Friday, May 06, 2005

PETA progress, but not quite an apology

Israel Insider prints PETA's apology for its 2003 'Holocaust on Your Plate' campaign in its entirety. Reading the statement closely, it becomes clear that PETA's President, Ingrid Newkirk, is not admitting the organization was wrong and trivialized the Holocaust, but is merely apologizing for causing pain to the Jewish community. Ie. -- not really regretting what they did (and in fact spending the majority of the piece justifying their thought process), but regretting the Jewish community's perception of what they did.
I'm also uncomfortable with the following paragraph:
Hard as it may be to understand for those who were deeply upset by this campaign, I was bowled over by the negative reception by many in the Jewish community. It was both unintended and unexpected. The PETA staff who proposed that we do it were Jewish, and the patronage for the entire endeavor was Jewish. We were careful to use Jewish authors and scholars and quotes from Holocaust victims and survivors. And since Judaism has some of the strongest teachings regarding compassion for animals among the monotheistic faiths, I truly believed, as did the Jewish staff members who proposed the exhibit, that a large segment of the Jewish community would support it.
The old 'We're not anti-Semitic, there were Jews on our side (-- and it was their idea!)' line.... Yet again, even if true, this argument shows that PETA simply has zero understanding of the Jewish community and its sensitivities.
Nevertheless -- and I mean this -- at least they are trying, and apologizing to the best extent that they perhaps can within their ideology. Perhaps they feel that after the Rubashkin/Postville business, where they were an unpopular messenger even for many Jews who admitted they were right and that there were abuses going on at the abattoir, that their relationship with the Jewish community has deteriorated to the point that it needs some repair. Any effort in that direction is welcome.

1 comment:

elf said...

There's a level at which I don't think that we carnivores and the PETA folk will ever truly understand each other. These people believe that all species are fundamentally equal. For them, the comparison of slaugterhouses to the Holocaust isn't demeaning; it makes sense. This sort of statement is the most that we can hope for from them: an acknowledgement that this campaign's offensiveness to the Jewish community in and of itself makes the campaign problematic. It was, to borrow a phrase from a certain embattled university president, "anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent."