Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but the statement issued by the White House Office of the Press Secretary leaves out any mention of Jews.
While it may just be a ridiculous and unprecedented oversight, this episode highlights the disturbing fact that President Donald Trump is surrounded by anti-Semitic influences — and his presidency has been accompanied by the biggest wave of anti-Semitism in decades.
Trump’s statement seems carefully crafted in such a way as to pretend that Nazi death camps did not target any specific population.
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest. As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
White House strategist Steve Bannon has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in the past. As CEO of Breitbart.com, Bannon transformed the website into “a platform for the alt-right,” including anti-Semitic writers, and published many stories with clear anti-Semitic flavor.
This statement reads like something Bannon would have put together as part of a communications strategy to disconnect the fact of the Holocaust from its primary victims.
But he’s not the only person connected to Trump’s White House who has expressed anti-Semitic views.
In a Thursday Reddit AMA, right wing troglodyte Charles C. Johnson said that he’s closely advising the Trump White House on its personnel decisions — and then he also came out of the closet as a Holocaust denier.
I do not and never have believed the six million figure. I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic. I think the Allied bombing of Germany was a ware [sic] crime. I agree with David Cole about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real. I read the German War (highly recommend), Bloodlands, Mein Kampf, and all of David Irving. I’m more or less of the view that the war was an outgrowth of the efforts of communism to spread itself throughout the world. I also believe that the fears of German extermination were not misplaced, especially in light of the Ukrainian famine.
Like Bannon, Johnson expressed his support for Israel as a Jewish “ethno-nationalist” state. While that may seem odd, this contraction is a characteristic of modern anti-Semitism as an expression of racial and religious nationalism.
In other words, they grant Israel a right to exclude Arabs because they want the United States to be an explicitly white, Christian country.
Trump’s candidacy ended on an anti-Semitic note, and America has experienced a wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes ever since Trump won the Electoral College. Swastikas have appeared on college campuses and dozens of Jewish centers have received bomb threats.
Given this environment, the absence of any mention of Jews in a statement marking the Holocaust is alarming, to say the least.
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) January 27, 2017
Featured image: public domain