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Pollak: The ADL’s Weak Criticism of Holocaust Abuse by Trump-Haters

Jonathan Greenblatt (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) broke its silence Tuesday when it finally criticized the abuse of the Holocaust by opponents of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy.

And then, it invoked the Holocaust to criticize him.

The statement by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt — a former Obama administration official — read:

People need to be extremely careful in drawing comparisons to the Holocaust and the Nazi regime in whatever context it is used. Instead of investing our energy into whether or not a particular comparison crossed a line, the lesson we should learn from that dark time is that all good people need to speak clearly and quickly when morally abhorrent actions are taken by those in power against any group. That is why ADL has been a strong opponent of this separation policy [sic], and we will continue to focus our efforts on trying to stop it.

Note that the ADL could not quite bring itself to admit who, in fact, was “drawing comparisons” to the Holocaust. It  actually treats the question of “whether or not” the analogy “crossed a line” as if it were a debatable proposition.

It is beyond absurd to suggest, as MSNBC Joe Scarborough did on Friday, that Border Patrol agents taking children to actual showers are like Nazi concentration camp guards taking children to be murdered in gas chambers. And no one can reasonably defend former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele’s claim that shelters for the illegal alien children were “concentration camps for kids” — and that the children of U.S. citizens could be next.

Not only are these comparisons grotesquely wrong, but they also distort what actually happened in the Holocaust. Jews were singled out for deportation and murder because they were Jews, and not because they violated any law.

Comparing the temporary detainment of illegal aliens at the U.S.-Mexico border to the Nazi extermination of Jews turns victims of the Holocaust into lawbreakers who, by implication, bear some culpability for their own murder.

And yet in criticizing those who abuse the analogy, however mildly, the ADL actually adopted their paradigm, calling the Trump administration policy the sort of “morally abhorrent” action the Holocaust warns us not to accept.

There is no country in the world that tolerates illegal entry. It could be argued that the ADL’s preferred alternative — that adults who enter the U.S. illegally with children be allowed to go free — is actually the “morally abhorrent” option, because it would encourage human trafficking and prompt more children to undertake a dangerous journey.

But the ADL has taken anti-Trump side in this debate. To that end, it has mortgaged its most precious asset: namely, the memory of the Holocaust.

When extremists abuse the Holocaust in future, the ADL will no longer be able to condemn them with the same moral authority after it has largely tolerated the abuse of the Holocaust by its political allies.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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