TEL AVIV — In its coverage of White House Spokesman Sean Spicer’s controversial comments about Adolf Hitler and Syria, the news media is widely hyping remarks by the largely unknown, hyper-partisan, anti-Trump group calling itself the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.
The news media has been widely featuring Facebook comments by the Center’s executive director, Steven Goldstein, who demanded that Spicer be fired “at once” over his statements claiming Hitler, a genocidal leader who murdered millions of civilians, including some six million Jews in the Holocaust, “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” whereas Syrian President Bashar al-Assad purportedly did deploy chemical weapons against civilians.
“I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” Spicer said when pressed by a reporter to clarify his remarks. Spicer said that Hitler “brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that.”
Spicer later clarified his remarks in a statement: “In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”
Spicer later took to CNN, saying, “I apologize.” He added, “It was my blunder.”
However, that didn’t stop Goldstein of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect from slamming Spicer as lacking “the integrity to serve as White House press secretary,” while demanding and that President Trump “must fire him at once.”
The Center also stated in tweets that Spicer was the “most offensive press sec ever,” and a “national embarrassment.”
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) April 11, 2017
Spicer, listen up: Anne Frank and millions of other Jews weren't killed in "Holocaust Centers." Most offensive press sec ever. #FireSpicer
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) April 12, 2017
Goldstein joined the ranks of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.), who also quickly called on Trump to fire Spicer and “immediately disavow” the spokesman’s statements.
Goldstein’s comments about Spicer were covered widely by the news media.
“Anne Frank Center wants Spicer fired for Holocaust remarks,” was the headline of a New York Post article, using the Center’s full name in the title despite the organization’s relative obscurity.
“Anne Frank Center Demands Trump Fire Sean Spicer Over ‘Holocaust Denial’,” reads a San Francisco Chronicle headline.
None of the articles reviewed by Breitbart News provided any background on the Center with the exception of the Washington Post, which simply informed readers that the Center is a “frequent critic of the president.”
Unreported by much of the news media is that since taking over the Anne Frank Center in June, Goldstein has used the organization that bears the name of one of the most discussed Jewish Holocaust victims as an anti-Trump political platform, as this reporter previously exposed.
When he took over the Anne Frank Center, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) profiled Goldstein as explaining that he plans to run the organization like a lean political campaign.
The JTA, a respected Jewish news agency, described the Center as a “relatively obscure Holocaust memorial organization.”
“I don’t view my work through the laid-back prism and slower cadence of a not-for-profit organization,” Goldstein said. “I’m an intense campaigner. I don’t see us as competing [with the Anti-Defamation League]. I believe deeply in partnerships.”
Indeed, Goldstein wasted no time after Trump took office, making news on January 26 for blasting the president’s executive order to temporary halt the refugee program as using “national security as a guise for racism.”
In February, Goldstein made headlines for claiming the Trump administration evidenced “the worst we have ever seen” as far as “the anti-Semitism coming out of this administration.” He claimed that Trump’s condemnation of anti-Semitism that month was “too little, too late.”
“Our president is creating an incubator of hatred,” he claimed. “When you don’t respond to anti-Semitism as well as Islamophobia and racism in real time, when you wait days and sometimes a week to respond to attacks, you are sending a signal to the haters.”
In February, Jewish organizations nationwide were hit with waves of bomb threats. It would later emerge that many of those threats were called in by an Israeli-American teenager who was arrested in Israel last month.
Goldstein’s remarks about anti-Semitism and Trump were also widely reported by the news media at the time. “Anne Frank Center slams Trump: ‘Do not make us Jews settle for crumbs of condescension,’” was the title of a Washington Post article in one of many examples of such coverage.
Goldstein last week was also quoted in the news media to smear Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a deputy foreign policy adviser to Trump, as being linked to the neo-Nazi far-right.
The Anne Frank Center’s twitter account, which Salon.com reported is manned by Goldstein, has been utilized to unleash repeated attacks on Trump.
In one of many strangely worded tweets, the Center called Trump’s policies “evil.” Another branded Trump a narcissist.
Here is a small sampling of a few other recent anti-Trump tweets:
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 2, 2017
WE CONDEMN BOTH THE EVIL POLICIES OF PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE SEXISM AIMED AT MELANIA TRUMP. "President Trump's… https://t.co/tCslEgXbrW
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 14, 2017
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 22, 2017
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 22, 2017
PREJUDICE BY AMERICAN PRESIDENTS KNOWS NO PARTISANSHIP – AND WE CONDEMN IT ALL.
This weekend marks the 75th… https://t.co/uzbhfSPyLv
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 20, 2017
Some of the Center’s tweets opposed Trump’s plan to build a barrier along the porous U.S.-Mexico border:
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 15, 2017
One tweet utilized the memory of Anne Frank to call her a Syrian refugee.
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 9, 2017
Writing at the Daily Caller in February, columnist and Jewish historian David Benkof charged that “Goldstein is not a Holocaust expert, and the Anne Frank Center (a separate group independent of Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House) is not a serious player in the world of Holocaust memory.”
Benkof said of the Center under Goldstein’s leadership:
Of late, it has become a sham organization that is largely a one-man shop to promote Goldstein’s aspirations to be, as he proclaims himself, a “civil rights leader.” Armed with a great organizational title; incendiary but ready-to-print quotes; and a gullible media slavishly lapping it all up, Goldstein is finding tremendous success. (He could not be reached for comment.)
The JTA reported that Goldstein backed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign:
Goldstein backs presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In April, he wrote on Facebook that “sometimes you compromise to forge consensus, but sometimes you don’t to stand your ground. Knowing when to do which is the art of the revolution. That’s Hillary Clinton’s gift.”
Prior to taking over the Center, Goldstein was an LGBT rights activist who reportedly called himself “the Harvey Milk of New Jersey,” referring to the famed American politician and gay civil rights activist.
Goldstein founded a group called Garden State Equality, which campaigned for gay rights laws in New Jersey and was involved in activism that led to the state in 2013 allowing same-sex marriage. His campaigns were portrayed in the 2015 movie Freeheld, in which he was portrayed by actor Steve Carell. The movie was based on a 2007 documentary of the same name.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.