Jewish Journal


August 10, 2012

Joan Rivers’s smart retort to the ADL



When the wholesale giant Cosco refused to stock Joan Rivers’ new book, “I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me,” citing book-jacket profanity, Rivers decided to create a stir.

In an attempt to start a protest, she camped outside a Cosco in Burbank and invited news crews to join her. With her usual hyperbole, she told KTLA news, “People should have the right to have the literature they want. This is the beginning of Nazi Germany.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman responded in turn with his usual rejoinder: “Such comparisons only serve to trivialize the Holocaust and are deeply offensive,” he said.

Rivers basically told him to shut up.

“Don’t talk to me about the holocaust,” she snapped, pointing out that her deceased husband, Edgar Rosenberg had lost most of his family at Auschwitz. “The ADL should worry more about the world’s attitude toward Israel than waste their time and energy on me,” she told TheWrap.com.

How smart. How true. Go Joan.

“Banning books anywhere is a bad portent,” she added.

Foxman would do well to heed Rivers’ point. A society’s treatment of books tends to be suggestive of their values; it’s right there at the entrance to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum, a warning by the poet Heinrich Heine: “Where books are burned, human beings are also destined to be burned.”

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