Huckabee, the Holocaust, and the politics of fear
WGBH - 08/10/2015
When Mike Huckabee uttered his inflammatory remark that with the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama is “marching the Israelis to the door of the oven,” national director of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan A. Greenblatt responded “Whatever one’s views of the nuclear agreement with Iran – and we have been critical of it… comments such as those… are completely out of line and unacceptable.” Chair of the Democratic National Committee and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz observed “Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable.” Former press secretary to President George W. Bush Ari Fleischer explained, “Within the Jewish community, the Holocaust, the words associated with it, are unique…. even a sympathetic politician… needs to be culturally aware of the unique words that should apply only to the Holocaust.”
Huckabee, who was rebuked once before by the ADL for referring to abortion as a holocaust, has not backed down in the face of this widespread and bipartisan criticism. The metaphor was profoundly inappropriate, but it is important to gain clarity about why. It is not because the Holocaust is off-limits for discussion. It has lessons to offer us about the present, but those lessons are about responsibility, not fear.