ADL Urges Supporters of Presidential Candidates to Refrain From Using Holocaust As Political Attack Tool
New York, NY, January 12, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), deeply concerned by the use of comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust to attack presidential candidates, today called on both the Democratic and Republican parties to urge supporters to "refrain from adopting Holocaust imagery as a political attack tool."
"Unfortunately with the approach of the Democratic primaries and caucuses we have witnessed a proliferation of comparisons to Hitler and his policies, which have been parroted by supporters of both Democratic and Republican candidates," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "This is a trivialization of the Holocaust for political ends. The use of Holocaust imagery in a presidential campaign demeans the memory of the six million and others who died at the hands of the Nazis."
Since first speaking out on this issue, ADL has received hundreds of e-mails from supporters and detractors of President Bush, some suggesting that the League's stance on the issue was politically motivated.
ADL stressed that trivialization of the Holocaust is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue, but rather a matter of respecting the feelings of those who could be offended by such images, including Jewish Holocaust survivors and their families.
"To us, this is neither a Democratic nor a Republican issue, but a matter of human decency and sensitivity to human suffering," Mr. Foxman said. "This is about the inappropriateness of using Holocaust imagery for political ends. Supporters on both sides are guilty of adopting these images to attack the other side. We urge all campaigns and their supporters to refrain from using the Holocaust as a political attack tool."
With the arrival of the 2004 primary season, ADL has noted several instances where supporters of both Republican and Democratic candidates have used inappropriate and deeply offensive Holocaust imagery in attacking the other side. Recent examples include:
Anti-George W. Bush attack ads posted on the MoveOn.org Web site as part of a contest that drew direct comparisons between the President and Hitler. The ads have since been removed, and MoveOn.org has apologized for the offense they caused.
in the New York Post by Ralph Peters, a retired Army intelligence officer, which made repeated references to Nazis, the Gestapo and "Hitler's Brownshirts" to describe the strategies of Democratic presidential hopeful Dr. Howard Dean and his campaign.
An Internet site, TakeBacktheMedia, which continues to sponsor content comparing President Bush to Hitler and Mussolini and repeating a myth about the Bush family's supposed ties to Hitler's Nazi party.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.