“A new book, The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich, reveals how two men uncovered a Nazi artifact.”
I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds like a great read and all of the Amazon reviews except one gave it 5 stars. It’s on my reading list along with Rosenberg’s actual diary.
Read the brief article on the book here: Tracking an Elusive Diary From Hitler’s Inner Circle – The New York Times
Many of the propaganda films produced by the Nazis have never been shown in the U.S. or Europe over fears that they may incite hatred, particularly against Jews. But a new documentary (Forbidden Fruit: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film), which opens today in N.Y., takes excerpts from the forty films that had been considered too offensive to show publicly and compiles them into one film. The director, Felix Moeller, is unsure about the consequences of the film. He wonders, “Are they nothing but historical documents at this point or still effective ideological messages?”
I think this documentary will be of interest to many, but rather than hatred, I hope this documentary prompts us to reflect on our own susceptibility as human beings to hate other who are different from us. It’s easy to criticize the Germans for being duped by Nazi propaganda, but must remember that we have the same vulnerabilities and that we could just as easily be duped. The same human dynamics that played out in Nazi Germany continue to fuel hatred and violence all across the globe. If we are to learn anything from this period of history, we should be skeptical of claims that inspire us to hate others. We should be wary of negative stereotypes and dubious claims that vilify others. If some one or some group asks us to hate, we should say “no”!
Read Bruce Chadwick’s review of the film here:
History News Network | New Documentary on Nazi Propaganda Films to Debut.
In his astute assessment of the current state of anti-Semitism, Alon Ben-Meir quotes H. L. Mencken: “Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority… All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them.” I think this gets to the heart of the problem. All sides (all who are involved in fanning the flames of hatred, whether toward the Jews or Palestinians) have been guilty of adamantly adhering to their own moral superiority without ever considering that they may be wrong or partly wrong.
With this in mind, Ben-Meir wisely advises Israelis not to “dismiss anti-Semitism simply as an incurable disease when in reality it is practicing ‘anti-Semitism’ against a large segment of its own population. The responsibility of diminishing anti-Semitism falls squarely on the shoulders of the Israeli political leaders and the public. Israel must embrace the moral values on which it was founded; its future, if not its very survival, may well depend on it.”
Please read the entire article at:
History News Network | Israel needs to acknowledge the reasons for the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.
While the present attack on academics who speak out against Israel is not as egregious as those that happened during the McCarthy Era, they are just as damaging to free speech. The critics are usually denounced as anti-Semitic and under that guise they are discredited as racist. On those grounds those defending Israel feel justified in their efforts to destroy the careers of those academics (the Salaita
case is just the most prominent). The problem is that this is to confuse antisemitism with actions of the state of Israel (some may have done so intentionally as a way to shut down opinions that they do not like). One doesn’t have to be an anti-Semite to object to the actions of the state of Israel. I find antisemitism abhorrent (and I have said so often), but I also find some of the actions of the Israeli government abhorrent as well. And there have been many Jews who have spoken out against the Israeli government on this topic as well. One of the most powerful statements comes from Theodore Bikel
, who wrote in the Jewish Journal
against “the death of Arab children.” “People see suffering and unless it is Jewish suffering they are silent. How dare they?” We should follow Theodore’s example and take a stand against injustice no matter who is committing it.
The Israeli government does not and should not get a free pass just because of the long history of antisemitism.
The historian Lawrence Davidson points out that attempts to shut down speech is a historical pattern that is unlikely to end. But he believes that we can “minimize the consequences of these repeated assaults” if we “continuously defy them. In other words, only by maintaining a counter-pattern of vigorously defending and using the right of free speech and academic freedom can space be sustained for critical voices. If at any time we fail to sustain this space we risk the possibility of being overwhelmed by a combination of closed-minded ideologues and the mass indifference of the majority.” Please read his article at the HNN:
History News Network | Every 30 or 40 Years We See Flagrant Attacks on Free Speech. Here We Go Again..
See also: “Did Salaita Cross the Line of Civility?” The New York Times