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October 12, 2015

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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July 25, 2014

Anti-Semitism On Display: Two Weeks of U.S. Anti-Israel Protests

In the 15 days of protests against Israel’s response to the latest round of rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza, there have been a total of 134 anti-Israel demonstrations held in cities throughout the U.S. Many of these demonstrations featured anti-Semitism with many comparisons made between the State of Israel and Nazi Germany. In addition, some of the rallies have featured content in support of Hamas and overall Palestinian “resistance.”



1. California

The state with the most anti-Israel demonstrations was California where there were 19 different protests held in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chico, and Santa Cruz. Quite a few of these demonstrations featured signs that compared the State of Israel to Nazi Germany. In San Francisco an Israeli flag was burned. In Los Angeles, a demonstrator held a sign that read “That Jew-Jew Lame shit I ain’t with it Israel you better quit it Gaza-za #FreePalestine.”





2. New York

Ten anti-Israel demonstrations have taken place in New York State in cities such as New York, Syracuse, and Buffalo. At these demonstrations, some participants held up anti-Semitic signs and certain speakers called for the destruction of the State of Israel and defended the terrorist group Hamas.



3. Ohio and Washington

In Ohio and Washington State, there were nine separate anti-Israel demonstrations held in cities including Cleveland, Toledo, Seattle and Olympia. In both states, protesters held anti-Semitic signs that made comparisons between the State of Israel and Nazi Germany and alleged Israeli control over the American government. “Die-ins” were also held in both states.




4. Texas

Eight anti-Israel demonstrations took place in cities such as San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Protesters held signs that read “They’re both the same” (written next to pictures of Adolf Hitler, an equals sign, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), “We’re seeing Israel’s incremental genocide in the Gaza ghetto,” and “End the Palestine Holocaust.”



5. Florida and Washington, D.C.

Seven separate anti-Israel demonstrations took place across Florida and in Washington, D.C. Protesters attended these demonstrations holding signs that read “Adolf Netanyahu Hitler,” “One Holocaust doesn’t justify another!,” and “Gaza is the real Holocaust.” A sign that read, “Blaming Hamas 4 firing rockets @ Israel is like blaming a woman 4 hitting her rapist” appeared in Miami.





6. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts

There were six anti-Israel protests held in both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts in cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Boston. At these demonstrations, participants were seen with signs that read “Not even the Holocaust gives you the right to do this!” and “Do you think that Israel is a victim? Zionism = Nazism.” The sign “Blaming Hamas for firing rockets is like Blaming a woman who punches her RAPIST” also appeared at a rally in Philadelphia.




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July 23, 2014

Anti-Israel Protests in South America

Over the past ten days, there have been several anti-Israel demonstrations throughout Latin America protesting Israel’s military action in Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, some with messaging that crossed the line into anti-Semitism. At protests, signs comparing Israel to the Nazis were seen, participants spoke about Israel committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians in Gaza, and calls were issued on governments to break relations with Israel.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Argentinian Committee of Solidarity with Palestine organized a protest outside the Israeli Embassy where dozens of social, political, human rights and student groups participated. Tilda Rabi, President of the Federation of Argentine-Palestinian Entities, requested that the Argentinian government break relations with the Israeli government, remove Israel from the Free Trade Agreement with MERCOSUR, and stated that Argentina cannot be an accomplice to Israel’s “war crimes”.

In La Paz, Bolivia, a demonstration took place on July 11, where Israeli flags were burned and protestors were overheard saying “Enough with the genocide, Zionist State of Israel, for your political interests. They killed thousands of innocent people…”

In Santiago, Chile, a “We Are Palestine” protest took place on Saturday, July 19th where a number of groups protested in front of the Israeli and United States embassies. Omar Salame, President of the Union of Palestinian Students in Chile, said “Palestinian people are a victim of genocide,” and Chafik Lasen, President of the group “Palestine For All” said “Palestinians, we are suffering from genocide by the terrorist state of Israel, the largest terrorist state in the world.” Signs reading “Sionismo (Zionism) = Nazism” were displayed at the demonstration. Members of the Chilean Jewish community report experiencing harassment.

In Araucania, Chile, Romina Tuma, the daughter of Senator Eugenio Tuma, led an anti-Israel protest where around 200 people participated. The protest used the slogan “End the Massacre Against the Palestinian People,” and Tuma said that Israelis “are genocidal.” Israeli flags with a swastika and signs saying “Zionism = Nazism” were visible at the protest. In addition, protestors put red paint on an Israeli flag and later burned it.

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