Pence tweet for Holocaust remembrance day raises hackles with ‘Christ imagery’
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Pence tweet for Holocaust remembrance day raises hackles with ‘Christ imagery’

US VP accused of dishonoring victims after he called them 'martyrs' who 'rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves'

US Vice President Mike Pence, 2nd left, and his wife Karen, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 2nd right, and his wife Sara during a ceremony at the remembrance hall at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, on January 23, 2018. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Yad Vashem)
US Vice President Mike Pence, 2nd left, and his wife Karen, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 2nd right, and his wife Sara during a ceremony at the remembrance hall at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, on January 23, 2018. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Yad Vashem)

US 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 honor the victims.

The tweet posted Saturday included a short video clip showing Pence, an Evangelical Christian, 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 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,” 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 dishonors the memories of the 6 million by co-opting them for the political agenda of his evangelical base,” tweeted Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe.

“It’s from Pence’s religious perspective that my murdered family members might be resurrected. But they and I forcefully reject that cosmology. We don’t believe what he believes. Believe what you want, man, but I’d appreciate it if you could leave 6 million dead Jews out of it,” read another tweet from someone with the handle Ari Kohen, First of His Name.

The wording chosen by Pence, however, is similar to Hebrew translations of the terms, which are commonly used in Israel.

Resurrection is a translation of the Hebrew word tekuma, which also means rebirth or revival and is used to describe the establishment of the State of Israel after the Holocaust, the Haaretz daily pointed out. And the word martyrs, in Hebrew kedoshim, is a term used in Israel to describe victims of the Holocaust. The official name for Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust memorial day, is Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

Pence returned last week from a visit to Jordan, Egypt and Israel.

During his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Pence and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and their spouses walked amid the displays, listening as museum officials described the site remembering six million Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Pence solemnly observed the memorial’s Hall of Names, wrote an inscription in a guestbook, and participated in a ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance.

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