“Despite these parallels, it may still seem like a stretch to link a few retweets to the Holocaust.”
“One of the precursors to the Nazi ascendancy was the immense popularity, in the painful aftermath of World War I, of a book purporting to disclose Jews’ plans for global domination: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The book was a forgery — no such plan existed or had ever been published by Jews — but it and similar texts cemented Jews as scapegoats for Europe’s economic and political ills years before the Nazis took power. The analogy to the president and his retweets is striking.”
Actually, the idea that Trump’s retweets have anything to do with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is more Leftist hysteria, as Leftists grow ever more deranged in their hatred of President Trump. The claim that Muslims are being victimized as Jews were is not original to Daniel Altman of Foreign Policy. It’s a common Leftist talking point. Many, many others have made this claim, including Noam Chomsky, Bernie Sanders; Prince Charles; the notorious non-Muslim Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong; Jeffrey Goldberg, “journalist” at The Atlantic; Leftist media darling and pseudo-intellectual hack Reza Aslan; Muslim Brotherhood-linked Congressman Keith Ellison; Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times; the deceptive Canada-based Islamic supremacist imam Syed Sohawardy; and Philadelphia chapter leader of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations Jacob Bender. Many others have repeated it.
The blazingly brilliant Daniel Greenfield takes it apart in this video. The idea that Muslims are the new Jews is put forward by the Left, but it also has opponents on the Left. In 2014, as part of his ongoing awakening to the nature and reality of the jihad threat, Bill Maher noted:
Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay.
Indeed. Further, neither Trump nor anyone else is calling for or justifying genocide of Muslims, as Hitler did against Jews early in his political career. No individual or group opposed to Islam is remotely comparable to the National Socialists. Not that facts have ever gotten in the way of a good meme.
Maher isn’t alone on the Left in having pointed out the absurdity of likening opposition to jihad to the lead-up to the Holocaust. The late Christopher Hitchens also refuted this idea when writing a few years ago about the notorious Ground Zero Mosque proposal:
“Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,” Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like.
“This Is How Every Genocide Begins: Why Trump’s most un-American moment can’t be overlooked,” by Daniel Altman, Foreign Policy, November 30, 2017:
Donald Trump’s retweeting of anti-Muslim propaganda videos is the most un-American thing he has done as president. I could just as well end this article here, as the truth of this statement should be self-evident. But let me explain.
A president can do many things that seem cruel, especially from the point of view of his political opponents, such as encouraging Congress to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans. He can also do many things to offend the moral sensibility of his constituents, such as talking about grabbing women by their genitals. He can even go so far as to call into question American values, perhaps by equating the actions of white supremacists and those who oppose them.
Each of these actions is abhorrent in its own way, but I would argue that none of them creates the same peril to the nation — and to humanity itself — as the president’s retweets. I know it may seem like an enormous exaggeration to pin such importance on the result of clicking a button on a webpage. But again, please bear with me.
Some of the greatest crimes in human history have begun with moments like this one. Social scientists agree that attacks on an entire class of people — whether identified by their race, religion, education, or any other distinguishing characteristic — do not happen spontaneously. First the mob has to be primed. The targeted group has to be demonized through a campaign of hateful misinformation, always presented as legitimate information by people in positions of trust. Then the signal for violence falls on ready ears.
It happened this way in Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, and countless other sites of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass persecution. The pamphlets, megaphones, and radio broadcasts came before the pogroms, murders, and forced relocations.
And today, we have even more effective ways to reach millions of people at a time, as the president’s more than 43 million followers on Twitter can attest; the established media only magnify his reach. But could another crime on this scale happen here?
For the answer, Americans need only look to the historical case they probably know best: that of Nazi Germany. One of the precursors to the Nazi ascendancy was the immense popularity, in the painful aftermath of World War I, of a book purporting to disclose Jews’ plans for global domination: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The book was a forgery — no such plan existed or had ever been published by Jews — but it and similar texts cemented Jews as scapegoats for Europe’s economic and political ills years before the Nazis took power.
The analogy to the president and his retweets is striking. He has used populist rhetoric to gain sway with vast numbers of disadvantaged and disillusioned Americans, in part by appealing to long-held prejudices. The videos he shared purportedly portray outrages committed by Muslim migrants in Europe, yet in reality they may be nothing of the sort. And just as Adolf Hitler claimed that the mainstream media’s dismissal of the Protocols proved that they were true, the president has repeatedly switched fact for fiction, especially in his denouncements of “fake news.”
Despite these parallels, it may still seem like a stretch to link a few retweets to the Holocaust. But the path from the Protocols to the extermination camps was not traveled in a single night. The Nazis took power in 1933. Kristallnacht, the two days of riots that marked the first nationwide, coordinated outbreak of violence against German Jews, happened in 1938. The camps came a few years later, in the midst of World War II.
I am worried that the president has set us on this long and terrible path. I worry for Muslims, but also for everyone who believes in freedom and equal rights….