Right-wing politicians and media figures have increasingly been comparing U.S. policies they don't like to the Holocaust, causing serious concern in the Jewish community. When called on their offensive exploitation of the memory of the Holocaust, they invariably respond that they "love Israel." Glenn Beck is famous for this but he's far from alone. (As far back as 2003, anti-tax warrior Grover Norquist explicitly compared inheritance taxes to the murder of 6,000,000 Jews.)
AP reports that on Saturday in New Hampshire, Rep. Michele Bachmann compared America's "huge tax burden" to the Holocaust, adding that future generations will ask what Americans living today did to preserve "economic liberty" just as she wondered what the world did to stop the Holocaust.
"I tell you this story because I think in our day and time, there is no analogy to that horrific action," she said, referring to the Holocaust. "But only to say, we are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away. It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to."
Also on Saturday, former Gov. Mike Huckabee invoked the Holocaust while addressing the National Rifle Association. The AP reported
[Huckabee] spoke mostly about how he had come to Pittsburgh to "celebrate America and celebrate its values" — including God, family, and a Second
Amendment meant to safeguard freedom, not just hunting and target-shooting.
But he suggested that the next election would determine the future of the country, by telling a story about a comment his daughter wrote in a guest book after his family visited a Holocaust memorial in Israel years ago.
"Why didn't somebody do something?" Huckabee said she wrote.
These casual and wildly inappropriate analogies did not sit well with the Anti-Defamation League, which issued a strong statement of protest:
It is highly inappropriate to use America's mounting debt crisis as another occasion to invoke Nazis and the Holocaust, particularly on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time dedicated to memorializing, not trivializing, the six million Jews and millions of others who perished at the hands of the Nazis...
We hope that Rep. Bachmann, Mike Huckabee and others will weigh their words more carefully and stop invoking this offensive analogy.
Rather than apologize, Huckabee responded that "Israel and the Jewish people have no stronger advocate than Mike Huckabee." He then detailed his "numerous" visits to Israel since 1973. He then added that "Israel and the Jewish people need to make friends, not insult the ones they have."
That last statement is particularly unlikely to win Huckabee friends in the American Jewish community. Not only does he ignore the idea that his Holocaust analogies are off-putting to Jews, he adds what could be interpreted as a threat.
Will someone tell these right-wingers that professing their "love" for Israel will not get them off the hook for trivializing the murder of 6,000,000 Jewish men, women and children in Europe? And can someone make them grasp how ugly and offensive it is to suggest that mass murder is akin to losing "Second Amendment rights" or paying taxes?
One more thing, Huck, Jewish Americans are Americans. As a potential candidate for President of the United States, you might consider addressing us as such, not as "Israel and the Jewish people." With friends like you...you know the rest.