Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's Not Anti-Semitic If It Rhymes

(Welcome to Havel Havelim visitors from me-ander and Shiloh Musings. Please take a moment to go to the home page and take a look around)

Hakaras HaTov to Little Green Footballs for pointing this out.

The European Jewish Press reports:

A poem which praises the murder of Jews by the Nazis has been included in a book of children’s poetry to be distributed amongst schools in the UK.

The publication, entitled Great Minds, features the work of school children aged 11 to 18 who won a nationwide literary competition.

But one of the poems contains lines that are causing an uproar:

It includes the lines "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces."

Another part reads: "Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger… I'll be happy Jews have died."

The defense of the inclusion of the poem is that the child who wrote it is writing from Hitler's perspective:

Young Writers editor Steve Twelvetree, who also edited the book, said the poem was included as it illustrated how the writer was able to empathise with the infamous Nazi Fuehrer.

Twelvetree told the Telegraph: "From Gideon's poem and my knowledge of the National Curriculum Key Stage 3 his poem shows a good use of technical writing and he has written his poem from the perspective of Adolf Hitler.”

The editor continued: "Key Stage 3 history requires pupils to show knowledge and understanding of events and places - to show historical interpretation and to explain significance of events, people and places, all of which World War II and the Holocaust is part of.

"The poem clearly states 'I am Adolf Hitler' and it recounts a historical fact, something Young Writers and Forward Press are not willing to censor."

I suppose that one can defend the poem, even as one is offended by the gusto with which the 14 year old empathizes with Hitler.
But is the goal really to have the child empathize with Hitler? Is he merely indentifying how Hitler felt or identifying with Hitler. It is not at all clear if the publishers have bothered to look into that.

But isn't it odd that this takes place in Great Britain, where "pig calendars and toys have been banned from a council office — in case they offend Muslim staff" and "British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims" and "A West Yorkshire head teacher has banned books containing stories about pigs from the classroom in case they offend Muslim children"?

Something in Great Britain doesn't seem kosher, and the problem is a whole lot more than just the pig.

See Without Rhyme or Reason
The EU, Reuters, and Fear

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