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Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Grandson Defends PETA’s Holocaust Campaign in LA Times

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  • AnimalAdvocacy@yahoogroups.com
    Isaac Bashevis Singer s Grandson Defends PETA s Holocaust Campaign in Los Angeles Times Take a moment to read the eloquent defense of PETA s Holocaust campaign
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2003
      Isaac Bashevis Singer's Grandson Defends PETA's Holocaust Campaign in
      Los Angeles Times

      Take a moment to read the eloquent defense of PETA's Holocaust
      campaign (http://www.masskilling.com/) by the grandson of Nobel Laureate and
      Holocaust survivor, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Bashevis was one of the
      first to make the comparison between Nazi treatment of Jews and our
      treatment of animals, referencing both as a holocaust.

      You might want to forward this thoughtful article, with a link to the photos and information about intensive factory farms at: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/gallery/index.htm to others who may not know much about the animal rights movement. Please follow up with a polite discussion with them next week.

      (Note: you'll have to cut and paste into a single line in your
      browser to view online. Full text appears below if link to text has

      Animals Suffer a Perpetual 'Holocaust'
      By Stephen R. Dujack
      Stephen R. Dujack is the editor of an environmental magazine in
      Washington and a writer.

      April 21, 2003

      Isaac Bashevis Singer fled Nazi Europe in 1935 and came to this
      country. He married my grandmother, who had escaped from Hitler's
      Germany in 1940. He went on to become a lauded author and won the
      Nobel Prize for literature in 1978. His family -- those who stayed
      behind -- were killed in the concentration camps.

      My grandfather was also a principled vegetarian. He was one of the
      first to equate the wholesale slaughter of humans to what we
      perpetrate against animals every day in slaughterhouses. He realized
      that the systems of oppression and murder that had been used in the
      Holocaust were the systems being used to confine, oppress and
      slaughter animals. He attributed to a character in one of his books
      something he believed in himself: "In relation to [animals], all
      people are Nazis. For [them], it is an eternal Treblinka."

      People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has come under
      fire from the Anti-Defamation League for a campaign highlighting my
      grandfather's ideas as well as writings from others -- including
      German Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno, who was forced into exile
      by the Nazis, and Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz, who was imprisoned in
      Dachau -- that compare the suffering of Holocaust victims with that
      of farmed animals.

      The ADL claims that PETA is exploiting the Holocaust for publicity.
      The campaign has sparked debate and controversy in the Jewish
      community, but my grandfather would have been proud of PETA's bold

      The Holocaust happened because ordinary people chose to ignore the
      extraordinary oppression and abuse being inflicted on innocents by
      the Nazis. Millions of people went about their daily lives, knowingly
      turning a blind eye to the suffering of those they didn't relate to,
      those who were deemed "unworthy of life."

      My grandfather often said that this mind-set, whether it manifested
      itself as the oppression of animals or of people, exemplified the
      most hideous and dangerous of all racist principles. As Adorno
      said, "Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse
      and thinks: They're only animals."

      My grandfather was a gentle man who always extended a compassionate
      hand to those who could not speak for themselves. He had birds as
      pets, but he always left their cages open because he couldn't bear to
      see any being behind bars. They used to fly out one window and in
      another of his apartment. When asked why he was a vegetarian, he'd
      reply, "I'm a vegetarian for health reasons: the health of the
      chickens." Because of him, I am also now a vegetarian.

      Because of my family's history and the gentle guiding force of my
      grandfather, I learned the sad lessons of prejudice and ignorance and
      the ways to fight them. I learned that to remember the horrors of the
      past is not enough -- we must apply what we've learned and say with
      conviction, "Never again." But when we say it, we must mean never
      again shall we allow this to happen to anyone, for any reason.

      Like the victims of the Holocaust, animals are rounded up, trucked
      hundreds of miles to the kill floor and slaughtered. Comparisons to
      the Holocaust are not only appropriate but inescapable because,
      whether we wish to admit it or not, cows, chickens, pigs and turkeys
      are as capable of feeling loneliness, fear, pain, joy and affection
      as we are. To those who defend the modern-day holocaust on animals by
      saying that animals are slaughtered for food and give us sustenance,
      I ask: If the victims of the Holocaust had been eaten, would that
      have justified the abuse and murder? Did the fact that lampshades,
      soaps and other "useful" products were made from their bodies excuse
      the Holocaust? No. Pain is pain.

      My grandfather wrote, "[A]s long as human beings will go on shedding
      the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only
      one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a la
      Hitler.... There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a
      knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is."

      We all have the power to stop suffering and misery every time we sit
      down to eat.
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