(JTA) — Vice President Mike Pence’s tweet to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day has angered some Jews who have accused him of using the terms of his evangelical Christian faith to honor the victims.
The tweet posted Saturday included a short video clip showing Pence and his wife, Karen, laying a memorial wreath in Yad Vashem’s Hall of Remembrance.
“A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust who 3 years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future,” the vice president’s tweet said.
Critics pointed to the use of the terms “martyrs” and “resurrect,” calling them “Christ imagery” and a “Jesus analogy.”
“Resurrect themselves”? Pence dishonors the memories of the 6 million by coopting them for the political agenda of his evangelical base,” Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe tweeted.
Journalist Matthew Yglesias, who is Jewish, tweeted, “I really thought last year’s thing where they left out the Jews was a Holocaust Remembrance Day low point but Pence has taken this to new places in an amazing way.”
Central to Christian theology is the belief that Jesus was resurrected three days after his martyrdom by the Romans. But Israeli leaders have also used “resurrection” and “martyr” imagery in their statements about the Holocaust, Haaretz pointed out. In 2017, speaking with Holocaust survivors, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to “the story of our people climbing back from the pit of death — this is our story of rebirth.”
Pence returned last week from a visit to Jordan, Egypt and Israel.