Words carry real power
OLIVIA MARKSWOLDMAN, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has called me an antisemite. If, as Marks-Woldman maintains, the use of the term ‘kapo’ is considered “downright offensive”, then I would think so is calling a fellow Jew an antisemite.
Only, of course, she might be the first to protest against this accusation, insisting she never called me an antisemite.
She stated that “the use of the term kapo in describing another Jew would be interpreted as antisemitic”.
Like her, I never called other Jews kapos. I insisted that reciting kaddish for dead terrorists is “kapo’ism”.
There is a difference, and that difference lies as much in the distinction Marks-Woldman would make about her choice language in criticising me.
She disingenuously begins her comments by suggesting my criticism was launched at “Jews who had said kaddish for Palestinians killed on the Gaza border”.
It’s a clever tactic by which to portray me as an extremist. But they weren’t just Palestinians. They were terrorists who were trying to breach the border in order to “cut out Jewish hearts”. The term “kapo’ism” was used only in the context of Jews emboldening the enemy against their own.
I have never used the term “kapo”, anymore than Marks-Woldman has used the term antisemite to describe another Jew.
Frankly, I have never used the term “kapo’ism” before either. But then, I’d never come across Jews reciting kaddish for dead terrorists before. Kaddish is the single most sacred prayer in Jewish liturgy. It is an elaborate praise of God, reflecting the essence of the soul, as extension of the Divine, within man.
The intention of the prayer is to consider the enormity of the loss endured and exalt the soul. Furthermore, the criteria that the kaddish should be recited only in a quorum of ten men signifies the uniqueness of the prayer in sanctifying God’s name in keeping with the commandment of Kiddush Hashem. Granted “kapo’ism” is a harsh term and I apologise for any unintended offence caused.
How would you react?
What term would you use to describe such an action?
It’s easy to pounce on a word, thus deflecting from the gravity of the real offence caused.
Too many Jews have been killed by terrorists over the years.
To use Marks-Woldman’s own words: “We owe it to them, to learn from their experiences and strive to treat each other with respect, dignity and kindness today.”