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January 24, 2013 8

Holocaust Imagery Taints Gun Control Debate

Update 1/17/14: The polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol con­tin­ues to be marked by the inap­pro­pri­ate use of Holo­caust imagery by some gun advo­cates. Musi­cian and gun advo­cate Ted Nugent com­pared film pro­ducer Har­vey Wein­stein to a Nazi pro­pa­gan­dist.

Update 3/5/12: The list of inap­pro­pri­ate Holo­caust analo­gies regard­ing gun con­trol con­tin­ues to grow. NRA Pres­i­dent David Keene defended the depic­tion of New York Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuomo as Hitler at a rally in Albany protest­ing new state gun reg­u­la­tions. In an inter­view on March 1, Keene said, “Folks that are cog­nizant of the his­tory, not just in Ger­many but else­where, look back to the his­tory, and say we can’t let that sort of thing hap­pen here.”

The charged polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol in the after­math of the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing con­tin­ues to be tainted by inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery.

These com­par­isons, made by polit­i­cal pun­dits on national news pro­grams as well by oth­ers out­side pol­i­tics, are not only mis­placed and offen­sive, rely­ing on fac­tu­ally incor­rect premises and exag­ger­a­tions, but also deflect atten­tion away from an impor­tant national discussion.

One anal­ogy sug­gests that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is some­how rem­i­nis­cent of Hitler because of his gun con­trol pro­pos­als. For exam­ple, on Jan­u­ary 9, the home­page of The Drudge Report fea­tured an image of Hitler and Stalin with the cap­tion “WHITE HOUSE THREATENSEXECUTIVE ORDERSON GUNS.”

A sim­i­lar com­par­i­son was made by Ohio State Board of Edu­ca­tion Pres­i­dent Debe Tehrar, who posted a num­ber of pro-gun and anti-Obama mes­sages on her Face­book page, includ­ing a photo of Hitler with the cap­tion: “Never for­get what this tyrant said: ‘To con­quer a nation, first dis­arm its cit­i­zens.’ — Adolf Hitler.”

Another com­mon theme that has emerged in recent weeks is that if only the vic­tims of the Holo­caust had bet­ter access to guns, the Nazi regime would not have been able to sys­tem­at­i­cally mur­der so many people.

For exam­ple, Fox News’ Andrew Napoli­tano made this argu­ment in a Jan­u­ary 10 col­umn on FoxNews.com. Napoli­tano wrote that, “If the Jews in the War­saw ghetto had had the fire­power and ammu­ni­tion that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more per­sons would have sur­vived the Holocaust.”

Indi­vid­u­als on the fringes of the polit­i­cal debate also have weighed in with this nar­ra­tive. In a Jan­u­ary 15 col­umn for the web­site World­Net­Daily, dis­graced for­mer Major League Base­ball pitcher John Rocker wrote that “the Holo­caust would have never taken place had the Jew­ish cit­i­zenry of Hitler’s Ger­many had the right to bear arms and defended them­selves with those arms.”

It should be noted that the small num­ber of per­sonal firearms in the hands of the small num­ber of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remain­ing in Ger­many in 1938 could in no way have stopped the total­i­tar­ian power of the Nazi Ger­man state. When they had weapons, Jews could sym­bol­i­cally resist, as they did in the 1943 War­saw Upris­ing and else­where, but could not stop the Nazi geno­cide machine. Gun con­trol did not cause the Holo­caust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.

Invok­ing the Holo­caust in dis­cus­sions of con­tro­ver­sial issues is noth­ing new. Con­spir­acy the­o­rist Lyn­don LaRouche, leader of a fringe polit­i­cal cult that defies cat­e­go­riza­tion, and his sup­port­ers have con­tributed to the divi­sive­ness sur­round­ing the pub­lic debate on health care reform by pro­duc­ing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing mate­ri­als com­par­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and other gov­ern­ment offi­cials to Hitler, Nazis and fas­cists.

Offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies have also been used by Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans alike on a num­ber of issues, and by pub­lic fig­ures from var­i­ous sec­tors of soci­ety when dis­cussing top­ics rang­ing from abor­tion to ani­mal rights to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict to LGBT rights.

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November 20, 2012 3

End the Nazi Occupation in Gaza”: A Round-Up Of U.S. Anti-Israel Protests On November 19

Close to two dozen anti-Israel ral­lies took place across the United States on Mon­day, from Greens­boro to Gainesville, Seat­tle to Santa Cruz. Nearly half of Monday’s demon­stra­tions occurred on uni­ver­sity and col­lege cam­puses, an indi­ca­tion of how student-driven the anti-Israel reac­tion is to the lat­est round of vio­lence tak­ing place in the Mid­dle East.

Below is a sam­pling of yesterday’s anti-Israel protests:

New Brunswick, NJ

At Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity, a state uni­ver­sity with more than 50,000 stu­dents, a rally orga­nized by Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine drew approx­i­mately 150 demon­stra­tors to Brower Com­mons. One of the signs dis­played by stu­dents read, “It would be my great­est sad­ness to see Zion­ists do to Pales­tini­ans much of what Nazis did to Jews.” Demon­stra­tors also chanted “Intifada, Intifada” dur­ing the evening protest.

At least four rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion, par­tic­i­pated in and spoke at the rally. Jew­ish anti-Zionist groups often view their role as “pro­tect­ing” the anti-Israel move­ment from alle­ga­tions of anti-Semitism. It seemed to work here. Shortly after the protest ended, sev­eral stu­dents expressed how happy they were to have the Neturei Karta rep­re­sen­ta­tives, with one stu­dent not­ing, “I’m tired of being crit­i­cized as an anti-Semite for hav­ing crit­i­cal views of Israel, when in fact I have no qualms with our Jew­ish broth­ers and sis­ters, but rather an apartheid nation.”

San Fran­cisco, CA

A rally out­side the Israeli Con­sulate drew activists from Jew­ish Voice for Peace who held ban­ners and signs that read “The Siege of Gaza Betrays Jew­ish Val­ues” and “Israelis Against War and Apartheid.”

Chicago, IL

More than 300 demon­stra­tors ral­lied out­side a Fed­eral Build­ing in Chicago and then pro­ceeded to march to Daley Plaza, chant­ing “From the river to the sea, Pales­tine will be free.” Speak­ers alleged that Israel is a “ter­ror­ist state,” a “bru­tal killing machine” and that Jerusalem is “occu­pied.” One young woman held a sign that read, “End the Nazi Occu­pa­tion in Gaza!” The same sign also showed the Israeli flag with a large red swastika drawn over it and the words “real ter­ror­ists.” The rally attracted the sup­port of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, Chicago Move­ment for Pales­tin­ian Rights, Coun­cil of Islamic Orga­ni­za­tions of Greater Chicago, Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Group, US Pales­tin­ian Com­mu­nity Net­work and Jew­ish Voice for Peace.

Ithaca, NY

Anti-Israel stu­dents at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity squared off against pro-Israel stu­dents who were hold­ing a rally to sup­port Israel’s actions and then marched across cam­pus chant­ing, “Hey Netanyahu, what do you say, how many kids did you kill today?” “Brick by brick, wall by wall, Israel’s apartheid’s got to fall” and “When peo­ple are occu­pied, resis­tance is jus­ti­fied.” The rally, called “Sol­i­dar­ity from Ithaca to Gaza,” was heav­ily attended by Jew­ish anti-Zionists, includ­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Jew­ish Voice for Peace-Ithaca who held signs that read, “Jew­ish Voice for Peace Says Divest From the Occu­pa­tion” and “I am another Jew opposed to Israeli attacks on civilians.”

Tal­la­has­see, FL

The Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine chap­ter at Florida State Uni­ver­sity orga­nized a protest that drew sev­eral dozen stu­dents. The stu­dents held signs that read, “Resist Zion­ism and Impe­ri­al­ism,” “Sup­port Peace, Defend Gaza” and “Denounc­ing Israel’s War Crimes is not Anti-Semitic.” One of the lead­ers of SJP was inter­viewed by local media and said, “We’re out here because Pales­tini­ans are being bru­tal­ized, are being bombed, are being killed every sin­gle day with Amer­i­can tax dol­lars and we think that’s inher­ently wrong.” He also apol­o­gized for Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ism, say­ing it is the result of how “mis­er­able and hope­less” the Pales­tini­ans feel and pre­dicted that the “extrem­ism” will only end when the sit­u­a­tion for Pales­tini­ans improves.

For infor­ma­tion about other anti-Israel protests that have taken place since the start of Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense, please see these pre­vi­ous posts:

“Israel should be Ended Once and For All,” “Cru­cify Him, Cru­cify Them…Israel’s Pol­icy:” A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S., Novem­ber 17–18

Demon­stra­tors at Anti-Israel Ral­lies: “Gaza is the Real Holo­caust,” “Long live the Intifada!”

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November 19, 2012 0

Israel should be Ended Once and For All,” “Crucify Him, Crucify Them…Israel’s Policy:” A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S., November 17–18

Over the week­end, more than two dozen anti-Israel protests were held in cities across the United States. Below is a round-up of the extreme mes­sages and signs that were on dis­play at just a small sam­pling of these demonstrations.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17

New Haven, CT

Approx­i­mately two dozen pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the New Haven cour­t­house and then pro­ceeded to march in down­town New Haven. An activist with the ANSWER Coali­tion addressed the crowd first and said, “We’re here to say to peo­ple that Israel should be ended once and for all.” She also advo­cated for Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) and encour­aged the crowd to fight “U.S. impe­ri­al­ism.” Pro­test­ers engaged in chants of “From the river to the sea, Pales­tine will be free!,” “Long live Intifada!,” and “Viva, Viva Palestina.” They held signs that read, “Resist Zion­ism and Impe­ri­al­ism” and “Israel – Guilty of war crimes.”

Fort Laud­erdale, FL

About 150 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the United States Fed­eral Cour­t­house in Fort Laud­erdale hold­ing signs that read “This isn’t war, this is geno­cide,” “Stop the new Holo­caust,” and “Apartheid+occupation=Israel.” Other signs read “Stop the Pales­tin­ian Holo­caust by Israel,” “If 9/11 deserves a moment of silence… Then Pales­tine deserves to never speak again,” and “The geno­cide goes on. Gaza needs your voice NOW.”

Activists at the rally chanted a vari­ety of slo­gans includ­ing “Hey hey, ho ho, this occu­pa­tion has gotta go!” “From the [Jor­dan] River to the [Mediter­ranean] Sea, Pales­tine will be free!” and “Gaza will never die! Free, free Gaza!” A par­tic­i­pant at the protest wore a t-shirt that said “Stop the Pales­tin­ian Holo­caust by Israel.”

Austin, TX

Activists demon­strated out­side the Texas Capi­tol build­ing for a rally called “Austin stands with Gaza.” Signs at the rally included “Israel is killing chil­dren in Gaza, stop U.S. com­plic­ity,” “Zion­ism is racism,” “Zion­ism is theft and anti-Semitic ter­ror,” and “Stop Israeli ter­ror­ism!” In addi­tion, a young child at the rally held a sign that said “Chil­dren like me are being killed with your tax dollars.”

Chants at the rally included “Netanyahu go to Hell, USA of Israel,” “Self-defense is a lie, what they do is geno­cide!” “The Pales­tini­ans are oppressed, boy­cott, sanc­tions, divest!” and “From Pales­tine to Mex­ico, all the walls of have got to go.” The lat­est chant refers to an increased effort by anti-Israel activists to link the Pales­tin­ian strug­gle with immi­grant issues in the U.S. and the U.S.-Mexico bor­der fence.

San Fran­cisco, CA

Approx­i­mately 100 pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the Israeli Con­sulate for the third straight day. Signs were held that said “Stop U.S.-Israeli geno­cide,” “Free Pales­tine, sup­port the right of return,” and “Stop Israel’s slaugh­ter in Gaza. Cut off all U.S. Aid.”

Fol­low­ing the demon­stra­tion out­side of the Con­sulate, activists marched to Union Square chant­ing var­i­ous slo­gans includ­ing “Long live the intifada, intifada, intifada,” “No peace, no state,” “While you’re shop­ping bombs are drop­ping,” and “not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!”

 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Pro­test­ers gath­ered at the Israeli Embassy hold­ing signs that read, “Obama Grow a Spine End the Geno­cide in Pales­tine! Quit Being Israel’s Pup­pet,” “G-d’s ‘Cho­sen Peo­ple’ Guilty of War Crimes,” “Is Wash­ing­ton Under Israeli Occu­pa­tion?” and “Cru­cify Him, Cru­cify Them…Israel’s Pol­icy,” which seemed to sug­gest that Israel was respon­si­ble for Jesus’s death. Other signs that were printed by some of the anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions that coor­di­nated the rally read, “Stop Israel’s Slaugh­ter in Gaza” and “End the Siege on Gaza.”

Press TV, an English-language Iran­ian news sta­tion, inter­viewed some of the pro­test­ers who used extreme and inac­cu­rate lan­guage to con­demn Israel, includ­ing describ­ing Gaza as a “land prison” and claim­ing that Israel “mas­sa­cred thou­sands of civil­ians” in Gaza dur­ing Oper­a­tion Cast Lead.  

New York

Approx­i­mately 500 peo­ple demon­stra­tors gath­ered in Times Square hold­ing signs that read “Israel is a ter­ror­ist state” and “Judaism Yes! Zion­ism No! State of Israel Must Go.” The lat­ter sign was held by a mem­ber of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion that is a fix­ture at anti-Israel ral­lies in New York and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. A sep­a­rate pro­tester who was inter­viewed by FarsNews, an offi­cial Iran­ian agency, said that Israel is able to “get away with it” because of the U.S.: “Amer­ica is the real ter­ror­ist state and as long as Amer­ica uncon­di­tion­ally sup­ports Israel, the blood of Pales­tini­ans will con­tinue to be shed.”

San Diego

An anti-Israel protest to counter a pro-Israel event was orga­nized by the Al-Awda chap­ter in San Diego. After the event ended, the leader of the group posted a mes­sage on Face­book thank­ing peo­ple for attend­ing the protest. The  activist, Zahi Damuni, wrote that par­tic­i­pants in the pro-Israel rally were a “lot of obnox­ious racist peo­ple” and that the counter-protest “damp­ened the cel­e­bra­tion of the car­nage that their Zion­ist racist state is com­mit­ting.” He also called for all of Pales­tine to be free “from the River to the Sea,” which is a call for the destruc­tion of the state of Israel.

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