Friday, March 29, 2013

Great News for Jews (Not Really): The Shoah Wins the My-Genocide's-Better-Than-Your-Genocide Competition

Many Jews will see this as fabulous news. I am not one of them:
WINNIPEG — Despite complaints from some quarters, Holocaust education remains an important focal point of the still-in-development Canadian Museum for Human Rights. 
According to an internal working document released recently to the media by the museum’s board, a display on the Holocaust will fill a 4,500-square-foot space, making it the facility’s largest stand-alone gallery after its Canada’s Journey gallery. 
As outlined in the working document, the Examining the Holocaust gallery is intended to be a case study in the “systematic destruction of human rights.” 
“The lessons of the Holocaust demand that we be vigilant,” the working paper states. 
The gallery will feature photos and graphic panels, videos, text and small, open drawers containing “fragile or secret documents.” Among the exhibits will be an overview of Lemkin’s Techniques of Genocide, a touch-screen panel that explains eight “techniques” that the Nazis used to try to destroy the Jewish People. 
The outer structure of the $350-million-plus museum was completed late last year. The museum is expected to open to the public in 2014. 
Don't worry, though. Other victim groups will still get to tell their "stories":
Canada’s Journey, the largest gallery at 9,500 square feet, will consider past historical wrongs such as the internment of Japanese people during World War II, the Chinese head tax, residential schools for native peoples and modern issues such as same-sex marriage and disability rights. 
Other galleries include an aboriginal section, human rights today and taking action in defence of human right.
As for the Holodomor--it'll have to settle for second place in the victimhood sweepstakes, Avis to the Jews' Hertz, Pepsi to our Coke:
The Holodomor, the Soviet Union’s forced starvation of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian farmers – estimates of the number of dead run from 1.8 to 12 million – in the 1930s, will be examined in a film that will be art of a gallery called Breaking the Silence. 
The gallery would “recognize the role of Diaspora communities and Parliament in breaking the silence” on five genocides – the Armenian genocide, the Holodomor, the Holocaust and, more recently, Rwanda and Srebenica. 
The status of the Holodomor relative to the Holocaust among the museum’s educational programs has been the main bone of contention from critics of the museum, and from one group in particular, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has been pushing for the Holodomor to be given equal space with the Holocaust in the museum. 
“We have the support of most Ukrainain Canadian organizations, which are working with us,” said Maureen Fitzhenry, the museum’s media relations manager.  
“They seem to understand what we are trying to do and appreciate our efforts to incorporate information about the Holodomor.”  
Fitzhenry noted that the working document is not an exhaustive list of every component and story of every gallery...
Something tells me that that's not going to sit too well with Ukrainians, and that the Holocaust being given pride of place in the human wrongs edifice will engender more Judenhass, not less.

Which rather defeats the whole purpose of the Asper-sponsored exercise, no? (BTW, pace the above-mentioned "working paper," the lessons of the Holocaust--if it's even appropriate to think of it in those terms--demand that we acknowledge that Jew-hate is eternal, and that in every era it morphs into something new. Today, for example, it manifests itself as an irrational obsession with/hatred of Israel--what I like to call Zionhass. How much square footage do you suppose the museum is planning to set aside for that?)

Update: This paragraph from Gil Troy's book Moynihan's Moment seems apropos:
By 1975 the New Left had started betraying its defining ideals, especially regarding human rights. Traditional liberalism spread enlightenment by operating consistently, rationally, fairly. The totalitarian post-sixties leftism worshipped the god of identity, valorizing racial and colonial victimhood as proof of virtue. Who you were determined the justice you deserved. This hard Left became reactionary, often choosing positions to oppose the United States or Israel. Democracy seemed embattled, autocracy empowered: "There will be more campaigns. They will not abate." Moynihan warned, "for it is sensed in the world that democracy is in trouble. There is blood in the water and the sharks grow frenzied."
My take-away from that: a Canadian Museum for Democracy would have made a lot more sense--and been a whole lot more worthwhile.

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