SAN DIEGO, February 1, 2017 — We may be immersed in the most unusual political transition in American history, but there is one constant that we can always count on: Tired, predictable comparisons to Nazis.
The Nazi card has been played by both sides of the table. President Trump himself described a recent, problematic intelligence report as “something that Nazi Germany would have done,” before changing his tune and offering an olive branch to the CIA.
But most of the Nazi analogies are aimed at Trump himself, especially when he talks on patriotic themes and implements protective policy.
Trump’s quick quips are often knee jerk reactions. His policies are not.
Those who accuse Trump of racism for executive orders about vetting refugees from the Middle East and his plans for a wall ignore his total agenda. Trump promises to make life better for everyone in America, but critics don’t care to hear that part of the message.
Consider Trump’s statements about racial unity in his inaugural address:
“It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget—that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots. We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator. So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words—you will never be ignored again.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews didn’t hear a call to unity in those words; he heard something “Hitlerian.”
“He said today ‘America first … It was not just the racial—I shouldn’t say racial, I should say Hitlerian—background to it.”
While Matthews—who with detached, journalistic objectivity described a “thrill up his leg” during a 2008 Obama campaign speech—is easily dismissed, the accusation is more serious coming from an elected member of the United States Congress.
Rep. Gerald Edward Connolly, D-Va., wrote two consecutive Tweets about President Trump:
“DJT initiates plans for promised wall and immigration restrictions while squelching speech within the federal government.”
“Maybe his enablers will rouse themselves when the Brown shirts come for them. I, for one, will resist.”
“Brown shirts” refers to the paramilitary SA wing of the Nazi Party.
In a January 2017 interview with Candice Norwood for The Atlantic, Rabbi Charlie Schwartz and software builder Russel Neiss spoke about some joint projects geared to heightening awareness of Jewish issues.
Trump’s name came up in the interview. Said Neiss:
“It is important to remember the victims of the Holocaust—not just the six million Jews that were murdered, but the 10 million victims of Nazism and Hitlerism in general. The other thing I think makes this story particularly timely is the talk we’ve seen this week of a Trump executive order banning refugees. People always say that if you forget history then you will be doomed to repeat it. This is one of those moments where history gives us an opportunity to think about where we are now. When folks say ‘never again’ or ‘we remember,’ it is important for us to actually do so. “
Those with a Jewish heritage will be especially sensitive about history repeating itself, but not all Jewish people are so quick to make the comparison. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves Trump and appreciates the contrast from our last president, who sold Israel down the river during his last days in office by refusing to veto a United Nations resolution damaging to the Jewish state.
I am Jewish. I am also sick and tired of hearing Trump’s policy of vetting people from terrorist splintered countries being compared to what the Nazis did to the Jews.
Jews were not trying to migrate into Germany. They were not refugees from another country seeking admission into an anti-Semitic country. Many of them were trying to escape from Germany. They had been loyal German citizens, and when those who waited too long (who had refused to flee when they had a chance) were eventually kicked out in systematic fashion, it was not with a ticket to go where they wished, but to concentration camps for extermination.
The comparison to America before World War Two, when Roosevelt’s State Department did not let enough Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis into our country, is a bleak episode in our history, but that is not what is going on today.
Hitler wasn’t secretly working with Jews, encouraging them to sneak into America and carry out his Nazi agenda.
People, it is not “one size fits all” with words. Just because the word “refugee” is being used, that does not mean that every refugee situation is the same.
BTW nobody is talking about not admitting innocent families who are honestly attempting to escape tyranny. And nobody is talking about not admitting somebody simply because they are Muslim. Instead, the administration is talking about vetting more carefully. Why? Because ISIS has openly bragged that they plan to sneak people into America disguised as innocent refugees. Just what part of that do people not understand?
Americans should stop listening to all of this politically correct double talk and instead pay attention to what the stated enemies of the United States are actually telling the world, openly without even flinching.
They say that if you listen to an evil person long enough, he will sooner or later tell you just exactly what he plans to do. Alas, if we want to draw a genuine analogy from Nazi Germany, that would be the place to draw it. Hitler was open about his intentions. The world did not listen.
Today’s ignorant and arrogant world thinks they are learning a lesson from Hitler. They have apparently learned nothing.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net