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October 12, 2015 28

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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September 10, 2015 7

Arabic-Language Anti-Semitic “Jewish Encyclopedia” For Sale On Amazon

The Jews, The Illustrated Encyclopedia

“The Jews, The Illus­trated Encyclopedia”

Unlike most ency­clo­pe­dias, which attempt to offer unbi­ased con­tent on a sub­ject, the Arabic-language book, Al Yahood  Al Maw­sua Al Musawra  [The Jews, The Illus­trated Ency­clo­pe­dia] by Dr. Tareq Al-Suwaidan states a dif­fer­ent goal in its intro­duc­tion: to help learn about Jews and “their wicked­ness, trea­son, and decep­tion which they prac­ticed with all nations so not to be deceived by them and by their promises of false peace.”

The book, which is cur­rently avail­able on Ama­zon for $53.00, includes clas­sic anti-Semitic nar­ra­tives, Holo­caust denial, and other fal­lac­ies to defame Jews. The book ded­i­cates entire sec­tions to dis­cussing how Jews con­trol the media and pol­i­tics, while another chap­ter explains how Jews exploit women.

The intro­duc­tion of this ency­clo­pe­dia includes 11 points described as “The Book Goals,” which sum­ma­rize the anti-Semitic nature of this ency­clo­pe­dia. For exam­ple, one goal is “to learn about the most hos­tile ene­mies of the Ummah [Mus­lim nation]” and to “prove with evi­dence that the Jew­ish faith, which was fal­si­fied, encour­ages them to betray and deceive. It plants in their souls that they are a unique group of humans and they are allowed to exploit oth­ers in the most wicked ways.”

Under a sec­tion ded­i­cated to dis­cussing the Holo­caust, the ency­clo­pe­dia states, “Through huge media and pro­pa­ganda cam­paigns, the Jews used what hap­pened at the hands of the Nazis, to a small num­ber of them, to gain emo­tional and finan­cial sup­port from states around the world.” This sec­tion also claims the well-documented num­ber of Jews who were killed in the Holo­caust may have been greatly exag­ger­ated, cit­ing claims the num­ber was not 6 mil­lion, but rather less than 20,000.

The encyclopedia’s first chap­ter about Jew­ish his­tory con­cludes with a text box that sum­ma­rizes„ “This demon­strates that most of the world’s nations couldn’t live in har­mony with the Jews because of the low char­ac­ter­is­tics they carry, such as the ill treat­ment of oth­ers, decep­tion, greed and vorac­ity which keeps resurg­ing over the ages.”

The Jews, The Illus­trated Ency­clo­pe­dia is not the only anti-Semitic book sold by online retail­ers such as Ama­zon. How­ever, noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic books sold online, such as the Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion, are often sold with an edi­to­r­ial review, that explains the anti-Semitic nature of the book. ADL is cur­rently in con­tact with Ama­zon regard­ing includ­ing a sim­i­lar edi­to­r­ial review in Ara­bic for The Jews, The Illus­trated Ency­clo­pe­dia to con­tex­tu­al­ize the encyclopedia’s true nature to the Arab reader.

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August 26, 2015 0

Holocaust Analogies Continue To Taint Discourse On Wide Range Of Issues

The charged polit­i­cal debates over issues rang­ing from Iran to abor­tion con­tinue to be tainted by inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery.huckabee-israel-holocaust-oven-tweet-twitter

These mis­placed and offen­sive com­par­isons, made by politi­cians, pun­dits, and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures,  triv­i­al­ize this unique tragedy in human his­tory.  They not only rely on his­tor­i­cally incor­rect premises and exag­ger­a­tions, but also deflect atten­tion away from impor­tant national discussions.

For exam­ple, U.S. Sen­a­tor and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ted Cruz recently sent let­ters to pas­tors through­out the U.S. to encour­age them to speak out against Planned Par­ent­hood, claim­ing that abor­tion rep­re­sents an “ongo­ing holo­caust.” Of course, invok­ing the Holo­caust in the dis­cus­sions on abor­tion is noth­ing new.

The Iran deal is also an area where offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies have been increas­ingly crop­ping up. On July 26, for exam­ple, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mike Huck­abee stated in an inter­view that Pres­i­dent Obama’s poli­cies on Iran will “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Huckabee’s cam­paign also high­lighted this inap­pro­pri­ate com­par­i­son in a graphic on Twitter.

The analo­gies are not only used by politi­cians.  In a sign of how our pub­lic dis­course has coars­ened, crit­ics of pub­lic offi­cials also invoke Nazi analo­gies.  When New York Con­gress­man Jer­rold Nadler pub­licly sup­ported the pro­posed agree­ment on Iran, he report­edly was swamped with hate­ful mes­sages on social media.  One com­men­ta­tor referred to him as a “kappo,” a ref­er­ence to Jews who worked for the Nazis in con­cen­tra­tion camps.  curt-schilling-muslims-hitler-tweet-twitter

The Holo­caust com­par­isons are not lim­ited to the polit­i­cal world either. On August 25, ESPN “Sun­day Night Base­ball” ana­lyst and for­mer major league pitcher Curt Schilling shared a post on Twit­ter that com­pared extrem­ist Mus­lims to Nazis. The tweet sug­gested that a sim­i­lar per­cent­age of Mus­lims are extrem­ists as Ger­mans were Nazis. It also included an image of Hitler.

Such inap­pro­pri­ate Holo­caust ref­er­ences seem to sur­face around almost any con­tro­ver­sial issue. For exam­ple, dur­ing the charged polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol in the after­math of the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing, there was a flurry of inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery by pub­lic fig­ures.  Oppo­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Obama’s Afford­able Care Act engen­dered sim­i­larly offen­sive comparisons.

Pub­lic dis­course today is seri­ously lack­ing in civil­ity and respect for dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on impor­tant issues.  One unfor­tu­nate exam­ple of this lack of civil­ity is repeated inap­pro­pri­ate ref­er­ences to the Holo­caust.  It is long past time for pub­lic offi­cials and pub­lic offi­cials to stop invok­ing the Holo­caust in an effort to score polit­i­cal points.

* As a 501(c )(3) non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

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