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ADL to California Democratic Party Chairman: Goebbels Comparison “Deeply Offensive”

Update:  On September 11, 2012, ADL received a letter from Mr. Burton, the California Democratic Party Chairman, apologizing for his comparison of Republican rhetoric and the propaganda of Nazi-era leader Joseph Goebbels.  Mr. Burton wrote that “Certainly there was no intent to trivialize the Holocaust by using Joseph Goebbels’ name as the architect of the big lie.”  He added, “I apologize for the inappropriate mention of Goebbels and clearly will not use his name in the future when discussing (the) Republican big lie program.”  ADL accepted his apology and considers the matter closed.

  September 4, 2012

The Honorable John Burton
Chairman
California Democratic Party
1401 21st Street
Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95811

Dear Chairman Burton,

We were dismayed by your recent comparison between statements made at the Republican National Convention and the Nazi propaganda put forth by Joseph Goebbels.

This comparison to Goebbels' genocidal propaganda serves to trivialize the Holocaust and is deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors, as well as those Americans who fought valiantly against the Nazis in World War II.

While you have every right to dispute the accuracy of Rep. Paul Ryan’s statements at the convention, invoking the Holocaust and the Nazis’ effort to annihilate the Jewish people is inappropriate.  No matter how heated the debate over issues of the day, we would urge you – as we have urged other public figures – to refrain from using Holocaust imagery in the future.
 
We acknowledge your subsequent statement that you did not call Republicans Nazis and your apology to “anyone who might have been offended.”  However, the fact that you did not explicitly call them Nazis is irrelevant in light of the direct comparison to Goebbels.  Furthermore, apologizing to “anyone who might have been offended” suggests that you still do not understand why your comments were so troubling. We urge you to further reconsider your offensive statement and retract your remarks. 

 

Sincerely,

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director



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