfully, embarrassingly try-hard.

    You can ape hipster culture (painfully, embarrassingly), and still engage in lazy, poor journalism.

    Vice was once edgy – back in the mid 90’s. It’s now become a parody of itself as it has expanded.

    Type, “parodies of Vice Magazine,” into Google to see the contempt in which so many literate people hold it.

  • Whatever Was says:

    Rabbi Kennard would like to claim uniqueness in the way Jews died in the Holocaust, and if that is how he wishes to celebrate our ‘choseness’ that is his prerogative. However any honest appraisal of the Holocaust will point to the fact that the only difference is the fact that Germany was industrialized.

    If Sudan had access to Zyklon-B, and an empire across North Africa it would have looked equally as bad.
    Which leads us to his major problem. The paradox that is claiming we must always remember the Holocaust in order to learn from it, while claiming it is unique.

    If it is truly unique as you claim then it will never happen again and there is nothing to learn from it. But the reality is that it is merely the worst example of a phenomenon that has repeated itself numerous times. Hence the requirement for education.

    And on to Manny’s claims. It may surprise him to learn that not everything on the internet is true and there are some media organizations that stretch the truth. And while the anecdotes in the article may be true, throwing out numbers like 50% of all children are abused is damaging in the extreme, because it implies that the 50% in the Satmar community of NY is parallel to Habad in Melb.

    If you can provide some proof from a reputable source, I will admit I was mistaken, but throwing around sensational articles does nothing to advance the cause.

  • James Kennard says:

    One of my frustrations with discussion on Galus is how often commentators impute motives, or even quotes, to others. Apparently my thesis as to the uniqueness of the Holocaust is something to do with “celebrating our ‘chosenness'”! What a baseless, and somewhat distasteful, assertion!

    I didn’t mention “chosenness” in my speech, nor in my comments above. This is not a “one-dimensional, unnuanced” version of what I said. It’s fiction.

    Actually, I don’t “celebrate chosenness” at all. And if I did, I would not use the Holocaust for “celebration”.

    If the debate’s going to produce any elucidation or illumination, let’s analyse and discuss what is actually said, rather than just throw around insults.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Rabbi Kennard, my apologies if I seemed to impute any motives to you; I didn’t intend to. For the benefit of those of us who missed your talk, why do you think that viewing that Holocaust as a unique event helps us understand it? My view, as I said above, is that ascribing uniqueness to things creates a barrier to comparative study. Do you mean to say that making comparisons between the Holocaust and “Darfur, Cambodia, and Rwanda” is an obstacle to comprehension?

  • Whatever Was says:

    Rabbi Kennard, I made one hyperbolic statement and then a series of reasoned arguments. Guess which one you picked up on. And you then go and cry about other commenters doing exactly what you have just done.
    Therefore I will repost my comment without the hyperbole and see if we can have that honest debate:

    Any honest appraisal of the Holocaust will point to the fact that the only difference is the fact that Germany was industrialized.

    If Sudan had access to Zyklon-B, and an empire across North Africa it would have looked equally as bad.
    Which leads us to his major problem. The paradox that is claiming we must always remember the Holocaust in order to learn from it, while claiming it is unique.

    If it is truly unique as you claim then it will never happen again and there is nothing to learn from it. But the reality is that it is merely the worst example of a phenomenon that has repeated itself numerous times. Hence the requirement for education.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    If Sudan had wheels it would have been a steam engine.

  • letters in the age says:

    Alex…thanks i know!

    Murdoch purchased it recently which hasresulted in their demise.

    Enough said about that…!!

    I was referring to their Vice t.v. channel and documentaries they have shown recently.

    They are entertaining and on certain subjects, they explored topics our m.s.m wouldn’t even dare to cover at all.

    I was thinking hipster as well which you referred to in your post.

    Point noted.

    :)

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