Twitter Wars

Jews excoriate Mike Pence for using ‘Christ imagery’ in Holocaust Remembrance tweet

Twitter is coming after Vice President Mike Pence for a tweet he fired off on Holocaust Remembrance Day this Saturday. Everyone knows that Pence believes God decides matters of real estate when it comes to Israel, but many people are offended that he’d voice that sentiment openly.

On Saturday morning, Pence tweeted a video of himself and his wife Karen laying a wreath and taking a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem last week. The tweet included a caption that paid tribute to what he referred to as 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 comment thread beneath Pence’s tweet filled up with people angry at his use of “Christ imagery” when referring to victims of the Holocaust. Other tweets slammed him for being “tone deaf” and “shameful.”

“Are you referring to my Jewish relatives who died or survived in the Holocaust or did we become embroiled into some sort of Jesus analogy?” wrote one person.

“Mike Pence Jesused all of us Jews without our consent,” wrote another. “What a smug, condescending fraud.”

One person who really crystallized problem with Pence’s tweet was University of Nebraska political theory professor Ari Cohen, who had a few thoughts about the VP’s use of the “Christian rhetoric of resurrection that Jews don’t buy into at all.”

According to Haaretz’s Allison Kaplan Sommer, Pence’s choice of words are actually quite common in Israel.

The word “resurrection,” which has strong Christian connotations in English, is also a legitimate translation of the Hebrew word tekuma, which also can be translated as “rebirth,” “recovery” or “revival.” It is frequently used to describe the establishment of the State of Israel following the Holocaust in the phrase “Shoah v’tekuma.” Some on Twitter objected to the use of the word “martyr” as implying that the victims of the Holocaust sacrificed themselves willingly rather than being murdered. However, the word “martyr” is translated into Hebrew as kedoshim, which is the term most frequently used to memorialize Holocaust victims in Israel. The official name of Israel’s Holocaust memorial day is, in fact, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

Featured image via James McNellis/Flickr

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