NEW YORK, NY—Abraham Foxman says he has “no problem with” White House aid Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s reference to a Holocaust survivor to illustrate the importance of heeding repeated threats uttered by America’s enemies.
“I have no problem with Gorka’s reference to the Holocaust. He is not comparing the North Korea situation to the Holocaust,” Foxman, who previously served as the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told Jewish Insider. “He is quoting a Holocaust survivor—sharing a universal lesson of the Holocaust—when somebody threatens to kill you take him seriously. Too many people in Europe, including the Jews of Europe, did not take Hitler seriously. Gorka is saying, take a lesson from then and take North Korea seriously.”
Foxman currently serves as the Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.
His remarks came in response to Gorka saying, “When a group of people repeatedly says they want to kill you, sooner or later you should take them seriously.” Dr. Gorka made the statement while recalling advice he’d received from a Holocaust survivor to explain to BBC Radio 4 why he believes North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s repeated nuclear threats should be taken seriously.
“What is your one take-home? What is your one lesson learnt from the horrors of the millions killed?” Gorka said he asked the unidentified Holocaust survivor. “And he said, ‘It’s very simple. When a group of people repeatedly says they want to kill you, sooner or later you should take them seriously.'”
Iran has made similar threats against the United States with their constant chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel“—considered the “great” and “little” satans—and using the Star of David as a target during ballistic missile tests.
Gorka reportedly also said, “North Korea has said they wish to annihilate the United States and use nuclear weapons. Sooner or later someone should take them seriously. The Clinton administration did not do so. The Obama administration did not do so. That stopped on January the 20th. We are not giving in to nuclear blackmail any longer.”
President Donald Trump vowed to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if Kim threatened the United States again. The commander in chief also stated, “If anything happens to Guam there’s going to be big, big trouble in North Korea.”
Echoing the strong rhetoric in defense of Guam from the White House, this week Defense Secretary James Mattis stated, “The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
Guam’s Homeland Security Department has distributed a two-page pamphlet titled, “In Case of Emergency—Preparing for Imminent Missile Threat,” advising the island’s residents how to prepare and react in case North Korea follows through on Kim’s threats to launch a nuclear strike against the U.S. territory.
While there is no way to confirm whether North Korea’s regime would use a nuclear weapon in a potential attack on Guam, it is worth noting that Kim’s threat to Guam hinted at the use of conventional missile strikes and did not specifically refer to nuclear weapons.