Shirley MacLaine Criticized for Holocaust Question: Was It Victims' "Karma"?

Shirley MacLaine Red Carpet - P 2012
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Shirley MacLaine Red Carpet - P 2012

The actress asks if victims brought it upon themselves.

A controversial passage in Shirley MacLaine's book What If... is earning criticism from a group that fights anti-Semitism.

In her book, she rhetorically asks if victims of the Holocaust were somehow responsible for their fate.

‘What if most Holocaust victims were balancing their karma from ages before, when they were Roman soldiers putting Christians to death, the Crusaders who murdered millions in the name of Christianity, soldiers with Hannibal, or those who stormed across the Near East with Alexander?" she asks in the book. "The energy of killing is endless and will be experienced by the killer and the killee."

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A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, a group campaigning against anti-Semitism, said the words were offensive.

 "The first impressions are that these comments will offend and bemuse many Jews – and many others," the spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

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MacLaine has long espoused unconventional viewpoints, including her belief in UFOs. MacLaine's book, published in November 2013, includes her musings on a number of topics, all beginning with the premise of "what if?" Among the other questions she tackles is what if Stephen Hawking subconsciously gave himself the ALS he suffers from and musings about reincarnation.

Her rep declined to comment.