******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (Holocaust Remembrance = Racist White Privilege)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

Tonight's post brings us back to a variety of topics I have touched upon before: 
Somehow, some way, all these elements come together in one story.

Bring in one Jenny Peto, a Jewish activist with the Coalition Against Apartheid Israel.  Peto also is active in Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

The delightful Ms. Peto submitted a Masters Thesis at the University of Toronto, described as follows (emphasis mine):
In her thesis, titled “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education,” Peto argues the [Holocaust remembrance] programs in question cause Jews to believe they are innocent victims. In reality, she writes, they are privileged white people who "cannot see their own racism.

The "construction of a victimized Jewish identity," Peto argues, is intentional, and produces "effects that are extremely beneficial to the organized Jewish community" and to "apartheid" Israel.

She further questions "the implications of white Jews taking it upon themselves to educate people of colour about genocide, racism and intolerance."
Ms. Peto summarizes her Thesis as follows:
This paper focuses on issues of Jewish identity, whiteness and victimhood within hegemonic Holocaust education. I argue that today, Jewish people of European descent enjoy white privilege and are among the most socio-economically advantaged groups in the West. Despite this privilege, the organized Jewish community makes claims about Jewish victimhood that are widely accepted within that community and within popular discourse in the West. I propose that these claims to victimhood are no longer based in a reality of oppression, but continue to be propagated because a victimized Jewish identity can produce certain effects that are beneficial to the organized Jewish community and the Israeli nation-state. I focus on two related Holocaust education projects – the March of the Living and the March of Remembrance and Hope – to show how Jewish victimhood is instrumentalized in ways that obscure Jewish privilege, deny Jewish racism and promote the interests of the Israeli nation-state.
The acceptance of the Thesis by the U. Toronto faculty has led to a firestorm of criticism, including condemnation by the Ontario legislature.  Ironically, it turns out that one of Peto's main targets in arguing for racist Jewish White Privilege, the March of Remembrance, is not even run by a Jewish group.

But it gets worse.  Peto used her own grandmother to justify her Thesis, claiming that if her grandmother were alive, she would be protesting Israel Apartheid:
My thesis is dedicated to my grandmother, Jolan Peto, a Holocaust survivor who spent her life fighting injustice. I know that if she were alive today she would be right there with me protesting against Israeli Apartheid."
That claim didn't sit too well with someone, namely, Peto's brother, who wrote a moving letter as follow (emphasis mine):
It is not my desire to get involved with the details of my sister Jenny Peto’s thesis, which has recently generated tremendous controversy. There are people far more qualified than I to debate the merits of the thesis, or lack thereof. There is, however, one point that I would like to contest. My sister dedicated her thesis to our late grandmother, Jolan Peto. She asserted that if our grandmother “were alive today, she would be right there with me protesting against Israeli apartheid.”

Our grandmother was the youngest teacher at the Jewish orphanage in Budapest during the Second World War. She, along with my grandfather, saved countless children from death at the hands of the Nazis. After the war, she saw firsthand the brutality and baseness of the communist regime that came into power. She, along with our grandfather and father escaped to Canada, and celebrated the day of their arrival each and every year. Freedom was not an abstract idea to her; it was alive and tangible for her.

Our grandmother was a soft-spoken woman, but she had an iron will. She taught us to abhor hatred, and to strive for excellence in everything we did. She was a woman of endless patience and generosity, and boundless love. She was uncompromising in her dedication to truth and honesty, and was also an ardent supporter of the state of Israel. My sister is simply wrong; our grandmother would have been entirely opposed to her anti-Israel protests.

Our grandmother had a tremendous impact on my life, and her memory continues to be a source of strength and inspiration to my family. My daughter is named after her, and we pray that she will emulate her namesake. I cannot in good conscience allow my sister to misappropriate publicly our grandmother’s memory to suit her political ideology.

David Peto, Houston.
Mr. Peto said it all.

Related Posts:
Helen Thomas' Greatest Accomplishment
Glenn Greenwald Does His Israel-Firsters Dance Again
Mr. Netanyahu, Tear Down That Wall For Our Suicide Bombers

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
Visit the Legal Insurrection Shop on CafePress!
Bookmark and Share


  1. I've been to the Simon Wisenthal Center in Beverly Hills, to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the Holocaust Memorial in Boston, the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and the Schindler Factory in Krakow, in that order.

    "Gravely disabled" is the charitable description of the faculty that would accept a paper like this. That the academics have no other standard or ideal than, "Its all good" shows the triumph of the relativism that John Paul II and Benedict XVI warned us about.

    Thank you, Ontario legislature in general and David Peto in particular for your timely, authoritative repuditations.

  2. I agree with Mr. Peto, and find it comforting that he is standing up for his grandmother and defending her legacy. And I won't even go into the reasons this thesis should never have been accepted, given its many incorrect terms and labels, assumptions, strawmen, and the anti-Semitic veiled accusation of propagandizing the Holocaust for Israel's gain. Appalling!! U of Toronto deserves ridicule for this.

    My question is: how does someone who has a personal link, a close family member who survived the Holocaust, get so twisted as to believe this tripe, let alone use it as a thesis for a master's paper?! Brainwashing by educators does not do that; self-hatred, perhaps? And to make such leaps in logic in the thesis: "Jewish privilege;" "Jewish racism;" "white privilege".....does she really, REALLY not know that anti-Semitism is a form of racism?! This is the epitome of the "all whites are racist" and the "no one who is non-white can be guilty of racism" definitions that pass today as truth and logical in academia. Heck, our DoJ uses this type of logic to say that only whites can discriminate, non-whites are always victims. Beyond belief!

    All the various terms she uses - victimhood, privilege, hegemonic - are loaded. Does she not know that Jewish people have been a target of hate from time immemorial because of those who were jealous or covetous of what diligent Jews and the nation of Israel had worked hard to accomplish? Please help us, how does this happen to a young mind?!

    You know, this leftist radical hate thesis might have been directly lifted from Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dorn's book Prairie Fire. Change the target group (Jews instead of white Americans) and the victims (the "people of color," i.e. Palestinians) and it is almost plagiarism! Sickening.

  3. Of all the criticisms of Israel, "apartheid" is beyond rationality. There are many legitimate criticisms of Israel--which you can read by checking the English-language website of Ha'Aretz and Yediot Aharanot newspapers as well as any number of other Israeli sources.

    but apartheid involved the forced separation of two groups of South Africans. If Israeli Arabs had limitations on their movements, etc., the "apartheid" claim might be semi-legitimate.

    But unless the argument is that Israel should annex and absorb the disputed territories, limiting the movement of the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank, whatever it is, is not apartheid.

    In Lebanon there are strictures regarding where Palestinians can live and something like seventy occupations they cannot enter, but israel is "aparthed?"

  4. We may be being a bit hasty here. From that thesis, it is indeed obvious that there is at least one Jew who "cannot see her own racism".

  5. Canada now has its version of Norman Finklestein. And she's only 30 years old, so she'll be influencing young minds for another 40 years.

  6. Yet another proof that if sociology were removed entirely from western academia it would not be missed.

  7. My grandfather had to drag a number of relatives out of Germany due to his writings against the Nazis, and because he had some possible Jewish ancestors.

    But he wasn't a Zionist. He, quite reasonably, didn't think it had a snowball's chance in hell of working. He didn't think it would be good for the Jewish people. Others argued that anti-Semitism would increase unchecked if Jews moved to their own country. Those were legitimate anti-Zionist arguments.

    Those arguments ceased to be valid when Israel established itself as a fully capable nation state. There is no Zionism any more because, unlike the perpetual revolutions of the communists, Israel is simply a nation like any other. And there are no legitimate modern anti-Zionists: it is now blatant anti-Semitism to question Israel's right to exist.