Holocaust, Israeli Birth Linked at Auschwitz Seminar

The relations between the birth of the State of Israel and the holocaust was stressed yesterday at the symposium on Auschwitz at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Prof. Emil L. Fackenheim, professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, contended that “Israel and Auschwitz are very strongly interlinked” and described Israel as the “beginning of dawn of redemption of the Jewish people.” Fackenheim asserted that the holocaust was a result of two factors, the hatred for the Jews and the Jews’ powerlessness.

“No meaning or purpose will be found by attempting to find God’s will in the holocaust,” he said, observing that in theological terms of meaning and response “every explanatory link between Israel and the holocaust has broken down.” In Fackenheim’s view, the battle for the State of Israel began in the streets of Warsaw, a struggle which was “acting through despair.” Referring to the present situation of Israel among the nations Fackenheim warned against the danger of a double standard against the Jewish State which is asked to be “more noble than anyone else.”

Eva Fleischner, professor of religion at Montclair State College, N. J. also criticized the double standards of the world community toward the Jewish State. She cited as examples the UN Security Council and those who spoke on the Maalot carnage and the Israeli reprisal “with the same breath.” Prof. Fleischner agreed with Fackenheim that the holocaust was possible because of hatred against the Jews and Jewish powerlessness but this combination, she said, “has been breached by the creation of the State of Israel.”

Prof. Fleischner said that as a Christian she feels that Christians must not be silent on Israel. “We should speak out,” she said. She asserted that if the case was that six million Christians were killed then “the world would not have been silent.”

Seymour Siegal, professor of theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary, contended that the events of the holocaust and the Yom Kippur War have “confirmed the truth of the insight of Zionism” and that the Jews learned that “God will not protect us unless we start protecting ourselves.” The four-day seminar ended today. (By Yitzhak Rabi)

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