While Jewish groups have attacked U.S. President Donald Trump comparing him to Adolf Hitler and his presidency to Nazi Germany, other Jewish and anti-Semitism watchdog groups are speaking out against the use of such tactics.
The issue came to a head this week when Jewish Democratic Council of America released a 30-second commercial that juxtaposes images of Nazi Germany next to images of Trump and neo-Nazi rallies in America. To the backdrop of the word “Jude” (“Jew” in German), scrawled over buildings in Germany and photos of a synagogue in American defaced with graffiti, a narrator says: “History shows us what happens when leaders use hatred and nationalism to divide their people.”
“As antisemitism and white nationalism rise to dangerous levels in America, we are all less secure,” the narrator intoned. “It is time to show that we have learned from the darkest moments in history. Hate doesn’t stop itself: It must be stopped.”
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the ad.
“This has no place in the presidential race and is deeply offensive to the memories of 6M+ Jews systematically exterminated during the Shoah (the Hebrew word for Holocaust),” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO posted on Twitter. “[T]he hate [and] extremism in this race is alarming and should be repudiated unambiguously. Elected leaders who engage in lying, scapegoating, and routinely call for violence should be condemned, full stop. At the same time, we urge leaders & their surrogates to refrain from invoking the #Holocaust in the context of the current election. It is not the same. Stay focused on the issues.”
The Jerusalem Post also came to Trump’s defense noting that anyone with a record like he has on Israel can believe he is anti-Semitic.
“We do not believe – based on Trump’s very positive track record on Israel and steps his administration has taken to combat antisemitism in the US, as well as by the number of Jews in his immediate family and in his inner circle – that the US president is an antisemite,” the English language Israel based paper said in an op-ed.
The paper added that, “Those opposed to Trump have enough ammunition to use against him, having to do both with his behavior and his policies, without having to stoop to saying that he is an antisemite or a neo-Nazi sympathizer, or drawing comparisons between him and Hitler,” a Jerusalem Post editorial said.
“Disagree with Trump, even vehemently if you wish. Criticize his behavior and his policies. Jump all over him, deservedly so, for not being able to unreservedly condemn white supremacists in America. But don’t compare Trump to Hitler, or the situation facing America’s Jews to that which faced German Jewry in the 1930s. To do so is as much an over-exaggeration as it is wrong.”
Halie Soifer, the Jewish Democratic Council’s leader, defended the ad’s tone.
“We’re not calling Donald Trump a Nazi,” she said. “We are warning against the ominous parallel of the rise of Nazism and the use of hatred for political purposes and the numerous signs that Donald Trump is doing the same.”
Meanwhile, Democrat nominee Joe Biden compared Donald Trump to Joseph Goebbels, the infamous Nazi propagandist.
“He’s sort of like Goebbels. You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge,” Biden said in an MSNBC interview.
The Republican Jewish Coalition called on Biden to apologize.
“The rule in debate is that if your only argument is to call your opponent a Nazi, you have no argument at all. Instead of engaging in a debate on policy, Joe Biden has descended to name-calling and Holocaust references,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement.
“There is no place in political discourse for Holocaust imagery or comparing candidates to Nazis. It’s offensive and it demeans the memory of the Holocaust, the suffering of the victims, and the lessons we must learn from that terribly dark chapter of history. Joe Biden has been in politics long enough to know this. To diminish the horrors of Goebbels and the Nazis by trying to attack the President with that comparison is, as we say, a shanda.”
The Trump campaign deputy national press secretary, Ken Farnaso, told FOX News, “Rather than launching preposterous accusations against the President, Joe Biden and his team should answer for inviting notorious anti-Semites Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour to speak at the Democrat National Convention.”