Pence tweet for Holocaust remembrance day angers some with ‘Christ imagery’


U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, were joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at Yad Vashem on Jan. 23, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO)

(JTA) — 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 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 coopting 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 is similar to Hebrew translations of the terms, which are commonly used in Israel, according to Haaretz.

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, Haaretz points out. And the word martyr, in Hebrew kedoshim, is a term used in Israel to describe victims of the Holocaust. The official name for Yom Hashoa, Israel’s Holocaust memorial day, is Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

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