Exclusive: ZOA Slams Historian Douglas Brinkley for Likening 1/6 to Holocaust — ‘Deranged Partisan Lunacy’

Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

After presidential historian Douglas Brinkley compared documentation of last year’s Capitol protests to footage of the Nazi Holocaust, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) head Morton Klein expressed outrage over the historian’s “breathtaking insensitivity,” while demanding a “profuse apology” on his part for having “minimize[d] and diminish[ed] the monstrous Holocaust.”

In response to Rice University professor and liberal CNN historian Douglas Brinkley’s likening aspects of the January 6 riot to the Nazi Holocaust on Thursday, the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization released an exclusive statement to Breitbart News that called out the “deranged partisan lunacy” of any comparison of the two events.

“Especially as a child of Holocaust survivors, I abhor the deranged partisan lunacy and breathtaking insensitivity for careless historian Douglas Brinkley to in any way resurrect, minimize and diminish the monstrous Holocaust by comparing any aspect of it to an out of control protest where the protestors had no weapons and killed no one while six million Jews were massacred,” Klein stated, adding that Brinkley’s remarks may be considered “hate speech.” 

He then demanded an apology and requested others join in the demand for one.

“I, from my home, and my murdered aunts, uncles and grandparents from their graves, demand a profuse apology,” he said, “and I urge all Holocaust scholars, Jewish leaders, and rabbis to join this demand of a heartfelt apology from careless negligent historian Brinkley,” he concluded.

During an MSNBC appearance marking the first anniversary of the Capitol riot on Thursday, Brinkley referenced the Holocaust — the state-sponsored, organized persecution, torture and murder of six million Jews by Hitler’s Nazi regime, its allies and collaborators — by noting that “film footage” serves as proof of both events. 

“We have film footage of what happened on January 6, we have proof,” he told MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin. “[Former President] Dwight Eisenhower, during World War II, made sure all the Holocaust camps were filmed — so we’ve got the film footage.”

Claiming America is now “combatting conspiracy theorists, deniers, and some Trumpeteers,” he urged for the day to receive a befitting “honor.”

“My worry is what do we call this?” he asked. “And [how do we] make sure we honor this day, this dark-stained day, every year?”

“So, we’ve got to keep saying ‘January 6,’” he added.

He then directly compared the riot to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 as well as the deadly September 11 terror attacks.

“I think it is like December 7 Pearl Harbor, it is like the 9/11 tragedy,” he said. 

Blaming former President Donald Trump for all that “went wrong that day,” he suggested the event be remembered as the “Trump Insurrection.”

“We also need to not be afraid to call it the ‘Trump Insurrection’ of January 6 because in the end, all roads to what went wrong that day lead to Donald Trump’s ill behavior, [the] anti-democratic stance he took — the big lie — after the presidential election tallies came in and Joe Biden had won by millions of votes,” he said.

Brinkley’s remarks, and similar comparisons by those on the left, sparked a wave of backlash.

In his opening commentary on Thursday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson blasted Brinkley for “trivializing genocide.”

“The Joy Reid network found a guy called Doug Brinkley — he’s one of those television historians who’s never actually written significant history of anything — to just come right out and compare January 6th to Auschwitz,” he said, adding that “we await the ADL’s [The Anti-Defamation League] furious statement condemning Doug Brinkley for trivializing genocide, which he just did.” 

“Can we not invoke Holocaust comparisons at every turn, it’s getting absolutely ridiculous,” wrote StopAntisemitism.org.

“Misusing of the tragedy of Jewish people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany defiles the memory of all victims and is sadly a painful expression of gross disrespect and a symptom of moral decay,” wrote the Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account.

“Can’t believe this has to be said, but it’s also insulting to compare J6 to the Holocaust,” wrote Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) press secretary Christina Pushaw.

“[S]hame on you @ProfDBrinkley for mocking victims of the holocaust by comparing January 6th to the holocaust,” wrote the Reagan Battalion. “And shame on MSNBC for allowing it to stand.”

“A reminder that the Democrat position is that the minor scuffle of last 1/6 is the same as the holocaust,” wrote trial lawyer and columnist Kurt Schlichter.

“When people distort historical facts, they murder truth, reason, and common sense,” wrote professor and author Gad Saad. “Comparing January 6 to the Holocaust, the US civil war, 9/11, or Pearl Harbor is an attack on human dignity. It soils the human spirit.”

Brinkley’s comments come as Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off the Biden administration’s remarks on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot by comparing it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

“Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault,” she said. 

“Dates that occupy not only a place in our calendars, but a place in our collective memory,” she added. “December 7th, 1941; September 11th, 2001; and January 6th, 2021.”

More than 2,400 Americans died in the Pearl Harbor attack and nearly 3,000 Americans died in the 9/11 terror attacks.

The remarks also come as President Biden’s controversial nominee to serve as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Deborah E. Lipstadt is awaiting confirmation.

In a Washington Post editorial, Lipstadt — a professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University — argued for the radical comparison of challenging 2020 election results with denying that a Nazi Holocaust, the “best-documented genocide in the world,” ever occurred. 

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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