Suppose one day you opened your Sunday paper and found out that a bunch of activist Christians had gotten together and taken out an ad declaring that Judaism was not responsible for the Russian Revolution. You would probably think they were a little bit crazy to even say that, the second thing you might think is that it is a little patronizing for the exponents of one great religion to be "excusing" the supposed transgressions of another. Deep in your mind you might start thinking why someone would bring this up in the first place, sort of like the political candidate who says, "I have no doubts about the patriotism of my opponent" when of course what he really wants is for you to start thinking along those lines.
I felt something similar the other day, when I opened up the New York Times last Sunday and saw that a bunch of Jewish leaders had taken out an ad, saying that Christianity was not responsible for the Holocaust. Well, that's nice, I thought, now where's the ad saying that Islam is not responsible for Hiroshima?
But after awhile I got to thinking about it. I can understand why Jews think that Christianity might be to blame for the Holocaust. After all, isn't it frequently said that the Holocaust represented the "culmination of two
millennia of Jew hatred"? The basis for that belief of course is because of the disparaging treatments of Jews in the New Testament, for example, because the Jews are portrayed as major players in the Crucifixion, and because Martin Luther made some nasty remarks about Jews while sitting at the dinner table, and because the Oberammergau passion play makes Jews out to be mean, or at least, did, until the ADL got them to re-write the script.
It's interesting though that all of these presumed allegations about Christianity being to blame for the Holocaust the critics rarely provide any quotes. For example, they don't give us quotes like this one:
All Jewish children are animals.
Or this one:
Jewish girls are in a state of filth from birth.
Or this one:
Jews prefer sex with cows.
Or this one:
Jews and others who reject the Bible will go to hell and be punished there for all generations.
I would bet if these types who are out to excuse Christianity for the Holocaust quoted things like the above, everyone would immediately understand why these Jewish people were being awfully big about letting Christians off the hook for the Holocaust. After all, the above quotes are demeaning, they are nasty, and and they seem to invite diminishing people and maltreating people solely on the basis of their religious beliefs.
Yet there's a reason you won't see such quotes in any attacks on Christianity. The reason is that all four of the above quotes are from the Jewish Talmud, not any Christian writing, not even from the crumbs that fell off Luther's table. Just substitute the word "Gentile" for "Jewish" or "Jew" and "Talmud" for "Bible" to get the original sense. (To be specific, the references are as follows:
Yebamoth 98a, Abodah Zarah 36b, Abodah Zarah 22a-22b,
Rosh Hashanah 17a)
Now let's just suppose I had a big hair up my nose about the Russian Revolution, Joe Stalin, the GULAG, the Ukrainian Famine and all the rest of it. I know a lot of Bolsheviks were from a Jewish background. So I could construct an argument like this: Jewish writings say nasty things about Christians, some people of Jewish background did nasty things to Christians, therefore the Jews were responsible for the Russian Revolution and the whole mess that came afterwards. And then I could get to the really good part. I could forgive them. I could forgive the Jewish religion for what it did to us filthy cow-lusting goyim.
Of course it would be a stupid argument to make. Trotsky and the rest may have been from Jewish homes, but they weren't practicing Jews and they weren't doing what they were doing so that they could keep the
Sabbath. They did it because they were in the grip of an ideology that said it was OK to destroy the lives of millions to "make a better world." As a matter of fact, they were a lot like the Nazis, of whom there was hardly a practicing or believing Christian in the bunch.
So the question that I am sure is still going to come up is: what about all these nasty remarks? My response to that would be: Who cares?
The historical fact is that for over a thousand years or more Jews and Christians didn't get along very well. Sure, the Christians were in the majority so when things got hot the Jews usually came out on the short end of the stick, but any reading of history that pretends that the hostility wasn't mutual between these religions just hasn't been paying attention. The relics of Jew-hatred in medieval or reformation Christian writings, or even from the days of the New Testament, have no more meaning than this, and neither do the nasty anti-Christian writings that you can find scribbled in the Talmud.
Christians and Jews get along today for a lot of reasons, one of them being that no doubt few people pay attention to the fine-print anathemas in religious books. And they will continue to get along, no matter how many times someone comes up with centuries-old nasty remarks. They don't need apologies. They don't need to be excused.