A brief follow-up to my last post, because I just noticed yesterday’s editorial by Danny Danon in the Jerusalem post, headlined “No way to treat a friend.” The writer is deputy speaker of the Knesset. It’s an object lesson in how to miss the point but sound reasonable doing it.
Danon describes himself as a friend of Huckabee’s and says, “I can honestly tell you that I have never met a more sincere friend of our cause. He ponders the Holocaust and its dark legacy more than many Jews do.” Danon thinks that it was ridiculous of the ADL “to criticize a man who is undeniably one of Israel’s staunchest and most effective supporters….” That’s the inevitable point in Huckabee’s favor, and it’s not necessarily a bad one but it’s always made uncritically. Danon adds that the criticism of his friend “actually trivializes the Holocaust” but doesn’t explain how. Not that I entirely disagree — language policing tends to trivialize everything it touches.
It’s a good thing to stand up for your friends, and it’s nice that Danon can testify to his friend’s sincerity. Thinking more generally, he writes, “We want our Christian friends to visit Israel, to teach their children about the Holocaust and yes, to share their experiences and concerns with the widest possible audience.” Nobody should “censor such individuals” or “stifle the kind of message uttered not once but continuously by Huckabee.” Fair enough, though it’s too bad he has to confuse criticism with censorship — the ADL is not in a position to “censor” anyone, and Foxman’s criticism of Huckabee wasn’t exactly fire and brimstones.
There’s one glaring problem — Danon completely misses the point. He describes the story Huckabee told about his daughter, which he finds moving and sympathetic — presumably it’s just what he’d like a friendly visitor to Israel to take away. So far so good. Then he adds, by way of justification, that…
The story was so indelibly etched in the father’s mind that he retold it occasionally to emphasize the short memory of mankind when it comes to hatred and mass murder. Even more, he felt his young daughter’s intuitive understanding spoke eloquently of the sacred duty of accountability, contrasted with inaction and collaboration in the face of horrific crimes.
That’s nice, but Huckabee was not talking about “hatred and mass murder,” he was talking about the budget deficit. If he was calling his audience to their “sacred duty of accountability… in the face of horrific crimes” for the budget deficit, then he was most certainly trivializing the Holocaust, in a big way.