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October 12, 2015 5

Why the Holocaust Has No Place in the Gun Debate

By Jonathan Green­blatt
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

With the cam­paign sea­son in full swing, the debate over gun con­trol laws once again has taken cen­ter stage. As the can­di­dates reacted to the sense­less mass shoot­ing in Ore­gon two weeks ago, an old meme about guns, Hitler and the Holo­caust resurfaced.

The argu­ment goes some­thing like this: If Jews and oth­ers had had freer access to more guns in the run up to Hitler’s assum­ing power and had been able to use those guns to fight back against the Third Reich, then there wouldn’t have been a Holo­caust, or far fewer would have per­ished. This his­tor­i­cal second-guessing is deeply offen­sive to Jews, Holo­caust sur­vivors and those who valiantly fought against Hitler dur­ing World War II. It is, in fact, as many his­to­ri­ans have pre­vi­ously noted, a dis­tor­tion of his­tory itself.

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ben Car­son was the most recent to make this out­ra­geous point last week dur­ing an inter­view with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Since then, he’s taken a lot of heat, and for good rea­son. But he’s cer­tainly not the first per­son to make the assertion.

ADL has responded to this talk­ing point count­less times since it first sur­faced in 2013, when there were a slew of Holo­caust and Nazi analo­gies as part of the gun debate. But it was a fringe idea then — and it deserves to be rel­e­gated to the fringe now, not given the cour­tesy of a main­stream con­ver­sa­tion. These are the facts:

  • Guns or lack of them did not cause the Holo­caust. The Holo­caust was the prod­uct of anti-Semitism and the moral fail­ure and indif­fer­ence of humans.
  • It is mind-bending to sug­gest that per­sonal firearms in the hands of the small num­ber of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000 remain­ing in Ger­many in 1938) could have stopped the total­i­tar­ian onslaught of Nazi Ger­many when the armies of Poland, France, Bel­gium and numer­ous other coun­tries were over­whelmed by the Third Reich.
  • Despite the over­whelm­ing mil­i­tary force of the Nazi regime, there were thou­sands of brave civil­ians — Jew­ish and gen­tile — who indeed often resisted with every fiber of their being. Unfor­tu­nately, arm­ing every Euro­pean Jew would not have been enough to stop an evil force that was only over­come by the mil­i­tary might of the Allies.

Amer­i­cans are enti­tled to express strong opin­ions about divi­sive issues. But Dr. Car­son and oth­ers should stick to the facts. When you manip­u­late the his­tory of the Holo­caust and use it to score polit­i­cal points, its wholly inap­pro­pri­ate and offen­sive. Espe­cially for the sake of the vic­tims of the Nazi onslaught and their mem­ory, it must stop.

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October 9, 2015 2

Terror in Israel, A Reality We Know Too Well

By: Car­ole Nuriel, ADL’s Jerusalem Office

Over the past two weeks, a wave of ter­ror has once again hit Israel. For those of us who grew up in Israel dur­ing the 1980s, this is an unfor­tu­nate real­ity we know all too well. Israelis suf­fered through two intifadas, waves of ter­ror attacks includ­ing sui­cide bombs, shoot­ings, run-over attacks, stone throw­ing and Molo­tov cock­tails. Yet there is a feel­ing now that this par­tic­u­lar wave of ter­ror is dif­fer­ent. There are a few rea­sons for this:

•       The ter­ror­ists’ pro­file: They come both from Pales­tin­ian areas in the West Bank and from Israeli Arab communities

•       Most of them are rel­a­tively young, some even teenagers

Obvi­ously, another change is the use of social media:  some of the ter­ror­ists have declared their inten­tion to carry out attacks on social media. This tool, which has become the new “city square”, pro­vides a plat­form for recruit­ment, incite­ment, how-tos, as well as for orga­niz­ing crowds to demon­strate and riot against Israeli secu­rity forces.

Israel violence

In many ways, this wave of vio­lence rep­re­sents an on-the-ground ver­sion of the recent Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, which indis­crim­i­nately tar­geted Israeli civil­ians through­out the coun­try. This wave may have started in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but quickly caught fire to the rest of the coun­try, and is now tar­get­ing cities like Kiryat Gat, Petach Tikva, Tel Aviv and Afula. Much like Hamas’ rock­ets, much of the fear Israelis are now feel­ing is because of the sense that no place in the coun­try is immune from ter­ror attacks.

Anx­i­ety is felt every­where, as is the nature of ter­ror­ism. I live in Modi’in and have taken Road 443 to Jerusalem daily for the past eight years. How­ever, dur­ing the last few months I haven’t felt safe dri­ving on 443, espe­cially with my kids, as there have been numer­ous stone and Molo­tov cock­tail throw­ing inci­dents on this road. I now feel safer tak­ing High­way 1, even though it means a longer drive to Jerusalem. Indeed, many Modi’in res­i­dents don’t drive on 443 any­more. Some­thing has def­i­nitely changed. Just today, I received a notice that secu­rity check­points will be erected at all entrances to the city, and secu­rity in all edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions will be increased.

Polls have shown that there is a gen­eral pub­lic con­sen­sus among Pales­tini­ans against ter­ror­ism. But last week we wit­nessed another kind of evil, one which greatly wor­ries me. Dur­ing Sat­ur­day night’s ter­ri­ble stab­bing in the Old City of Jerusalem, Adele Ben­nett, whose hus­band was killed and she her­self stabbed, was report­edly spat on and laughed at by Arab bystanders as she ran to get help with a knife still in her back. What can be more insult­ing, upset­ting and inhu­mane than this inde­cent act?

But this is not only about ter­ror, it’s also about incite­ment to vio­lence. Many of those riot­ing claim Israel is attempt­ing to change the sta­tus quo on Tem­ple Mount. This holy place to both Judaism and Islam has been the focus of clashes and provo­ca­tions for years. It is hard to ignore the dan­ger­ous actions and dis­course of the Islamic Move­ment in Israel, who have sup­ported the Murabitun/Murabitat group, whose sole pur­pose is to pro­voke and insult Jews vis­it­ing the Tem­ple Mount. Incite­ment has also come from senior Pales­tin­ian Author­ity offi­cials, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas who infa­mously declared in a tele­vi­sion inter­view a few weeks ago that Jews are defil­ing the Tem­ple Mount with their feet.

Today more than ever, reli­gious and polit­i­cal lead­ers must under­stand how eas­ily their incit­ing words can lead to vio­lence and terrorism.

There are ongo­ing efforts among Israeli and Pales­tin­ian lead­ers to deesca­late ten­sions. Israelis hope and pray that this will be suc­cess­ful, and that the per­sonal secu­rity will be restored.

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October 9, 2015 2

Nationwide Anti-Muslim Rallies Expected This Weekend 

The main Facebook page for the anti-Muslim rally.

The main Face­book page for the rally

Anti-Muslim big­ots have announced plans for ral­lies pri­mar­ily tar­get­ing mosques across the coun­try this week­end, rais­ing con­cerns over how big­ots can gen­er­ate atten­tion  for their cause and harm the com­mu­ni­ties they target.

Unlike more well-known anti-Muslim groups and lead­ers like the Amer­i­can Free­dom Defense Ini­tia­tive and Pamela Geller, who have planned events around the coun­try for years, this weekend’s planned ral­lies are dri­ven by a col­lec­tion of less well-known, loosely affil­i­ated individuals.

Billed as a “Global Rally For Human­ity,” the events’ pri­mary Face­book page encour­ages sup­port­ers to set up their own Face­book event pages to enable other sup­port­ers to orga­nize ral­lies where they live. The page notes, “Remem­ber to do your home­work and find a local mosque in your area so you can pub­lish the loca­tion. Good Luck and wel­come to the Global Rally For Humanity!”

The weekend’s planned ral­lies are mod­eled after a sim­i­lar rally in May orga­nized in Phoenix by Jon Ritzheimer, who encour­aged atten­dees to bring their weapons to a protest out­side of the Islamic Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Phoenix.

Some of the ral­lies this week­end are sim­i­larly billed as “open-carry events,” which fur­ther raises con­cerns over the types of intim­i­da­tion tac­tics that might be used and the poten­tial for violence.

Ritzheimer, who has said he is orga­niz­ing one of the ral­lies this week­end, has taken to social media to deliver angry and often inco­her­ent mes­sages with under­ly­ing cur­rents of mil­i­tancy and big­otry. In a July 25 Face­book post, for exam­ple, Ritzheimer wrote: “To all my broth­ers. Be ready for vengeance and be ready to drink beer from the skulls of our enemy. I am the Infi­del Allah warned you about!”

Rizheimer was pre­vi­ously affil­i­ated with the Oath Keep­ers, an anti-government right-wing move­ment which later dis­tanced itself from his mes­sages and report­edly removed him from the group after he called for the arrest of Sen­a­tor Deb­bie Stabenow of Michigan.

Some of the ral­lies this week­end claim to be in response to the planned Nation of Islam (NOI) Jus­tice or Else Mil­lion Man March in DC, as well as a wide range of other seem­ingly unre­lated issues, includ­ing Syr­ian refugee reset­tle­ment and the Iran deal.

ADL has expressed con­cern and shared infor­ma­tion about the ral­lies with Law Enforcement.

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