[lit-ideas] Re: doubly disturbing headline of the day

  • From: "Phil Enns" <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 15:13:00 -0500

Paul Stone wrote:

<quote from article>
The violinist, Wissam Tayem, was on his way to a music lesson near Nablus
when he said an Israeli officer ordered him to "play something sad" while
soldiers made fun of him. After several minutes, he was told he could pass.


Yoram Kaniuk, author of a book about a Jewish violinist forced to play for
a concentration camp commander, wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that
the soldiers responsible should be put on trial "not for abusing Arabs but
for disgracing the Holocaust".


What Paul is objecting to is not clear to me.  However, the response
regarding the Holocaust strikes me as being a familiar one to those who know
their Hebrew Bible.  In the book of Exodus, God tells the people of Israel
to take special care of widows, orphans and strangers because they were once
widows, orphans and strangers in Egypt when God had compassion on them.  The
punishment for abusing this class of people is extreme because it represents
an offense against God.  Israelis should act differently because of the
Holocaust and that experience should be a measure for their own society.  To
act in any way that resembles the horror of the Holocaust should be an
abomination for Israelis.

Perhaps Paul objects to the standard being Israeli (as opposed to some
universal right?), but I am all for the standard and wish it were applied as
broadly as possible.

Of course, I may be misunderstanding the reference to the Holocaust and
Paul's point.


Phil Enns
Toronto, ON

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