— by Rabbi Jack Moline, NJDC executive director
The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced the launch of a new start-up lab called “Para Bellum Labs, America!” The phrase “parabellum” was used by a German arms manufacturer as a name for its signature guns: first, the light machine gun used by the Kaiser’s best during World War I, and then its most iconic gun: the Parabellum Pistole, or the “Luger pistol.”
Frankly, I am astounded and sorely disappointed that the RNC would put so little thought into the message of their new venture. Using the phrasing “para bellum” not only exploits horrific symbolism, but also communicates a fatalist & violent message toward any who differ with you.
The RNC should immediately repudiate the name of this venture, denounce the approach it suggests, and apologize to all the people this names offends — those of the Greatest Generation, those who have ever been victims of gun violence, and those in the Jewish community and beyond who were victims of the Nazi genocide.