I got an email yesterday from Savannah photographer and fellow outlaw Shalom School instructor Hannah Gaber Saletan that last week the University of Kentucky had “removed the Holocaust from its curriculum because it offended the Muslim population, who claims it never happened.” It quoted Winston Churchill and urged readers to forward the email to everyone in their inboxes so that the ignorance and hatred of the world could be met with … chain letters?
Now, I love my friend Hannah (who, apart from this small mistake, is very smart and responsible) and I’m as paranoid as the next Jew that the world might forget that Hitler murdered a third of Europe’s Jewish population a mere 60 years ago. But really, the Muslim population of Kentucky having that much sway? I think not.
The email’s a hoax, folks. It all started with last year’s uproar about Holocaust denial in Great Britain’s schools, a rumor that developed out of the difficulty of teaching reality to children with parents espousing fundamentalist Muslim rhetoric at home.
Some well-meaning doofus heard the rumor about a teaching ban on the Holocaust in the “UK” and, in typical self-centered American fashion, confused the United Kingdom with the University of Kentucky and wrote an email to everyone he or she knows. It’s like a perverse game of “telephone” with all the misinformation about the misinformation going off like bombs in people’s inboxes.
As for the much maligned faculty at UK, they want everyone to know they most certainly are teaching about the Holocaust:
In fact, Jeremy Popkin, one of UK’s top historians, has been teaching, without complaints, a course on the Holocaust that he created in 1979. UK was one of the first 10 to 20 schools in the country to offer such a course, and it started a Judaic studies program a decade ago.
Let’s stop the madness, people! Google your internet rumors before you send them on.
It is amazing to me how normally intelligent people send on emails without questioning their accuracy. I reply to friends and family alike after researching emails myself to let them know that they were fooled, but often the damage has been done since their emails were sent to 10 friends who sent to 10 friends and so on and so on. Thanks for the reminder to all of us to be diligent researchers before we misinform the masses…
As a Kentucky native, I can see how this misunderstanding would happen. UK=Bluegrass State. We know not of this United Kingdom you speak of.
In fact, my relatives could be the responsible parties. Sorry ’bout that.
That is a bit more than a little embarrassing.