It is always worth remembering the basics. What is a Nazi? A Nazi is someone who believes large segments of humanity should be brutally, summarily slaughtered. A Nazi is someone who promoted, or now would applaud, the murder of six million Jews, and laments that the killing was not more comprehensive. A Nazi is not someone who condemns homosexual behavior, or even homosexuals, but rather is one who wants homosexuals literally wiped off the face of the earth, along with gypsies, those who are disabled – well, the list goes on.
A Nazi is someone who herded people into concentration camps, dashed babies against brick ovens, put the babies’ parents inside those ovens, turned gas on in mock showers to suffocate people, thought other races inferior, barely human, worthy of contempt, slavery and death and literally planned world domination. A Nazi is someone who belonged to a party that began a war enveloping the entire globe and resulting in the death of countless millions of people. That is a Nazi.
The Holocaust is not a stick with which to beat those who disagree with us. When it is used as a weapon, it cheapens the magnitude of the event and the suffering of those who endured it.
So when Susan Sarandon calls the pope a Nazi, it is a difficult question to decide: is she demonstrating astounding historical ignorance or brutal prejudice? Does she merely reach for the most savage epithet she can find to characterize those who disagree with her? I have no conclusion; I merely wonder.
Like every Jew whose roots are in Eastern Europe, both in my family in and my community I am close to people who survived the Nazis. Unless you are an enthusiast for genocide you do not qualify. Unless you believe that large segments of humanity are intrinsically inferior you do not qualify. There are many ways to be objectionable without being a Nazi. Calling other people “Nazi” is one of them. Susan Sarandon knows better, or should, and however much she may dislike the pope or what he stands for, she owes The pope as well Catholics all over the world, a genuine apology.
David Wolpe | Oct 19, 2011 11:56 AM