A Holocaust scholar quoted in the Jewish Funds for Justice’s anti–Glenn Beck letter has criticized the group’s campaign as one-sided and political.
Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, is the fourth person or organization cited in the letter who has questioned the political motives of the anti-Beck campaign. The Jewish Funds for Justice letter, published as a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal and the Jewish Daily Forward last week, called on Fox News to sanction Beck because of his use of “Holocaust imagery.”
“I don’t disagree with the thrust of JFSJ’s ad,” wrote Lipstadt in a column in the Forward yesterday. “That said, I do worry that it is a distortion to focus solely on the conservative end of the political spectrum.”
While still maintaining that Beck’s comments about the Holocaust crossed the line, Lipstadt noted that, in recent years, some of the most offensive Holocaust rhetoric has come from the political left:
During his term in office, President George W. Bush was frequently compared to Hitler. A 2006 New York Times ad from a group called the World Can’t Wait, signed by a number of prominent leftists (as well as five Democratic members of Congress), cited a litany of complaints about the Bush administration’s policies and concluded: “People look at all this and think of Hitler — and rightly so.” British playwright and Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter, who signed onto the ad, went to so far as to call the Bush administration “more dangerous than Nazi Germany.” (emphasis added)
Similarly, references to Israelis as “Nazis” and claims that Israel is committing genocide abound in left-wing discourse. Because of their ubiquity, we have almost become inured to the horror of such comparisons.
“Is this about principle, or is it about politics?” asked Lipstadt. “Is this about anti-Semitism, or about Rupert Murdoch?”
The Anti-Defamation League, the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, and COMMENTARY were also quoted in the Jewish Funds for Justice letter and have all since clarified that they are not associated with the campaign. However, as noted yesterday, Jewish Funds for Justice is continuing to collect signatures for the letter on its website.