31 January 2017

Trump's Soft Holocaust Denial: IOKIYAR

Donald Trump's statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day made it crystal that he is beholden to the Alt Right movement and the real president is the notorious white nationalist Steve Bannon.

This is what Trump said:
It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. 
Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent. 
In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.
Do you see any sentence that refers to the systematic anti-Semitism which led to the massacre of six million Jews?

This is known as "soft Holocaust denial." Ask the leading Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt
The de-Judaization of the Holocaust, as exemplified by the White House statement, is what I term softcore Holocaust denial.
She first thought it was a rookie mistake and someone had screwed up. Then she read the defense provided by the White House:
In a clumsy defense Hope Hicks, the White House director of strategic communications, insisted that, the White House, by not referring to Jews, was acting in an “inclusive” manner. It deserved praise not condemnation. Hicks pointed those who inquired to an article which bemoaned the fact that, too often the “other” victims of the Holocaust were forgotten. Underlying this claim is the contention that the Jews are “stealing” the Holocaust for themselves. It is a calumny founded in anti-Semitism.
As Professor Lipstadt explains, there were millions of victims of the Nazi regime and no one is denying their suffering. But that is not what the Holocaust was:
 The Holocaust was something entirely different. It was an organized program with the goal of wiping out a specific people. Jews did not have to do anything to be perceived as worthy of being murdered. Old people who had to be wheeled to the deportation trains and babies who had to be carried were all to be killed.
To claim otherwise is soft Holocaust denial. Remember Mel-The-Passion-of-Christ-Gibson? This is the same argument he used:
 "I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union." (h/t Atrios)
What is interesting, at least to me, is the subdued reaction to this issue.  

The New York Times did not cover it as a separate piece. It was mentioned bypassingly in an op ed on theocracy.

Most other publications quoted a tweet by the CEO of Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Jonathan Greenblatt. It was fairly tepid criticism.
“@Whitehouse statement on #HolocaustMemorialDay, misses that it was six million Jews who perished, not just 'innocent people',” Greenblatt tweeted.
What about other Jewish groups and leaders?

Well, the head of the World Jewish Congress Ron Lauder defended Trump's statement and slammed not the White House statement but ADL's criticism.

The combative Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer (who campaigned for Mitt Romney and raised money against Obama) gave a speech on the Remembrance Day to argue against the "universalization of the Holocaust" but did not mention the controversial statement.
“After the Holocaust took away so much from the Jews, we must not take the Holocaust itself away from the Jews,” Dermer said.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, heavily funded by Sheldon Adelson stated that not mentioning Jews was an unfortunate omission but they said:
 "As supporters of President Trump, we know that he holds in his heart the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust, and is committed not just to their memory, but ensuring it never happens again.”
The Zionist Organization of America was also chagrined somewhat but that was the extent of it.

Doesn't that surprise you?

As Atrios put it:
I don't know if Trump has any idea that he signed a holocaust denial proclamation - though not knowing is no excuse - but Bannon surely did. Priebus knows. Spicer knows. This is not secret stuff. If Obama had done this, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in the US media would have lost their shit until he resigned. It's that bad.
When Trump does it. Nothing.

And this is not the first time this is happening.

Here is a short list of Trump's recent exploits.
Trump was slow to denounced KKK leader David Duke. He deployed a meme that imposed a Star of David and Hillary Clinton’s face on top of a pile of money and was widely perceived as anti-Semitic — then refused to back down or apologize. He adopted the phrase “America First,” associated strongly with anti-Semitic isolationism in the United States before World War II. His son, Donald Trump Jr., said that if Republicans had behaved like Hillary Clinton, the media “would be warming up the gas chambers” — an odd choice of phrase that neo-Nazi websites celebrated
The campaign ad Trump employed to make his closing argument against Hillary Clinton was a collection of anti-Semitic stereotypes, featuring image of George Soros, Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs chair Lloyd Blankfein — all Jews — while accusing them of being global special interests who “control the levers of power” and “don’t have your interest in mind.”
 I never thought that anti-Semitism would get a pass in the US.

As I mentioned before, IOKIYAR is now officially the law of the land.

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