Belafonte Hits Sour Note in Using Nazi Imagery and Needs A History Lesson
New York, NY, August 9, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) labeled Harry Belafonte's statement that "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich," "ignorant and offensive" and called on the celebrity activist to apologize. Mr. Belafonte made the statement during an August 5 Civil Rights march in Atlanta. In an effort to denigrate prominent African-Americans in the Bush Administration, such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, he said their positions were the equivalent of Jews in the Nazi hierarchy.
"There were no Jews in the hierarchy of the Nazi regime," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and a Holocaust survivor. "Besides being ignorant and offensive, Mr. Belafonte's comments are dead wrong. He clearly needs a history lesson."
Adding to the increasingly cavalier use of improper comparisons to Nazis and the Holocaust in political contexts was Dick Gregory, who at the same march said that African-Americans could not legitimately cast themselves as "conservatives" because "white racists" had polluted that term in the same way Hitler had perverted the swastika symbol.
"Comparing politicians with whom one disagrees to Hitler and Nazis is insensitive and demonstrates a lack of knowledge as to who and what Hitler and the Nazis were and did," added Mr. Foxman.
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.