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Gingrich Draws Comparison Between Mosque and Nazis

Carly Lindauer — August 17, 2010 – 10:33 am | Abusive Holocaust Rhetoric | Republicans | Separation of Church & State Comments (1) Add a comment

Newt Gingrich is at it again with his inflammatory rhetoric. According to Politico, the former House Speaker “compared the mosque planned to go up blocks away from ground zero in New York to Nazis protesting next to the Holocaust museum.” Gingrich, who called the mosque leaders “radical Islamists,” said, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.”

This is not the first time Gingrich has invoked Holocaust rhetoric. In his newest book, he equates liberals with Nazis.

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), which has been tracking the use of abusive Holocaust rhetoric, strongly condemns Gingrich’s latest remarks and firmly believes this type of language has no place in our political discourse. You can learn more about NJDC’s work on this topic by clicking here



Paul A. Friedman | August 18, 2010 – 12:04 pm

First, one thing needs to be clear.  The building involved is not a mosque.  It is a community center with a space for prayer.  Under Muslim law, a mosque is a building only used for prayer.  For more information on this, I urge everyone to view Keith Olberman’s Special Comment on this.

Now, not only was Newt’s analogy offensive, it was a lousy analogy.  The entire Nazi movement was devoted to murdering Jews.  The entire Muslim community was not part of a coordinated attack on the WTC.  Instead, it was a handful of zealots who want to start a war between the West and the Muslim people. 

By buying into Newt’s rhetoric and opposing the Islamic Center that will be located a few blocks away from the outer edge of Ground Zero, folks are condemning all Muslims for the actions of a few.  We would not bar a YMCA from being built nearby the Oklahoma Federal Center just because a Christian zealot destroyed that building.  I believe this to be the better analogy.

Moreover, that analogy doesn’t even begin to address the issue that is presented by America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, cowering before the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt and proving to the world that our tolerance for other cultures is limited to everyone but Muslims. 

The message that we Americans don’t care what kind of person of Muslim you are, whether you have worked with us to fight terrorism (as the Imam behind this project has) or not, is also counterproductive.

We have millions of Muslims living in America and thousands fighting in our military.  Is the next step to say we have a gut feeling that these folks really can’t be good Americans so it is time to close all the mosques and deport all the Muslims.

Would that gut desire make us safer or less safe here in America?

This is a slippery slope.  The project in NY was approved by the zoning board in NY.  It will be bringing business and people who will generate more business to a slumping economic corner of NY.

Further, the center is not on the Ground Zero site itself and probably won’t even be able to be seen from that site from ground level.

Finally, if our nation starts giving a handful of people the right to use their gut as a guide to where religious groups can build buildings to congregate, what’s next?

Will Jews be asked to understand why they shouldn’t build a Jewish Community Center somewhere?  After all, we know terrorists have targeted some and wouldn’t that just endanger the nearby neighborhoods?  Will all our future JCC’s need to be built in run down areas from from our homes to protect our neighbors?

What about if Israel does something our Christian friends disagree with?  What if they decide that maybe synagogues that post signs out front signaling their support for Israel are too upsetting to see? 

We are a small community.  It was just 60 years ago when Jews were barred from jobs, hotels and blacklisted as Communists.  We must stand for minority rights every time.  When we stand with the Muslim community on this matter, we are really speaking up for ourselves.

The ADL was horribly wrong.  The NJDC and other Jewish organizations should speak up and oppose the ADL’s position.  We should show that there are still Jews who believe in religious freedom and who see the practical benefits of this project.

We who stand for the 1st Amendment must stand for it most fervently when it is most difficult or it will most surely fade from existence.

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