Marc H. Ellis is Director of the Center for American and Jewish Studies at Baylor University, a Baptist university in Waco, Texas. Of Jewish heritage, Ellis is honored and widely cited as an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel authority by Holocaust deniers such as the recently deported Canadian Nazi, Ernst Zundel. Though Ellis has never formally endorsed Holocaust denial himself, he has hosted Holocaust denier Norman Finkelstein on numerous occasions, such as at the 2nd Dallas Palestinian Film Festival (sponsored by United for Peace and Justice) in September 2004. In addition, Ellis and Finkelstein sit together on the boards of a number of anti-Israel groups such as the Deir Yassin Remembered organization, which also includes among its members PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi and the convicted Israeli spy Mordecai Vanunu.
Ellis has publicly endorsed Finkelstein’s book, The Holocaust Industry, as well as Finkelstein’s ad hominem attacks on Nobel Prize-winning writer and concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel. Ellis is proud of his collaboration with Finkelstein and endorses the latter’s activities against Israel.
Ellis holds a Ph.D. from Marquette University in Milwaukee. His first position after graduation was at the Maryknoll School of Theology in New York, a Jesuit institution that is not accredited as a research university but is a center of “liberation theology” (Marxized Christianity). In 1998 Ellis became a full professor at Baylor University, where today he is the lone faculty member in the American and Jewish Studies program (whose website lists endorsements by a “Christian feminist theologian,” but not by a single Jewish scholar).
Professor Ellis has published a series of books, all largely promoting an admixture of liberation theology, his own thoughts about the Holocaust, and Israel’s alleged record of “inhumane crimes.” Most of Ellis’ books have been published by Fortress Press, a non-academic church publisher associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Ellis sits on the editorial board of Michael Lerner‘s Tikkun magazine, a leftist periodical that promotes a blend of Marxism, New Age liberation theology, and a brand of Judaism that is antagonistic toward Israel’s policies.
A regular speaker on the lecture circuit, Ellis commonly criticizes Israel before Christian audiences. He is also highly sought-after as a speaker for Palestine “solidarity” events.
Insisting that Jews have abandoned their “prophetic ethics,” Ellis contends that Israel’s existence is not justified by whatever suffering Jews may have endured during the Holocaust. In his view, the only massacres of any relevance are those allegedly perpetrated by Israel. He insists, for example, that Jenin and Deir Yassin (neither of which was in fact a massacre) are the moral equivalents of the Nazi Holocaust.
Professor Ellis is openly contemptuous of any talk about Jews being in need of national empowerment. In his view, such propositions constitute “Constantinian Judaism” whose aim is to conscript religion to serve the agendas of a militarist state.
Ellis is a passionate endorser of the “One-State Solution,” in which Israel will simply be eliminated as a Jewish state and will be enfolded within a larger Palestinian-dominated state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Ellis also has authored such books as Ending Auschwitz: The Future of Jewish and Christian Life (1994), and Israel and Palestine: Out of the Ashes(2003), the latter of which purports to be about the “lessons of the Holocaust” for resolving the Arab-Israeli war.
Ellis himself sums up in his own words the “lesson” he draws from the Holocaust:
“To have the Holocaust [become] part of Jewish success, to have the victims of the Holocaust become part of Jewish empowerment, is unsettling. To speak of the Holocaust without confessing our sins towards the Palestinian people and seeking a real justice with them is a hypocrisy that debases us as Jews.”
This profile is adapted from the article “Baylor University’s Anti-Jewish Liberation Theologian,” written by Steven Plaut and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on May 5, 2005.