Antisemitism in Context
Reporting that leads to a greater understanding of antisemitism
The Romanian government struggles to confront its role in the Holocaust as the Bucharest city council votes to preserve a bust of Mircea Vulcănescu, a former Nazi collaborator.
Michigan’s Republican Party Compares the Holocaust to Gun Safety Measures
On March 22 Michigan’s Republican party posted a meme on its official social media accounts comparing the Holocaust to gun safety measures. The photo features a trough filled with wedding rings that the Nazis confiscated from Jews entering the Buchenwald concentration camp. The superimposed text reads: “Before they collected all these wedding rings…they collected all the guns.” The post’s caption—“#History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them”—includes the hashtags #2A (i.e. Second Amendment) and #GOP.
Despite local and national Jewish organizations’ condemnation of the posts, the Michigan GOP refuses to apologize or withdraw the comparison. Instead, the party chair, Kristina Karamo, a far-right election denier, told reporters that she “stands by that statement” and will not be “intimidated or bullied for speaking the truth.”
This is the latest example of public figures and institutions comparing contemporary events to the Holocaust. In 2019 several progressive Democrats referred to immigrant detention centers as concentration camps, and in 2021 and 2022 several prominent Republicans likened mask and vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic to practices in Nazi Germany. Last month Pope Francis compared the Nicaraguan government’s treatment of religious leaders to Adolf Hitler’s rule in the Third Reich. Also in March Gary Lineker, BBC’s highest-paid TV commentator, likened Britain’s new asylum policy to Nazi Germany’s anti-immigration rhetoric.
Finland, March 25, 2023
Ben Zyskowicz, a Jewish lawmaker, was assaulted while campaigning in Helsinki for Finland’s April 2 general election. A man confronted him at a metro station, shouted antisemitic slurs, and threatened to kill him. The confrontation soon escalated, and Zyskowicz was punched in the face and fell to the ground. Finnish police later apprehended a suspect.
Greece, March 28, 2023
Greek authorities arrested two men who were planning terrorist attacks on Jewish sites in Athens. According to the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, which contributed to the investigation, the men are Pakistani nationals and belong to an Iranian terror network. The men were targeting Jewish sites such as a Chabad outpost and a Jewish restaurant.
United Kingdom, March 29, 2023
Spotify, one of the largest music streaming platforms, has removed “violent extremist antisemitic” content and songs following a petition organized by We Believe in Israel (WBII) and the Board of Deputies. The removed songs include “Arabic Katyusha,” “The Death of Israel” and “Udrub Udrub Tel Abib,” which allegedly use antisemitic language to incite violence against Israelis.
Brazil, April 5, 2023
The State University of Campinas, one of Brazil’s most prestigious universities, was forced to shut down an event organized by several Israeli institutions of higher learning because of pro-Palestinian demonstrations. The University of Haifa, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology organized the promotional event, the “Israeli University Fair,” to attract academics and students. Dozens of demonstrators chanted anti-Israel slogans and carried Palestinian flags outside the event venue until the organizers canceled the fair due to security concerns.
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