Vice President Mike Pence’s tweet to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day has angered some Jews who have accused him of using the terms of his Evangelical Christian faith to honour the victims.
The tweet posted Saturday included a short video clip showing Pence and his wife laying a memorial wreath in Yad Vashem’s Hall of Remembrance.
“A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honour 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 vice president’s tweet said.
Critics pointed to the use of the terms “martyrs” and “resurrect,” calling them “Christ imagery” and a “Jesus analogy.”
“Resurrect themselves”? Pence dishonours the memories of the 6 million by coopting them for the political agenda of his evangelical base,” tweeted Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe.
Journalist Matthew Yglesias, who is Jewish, tweeted, “I really thought last year’s thing where they left out the Jews was a Holocaust Remembrance Day low point but Pence has taken this to new places in an amazing way.”
Central to Christian theology is the belief that Jesus was resurrected three days after his martyrdom by the Romans. But Israeli leaders have also used “resurrection” and “martyr” imagery in their statements about the Holocaust, Haaretz pointed out. In 2017, speaking with Holocaust survivors, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to “the story of our people climbing back from the pit of death — this is our story of rebirth.”
Pence returned last week from a visit to Jordan, Egypt and Israel.
A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honor 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. #HolocaustRemembranceDay #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/67UuC1cYI2
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 27, 2018
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”