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May 20, 2013

NJDC on Abusive Holocaust Rhetoric

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The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) unequivocally opposes and condemns all invocations of the Holocaust in political discourse. The year 2009 was a year that the memory of the Holocaust was abused and misused in politics like never before. Politicians, pundits, and protestors freely compared President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats to Hitler, the Nazis, and other evil historical figures. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck consistently labeled Democratic reforms “Hitlarian” and laughed all the way to the bank as demagogic politicians and Tea Party activists bought their heinous rhetoric hook, line, and sinker at the expense of real reform.

NJDC took action in order to send a message to all federal candidates that abusive Holocaust rhetoric and anti-Semitic language would not be tolerated in our political discourse. NJDC created an online petition where fed-up citizens of all political stripes could express their disgust about this outrageous trend in American politics. The petition called on all federal candidates to add their names and condemn this caustic and outrageous language when and if they saw it on the campaign trail.

NJDC’s pledge garnered significant media attention and ever since the launch of the pledge, NJDC has been vigilant in condemning abusive Holocaust references when they appear.

NJDC has condemned the rhetorical excesses of:

  • House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), for his promotion of a candidate who was a Nazi reenactor
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott, who quoted “First they Came…” to shield Mitt Romney from attacks on his Bain Capital record
  • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, for his comparison of the national debt to the Holocaust and his attempt to use the “my best friends are Jewish” defense to excuse his inappropriate comments. Huckabee is a frequent user of Holocaust references. 
  • Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has a long history of invoking the Holocaust and Hitler
  • Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who raised money for a group that called the Ohio legislature “Nazis”
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, for his repeated invocations of Nazism
  • Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, for her promotion of a column that compared President Obama to Hitler
  • Former Representative Allen West (R-FL) on multiple occasions, including his attempt to hire an inflammatory radio host as his Chief of Staff
  • Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), for her comparison of the national debt to the Holocaust during the weekend of Holocaust Remembrance Day
  • 2010 Republican candidates Rick Barber (R-AL), Mike Sparks (R-TN), and Peter Schiff (R-CT), among others
  • Fox News executive Roger Ailes, for calling NPR executives Nazis
  • Fox News host Glenn Beck, for his extensive record of invoking the Holocaust
  • Radio host Rush Limbaugh, for his extensive record of invoking the Holocaust
  • Certain Tea Party activists and the certain Republican leaders who have stood silent or pled ignorance when abusive Holocaust references were used
  • Former Tea Party leader Mark Williams, who accused members of Congress of “brushing up on Mein Kampf”
  • Citizens United, for their invocation of Neville Chamberlain
  • Former Republican Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, who attempted to pass off a defense of Hitler as legitimate scholarship
  • Progressives and Democrats who, on rare occasion, have participated in this disturbing trend


Our recent blogs and statements on abusive Holocaust rhetoric include: