Friday, August 7, 2009

Who owns the history of Nazi Germany?

ABC News' Political Punch tells the story of criticism by a Jewish group, that denies Congress, commentators, and concerned people the right to pull images and similarities to historical events in explaining and warning about current events. From the story:

“Regardless of the political differences and the substantive differences in the debate over health care, the use of Nazi symbolism is outrageous, offensive and inappropriate,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.

I see two flaws in Rabbi Foxman's argument. First, that though the Jewish people were horribly targeted by Hitler's Germany, that other groups - the mentally handicapped, the Polish, other religions, etc. - also have cause to consider Naziism as a particularly personal cultural bogeyman. The atrocities committed under the Nazi flag do not cede that era and those events to the custody of the Jewish peoples alone.

Nazi Germany fouled and affected the civilized world.

The other flaw I see is that we, as a nation, do not benefit if we ignore the lessons of history, when we see the mistakes of the past being repeated today, and do not heed the historical and inevitable consequences.

Mr. Foxman assumes that all of the accusations and comparisons of B. Hussein Obama, his ruthless ride on the backs of the sycophantic Congress over the will of the people of the United States, and in disregard of the Constitution of the United States - Mr. Foxman assumes that all criticisms comparing today's turmoil to the events leading to the juggernaut of Nazi Germany to be mere hyperbole, mere rabble rousing speech - and not honest fear and trepidations.

The Obama administration shares another characteristic of Adolf Hitler in his rise to power - a fragile ego, a narcissistic taste for adoration, and an eagerness to identify and punish opponents.

Does B. Hussein Obama deserve being called another Hitler? Has he moved to make himself dictator, to dismiss constitutional bounds on his authority? Arguably he has already overstepped the authority of his office, and has yet to be called to account for those misdeeds. This particular slippery slope above an abyss of anarchy and despotism is troubling, as Congress repeatedly violates strictures to honor states' rights.

I understand that some have taken the names of the past, and identified individuals with them, that in some sense the atrocities of the past may be treated lightly in today's discourse. It is that very horror of the past, that degree of atrocity, that speaks to the fears of speakers against B. Hussein Obama and Congressional leaders. I may not comprehend, personally, the consequences of the socialist agendas of the past, but I can and do fear they are being brought to renewed life in specific detail in today's Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Foxman, please do not lightly dismiss the fears of honest citizens, when you criticize comparisons of a United States President taking actions that I can not distinguish from those of a socialist reformer. The very Constitution that protects your right to criticize, to defend your beliefs, is the same Constitution threatened by today's Congress and President.


In writing this piece, I have no criticism of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, other than the specific topic above, criticizing the comparison of certain political statements and actions with the historical Nazi period.

I was interested to find that visiting the ADL web site,, was difficult. Four times out of five, the site timed out rather than allow me to visit. I never did get the contacts page to load. Perhaps access is blocked from North Central Oklahoma, United States. I hope Rabbi Foxman's apparent trust in the administration is well placed.

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