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Attacking the 'Holocaust Industry'

by Salomon Korn

FRANKFURT. Being Jewish is neither a qualification in itself, nor may it be used as a sacrosanct shield against criticism. If criticism has an objective basis, it does not matter whether it is directed at a Jewish person or a Jewish institution or whether it comes from a Jewish or non-Jewish source.

So much for theory. In practice, a Jew criticizing another Jew attracts a great deal more attention than a non-Jew. Norman Finkelstein has played the role of "Jewish witness" once before, in the debate about Harvard historian Daniel Goldhagen's controversial theory of "Hitler's willing executioners." His words carried more weight with large segments of the non-Jewish public than did those of even the most renowned non-Jewish historians. In public opinion, this "Jewish bonus" continues to count for much more than the quality of the arguments. The previously unknown Finkelstein was in demand not as a political scientist, but as a prosecutor with Jewish credentials.

Pure ad hominem attack. Korn hasn't dealt with anything Finkelstein has said. Rather, in a mere two paragraphs -- and with typical Jewish motive questioning -- Korn has smeared Finkelstein as trading on his Jewishness to curry favor with, among others, a low and dishonest German public anxious for any scrap of extenuation. This begs so many questions one can't even list them.

Now, Finkelstein is mounting a frontal attack on what he describes as a "Holocaust industry" and a "Jewish-Zionist-American conspiracy" against the interests of the survivors of the Nazi extermination of the Jews. This attack has a distinct dj-vu flavor. Once again the circumstances and the background of Finkelstein's attack are of secondary importance in public opinion. Is anyone really interested in the fact that Finkelstein is speaking mainly as the son of Holocaust survivors -- a fact of which he makes no secret -- and thus lacks the necessary detachment from the subject at hand?

This is simply mind-boggling. Did Korn or his editors even bother to read this over before printing it? So, no one can voice an opinion -- based on facts, nonetheless -- on issues he is involved in... That makes a lot of sense. Are we supposed to go to Iceland for comments? Or penguins down in Antarctica? This is like saying if your elderly parents are ripped off in an investment scam, your opinion, as dutiful son, shouldn't be listened to because you "lack the necessary detachment from the subject at hand." This is arguably the stupidest thing written in a major paper in the past year, and that's one of your stiffer competitions.

Long years of watching his mother's fruitless attempts to claim compensation from Jewish organizations might justify his bitterness, but they are no excuse for the way Finkelstein, a New York-based professor, handles his subject matter. Where cool-headed intellectual control gives way to a desire for retribution, the results of any study are likely to reflect an agenda rather than proven facts.

Korn keeps talking in general about flaws in Finkelstein's arguments. Apparently it's beneath him to actually point any out.

Finkelstein's methods have something in common with trying to shoot at clay pigeons while standing on a fast-moving traffic circle -- his loads of buckshot do hit something every now and then, but what they hit is seldom their intended target. In a public statement on July 10, which attracted very little public attention, the New York-based "Claims Conference" refuted every single one of Finkelstein's accusations.

Oh. Ok. Well, that settles it for me. People Finkelstein accuses of being extortionist gangsters say they aren't. Korn would benefit from a course in logic. Korn believes in intellectual coolness and detachment. So when A claims B is a gangster, and B claims he's not, cool intellectual Korn's conclusion is that B is right. This is logic to him.

Through his negligent attitude to facts and figures something characteristic of my writing, he has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. But once again, in a response familiar from the Goldhagen debate, the public is less interested in Finkelstein's reputation or his scholarly integrity than in his role of "Jewish witness" against Jewish organizations. When your intellect is as cool and detached as mine, mind reading is easy.

Most of the non-Jewish public is not interested in a detailed discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Finkelstein's accusations. As opposed to me, who hasn't bothered to cite a single piece of evidence supporting my position anywhere in this whole piece... Once again, Korn is reading minds and making uncharitable assumptions, and we are to take it on his word -- since he never adduces facts (while claiming they're all-important) -- that his conclusions about everyone else's motives are correct. What it really wants is to be able to lean back, safe from any suspicion of anti-Semitism, and watch the spectacle of Jews dismantling other Jews and pulling them down off the supposed high horse of their morality. Why doesn't this guy buy a crystal ball and tell fortunes? Many German spectators in particular derive a great deal of satisfaction from seeing the ever-moralizing "first-class victims" in the role of the wrongdoer for a change. Maybe they actually appreciate seeing mainstream Jewry exposed for the crooks they are after all the self-righteous and Semitically Correct balderdash they've been exposed to their whole lives. Maybe they'd like to live in a land where Germans could write as openly and disrespectfully about Jews as you do about them. Where subconscious psychological needs call for an exonerating tunnel vision, the plausibility of proofs and counter-proofs is unimportant. Unlike cool and detached and intellectual me -- who, nevertheless, doesn't provide a scintilla of evidence or a scrap of proof for the opinions he's advancing... One wants to view the matter in a certain light, and proceeds to do so. Just like me, a Jewish "projector" par excellence.

Some, like the far-right German weekly Nationalzeitung, make no secret of this fact. Some derive furtive pleasure from it, and others skillfully conceal their resentment behind painstakingly "objective" proofs that Finkelstein's criticisms are justified in certain points. This guy's simply unequalled when it comes to mind-reading and motive-spotting. Even when the German is providing the evidence he demands (but doesn't offer himself) it's just a cover for a darker purpose. Of course they are -- the sheer laws of probability dictate that his accusations must have some basis in fact oh, ok, now that we're down at the bottom of the page you admit he's right about something, because Jewish organizations are neither better nor worse than any others. Can you say "straw man"? This guy needs a logic course really, really badly. Any mistakes they made must be made public, but not with the intention of postulating some sort of "collective Jewish responsibility" arising from collective characteristics of "the Jews" or "Jewish organizations." Begging the question. The whole issue is just how corrupt the Jews and the Jewish organizations are. He's asserting "very." You're merely asserting the opposite and posing as the voice of reason and cool detachment.

One thing is certain: If Finkelstein had directed his criticisms at non-Jewish American organizations instead of the so-called "Holocaust industry," they would not have elicited anywhere near as much attention and malicious delight from many non-Jews. What? What in the world do non-Jewish organizations have to do with the issue of Jews seeking reparations? Who was he supposed to address, Lithuanian groundskeepers? The Fraternal Order of Septuagenarian Head Lice? This begs the question whether the title and the content of the book were not chosen deliberately to cater to certain public expectations with a view to boosting sales. This just takes the cake. Maybe your Mom named you Korn so you could trade on the reclame of a popular American band.

In the past few weeks, many public figures in Germany have become conspicuous for their refusal to comment on Finkelstein's theory. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your Kornhole and prove it. This refusal strikes me as symptomatic -- of fear, bias or unspoken satisfaction. It doesn't matter what real (non-Jewish) Germans do, they are guilty. Whether they speak or hold their tongues, their motive is always discreditable. Finkelstein's emotionally- charged arguments are not the problem. The real problem is the public's reaction -- because this is what will inevitably be viewed as the yardstick for the current status of German-Jewish "normality."

Comment: This is officially the stupidest, most ill-reasoned eyewash I've read since Hector was a pup.

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