The Washington Post describes the author of this appalling piece of hate propaganda, Waitman Wade Beorn, as a “Holocaust and genocide studies historian and lecturer at the University of Virginia.” The university should fire him immediately, but of course it won’t. It will more likely give him a reward. But in any case, it is clear that Waitman Wade Beorn has no idea what the Holocaust was, or what it involved. The Trump campaign has fired back here, pointing out the obvious: America is not a “totalitarian, hellish, genocidal state.” There are no camps being prepared for anyone. What is happening instead is full-on leftist hysteria. The left is so avid to destroy Trump, they’ll say anything. And it is likely only to get worse.
“It’s not wrong to compare Trump’s America to the Holocaust. Here’s why.,” by Waitman Wade Beorn, Washington Post, July 16, 2018 (thanks to Mark):
The Holocaust has endured more than enough abusive and absurd comparisons in American political life. Both ends of the spectrum too often seek to draw on its emotional and historical power to advance their completely unrelated agendas. Pat Robertson bizarrely invoked it, saying, “Just what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to evangelical Christians … It’s no different.” On the other side, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has consistently and shamelessly abused the memory of the Holocaust for its animal rights agenda. A video on its website includes what sounds like Holocaust survivor testimony and is introduced with the words, “From the factory farm to your plate, animals go through the same process that the Nazis put Jews and others through during the Holocaust.”
With such ignorant, irrational and offensive appropriations out there, it is not surprising that many are pushing back against current comparisons with the Trump administration. These rebuttals of the use of Holocaust comparisons in reference to the administration have come stridently from various quarters. The columnist Daniella Greenbaum would prohibit us from “comparing all wrongs, even the ones that Trump carries out, to the evils of Nazi Germany.” She claims such comparisons are “dressing up” current events in “another (significantly crueler) disaster.” A writer for the conservative American Spectator called comparisons “despicable” and “cheap.” American Jews are themselves divided. Some have seen “parallels” between the administration and Nazi policy while others, such as Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, called such comparisons “morally bankrupt” and then doubled down, suggesting that they even “border[ed] on denying the Holocaust.” Nobel Laureate and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, who died in 2016, once said, categorically, “I don’t compare anything to the Holocaust.” Indeed, some scholars have suggested that the Holocaust as a historical event is unique and therefore incomparable to any other events, past or present.
Is it, though? Can we truly never compare the Holocaust to events in modern politics? The scholarly community has a duty to engage the question. If we truly adhere to the oft-intoned “Never Again,” then we also bear the responsibility of helping others recognize when “again” is now. Shunning comparisons misses an opportunity to mobilize important history for the public good….
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