Jewish Journal


July 23, 2008

McCain accused of exploiting Holocaust



McCain on an earlier visit to Israel

I’ve heard people accuse Jews of abusing memories of the Holocaust for political gain. Some people make a career of it. But I’ve never heard a Jew accuse a gentile of doing the same.

With Barack Obama visiting Yad Vashem today and paying homage to the six million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis, John McCain’s campaign was trying to score political points—and failing miserably.

“Today he says ‘never again.’ A year ago stopping genocide wasn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces in Iraq. Doesn’t that strike you as inconsistent?” aide Michael Goldfarb asked.

I’m going to start by assuming that Goldfarb is Jewish (he would do the same if he met me), but he was speaking here as an emissary for McCain. Secondly, genocide hasn’t been at issue in Iraq since the Al-Anfal campaign against Kurds ended in 1989, two years before the first war in Iraq. Sectarian violence still simmers and hasn’t disappeared, but it is a stretch to imply that ethnic cleansing would return if we left.

Civil war, yes. Genocide, no. While both scenarios would be awful, the former is irrelevant for the issue at hand.

“This is a base, shallow and treif attack that abuses one of the central historical events of Jewish history to smear a presidential candidate,” Richard Silverstein wrote on his blog.

Victims of the Khmer Rouge

Indeed, if genocides already underway were McCain’s concern, why didn’t he speak up when the Khmer Rouge wiped out 2 million Cambodians or during the three-year siege of Sarajevo or when the crisis in Darfur began five years ago? (If he did, somebody put me in my place.)

J Street, which has been looking for opportunities to make its dovish-pro-Israel name known, brought the exploitation accusations against McCain. Their release is after the jump:

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