US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to supporters as he arrives to a campaign event in Radford, Virginia.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The disgusting, vile comparisons of Donald Trump to Hitler are an affront to decency, the Jewish community, the victims of the Holocaust and to Trump himself. The Washington Post published a column by a Harvard professor comparing Trump to Hitler. The New York Daily News had the words “Trump is Hitler” on its front cover. The Huffington Post and The Daily Telegraph have also compared Trump to Hitler. The latest episode of Saturday Night Live compared Trump’s rise to power to “Germany in the 1930s.” High-profile personalities such as Bill Maher, Louis CK, former Mexican president Vicente Fox and even Glenn Beck have all made comparisons between Trump and Hitler.
Have we all gone mad? Are we going to seriously trivialize the murder of six million Jews by saying that a Republican presidential candidate is running for office in order to perpetrate genocide? Is there any political pundit in America with half a brain that actually believes that? Love him or hate him, the fact is Donald Trump has never murdered anyone in his life. He has never incited violence against any group. He has never called for people to be rounded up in ghettos. Trump has a daughter who converted to, and is observant of, Orthodox Judaism.
Being friendly with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, I was aware of the process of Ivanka Trump becoming Jewish.
At any point during the multi-year journey her father could easily have said to her, “Are you kidding me? Seriously? You’re from a prominent family. You’re rich. You’re famous. Get this becoming Jewish idea out of your head.”
But not only did Trump not do so, he did precisely the opposite. He has, on many occasions, spoken very proudly of his daughter embracing the Jewish faith. Donald Trump has Orthodox Jewish grandchildren.
Then there is his son-in-law himself, who stems from one of the most prominent and philanthropic New York/ New Jersey Jewish families. Jared and the Kushners are among the staunchest supporters and defenders of Israel.
They are renowned for the innumerable Jewish causes they support. Jared comes from a family of survivors. I can only imagine how sick they must be in seeing these disgusting comparisons of the patriarch of their daughterin- law’s family to the most evil man that ever lived.
Furthermore, those who use the word “Hitler” to describe Trump don’t realize the injustice they are doing to those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The fact is that there are certain powerful words that we possess in the English language that are reserved for the worst forms of evil imaginable. The word “genocide” is one such word.
When Israel is attacked with 14,000 rockets by Hamas, and must defend its citizens by attacking Hamas rocket launchers, those Israel haters who fraudulently say that Israel is committing a “genocide” are doing a huge injustice to the victims of real genocides. That word must only be applied to true atrocities, and it loses all meaning when misapplied to wars that are moral and just.
The word “Hitler” is another such word that must never be misused. Comparing Trump to Hitler trivializes world war, genocide, the one-and-a-half million children gassed by the monster, and is a vulgar attack on the good citizens of the United States who are being accused of getting behind a murderer. Try telling someone who lived through the concentration camps and lost their entire family to the Nazis that Trump is Hitler. When these words are misapplied, we all suffer for it.
Trump is a controversial candidate but no-one denies that whatever else we may disagree with him on, he’s a staunch supporter of Israel. Americans want to vomit already from the decades of poll-driven drivel offered up to us by so many fake politicians who lack any kind of conviction and simply want to hold office. So it’s easy to see why Trump’s straight talk has taken hold. I agree with him on the need for candor in American politics and, involved as I am with some political figures, I can see why America is hungering for someone to simply tell it like it is.
But there are also obvious areas of disagreement. I reject Trump’s call for collective punishment for the families of terrorists. If a US citizen goes and joins Islamic State (ISIS), does that mean that his family here in the US would need to be punished as well? The Bible is clear that “a son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son” (Ezekiel 18:20). The real Trump haters ought to remember that Roosevelt, Churchill and Truman all engaged in collective punishment by bombing entire cities – including with nuclear weapons in the case of Truman. And even President Barack Obama has ordered drone strikes that no doubt have killed terrorists’ dependents, even if it was not intentional. Perhaps if we did engage in collective punishment then we’d end the terrorist threat much more rapidly. But still it is morally unacceptable as it undermines our values and the all-important idea of personal accountability.
I also disagree with Trump on the temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States because there should never be any religious litmus tests in America. I have said so publicly numerous times. Perhaps if he would have called for temporary bans on citizens traveling from countries heavily infiltrated by ISIS and other radical Islamic ideologies he would not have elicited the same reaction.
But to go from there to comparing Trump to Hitler is utterly abhorrent.
As an aside, it should also be noted how absurd it is when people use this presidential election as proof that America is Islamophobic. I mean, really? Five thousand Americans died in Iraq liberating Muslims being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein. A further 5,000 died fighting the monsters of the Taliban to liberate another Muslim nation. And the US taxpayer footed the $2 trillion bill.
Show me another nation that magnificent, charitable and dedicated to Muslim lives? What Islamophobia? Trump’s outspokenness is in large part a reaction to the anger that much of the country feels over the perceived lack of leadership and strength exhibited by the United States, and he knows that throwing political correctness to the wind and refusing to mince words will very likely be a path to the White House in today’s political climate.
And while I can understand why political opponents do not want Trump as president – just as I understand why political partisans likewise don’t want Hillary, Cruz, Rubio, or Sanders – that still does not give them the right to dishonor the memory of the millions who lost their lives in the Holocaust, or take a man with whom they may have sharp disagreements and make him into a monster.
The Washington Post calls the author “the most famous rabbi in America.” He is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 30 books. Next month he will publish The Israel Warrior: Winning Israel’s Battles in the Marketplace of Ideas. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.