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October 12, 2015 1:39 pm

Ben Carson, Jews and Guns, and a Media Firestorm

avatar by Abraham H. Miller /

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Ben Carson (pictured) ignited a media firestorm with his recent comments on Jews, guns, and the Holocaust. Photo:  Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Ben Carson (pictured) ignited a media firestorm with his recent comments on Jews, guns, and the Holocaust. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons. – The explosive controversy over Ben Carson’s remarks about Jews, guns, and the Holocaust illustrates a new low in media spin. Carson is a Republican presidential nomination frontrunner, and the legacy press needs to undermine his credibility. Therefore, the controversy is not remotely about what Carson actually said, but about what the media says he said.

Contrary to the way Carson’s remarks are being reconstructed, he never said that if Jews owned guns, there would not have been a Holocaust. He said that if Jews owned guns, the Holocaust would have been different. Is there any doubt it would have been?

Predictably, the most vicious attack on Carson comes from The Forward, where Carson is depicted as some sort of dangerous crazy whose remarks are offensive beyond measure to Jews.

The Forward goes so far as to reinterpret the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, one of the most courageous of the Jewish struggles against the Nazis, as an act of futility: “In the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, for example, armed Jews killed roughly two dozen Nazis. The Nazis, during the same uprising, killed 13,000 Jews.”

Seldom has an act of courage been so viciously corrupted as insignificant and meaningless. Worse, it is a false and incomplete characterization. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising had only about 750 active fighters. They were poorly armed. They held out for nearly a month against one of the world’s best-trained and best-equipped fighting forces. It is utterly irrelevant to argue that the Nazis killed 13,000 Jews during this period. They would have killed them anyway and at a faster rate.

The Forward grabs a number that far exceeds the number of those who took up arms just to underscore its argument that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was insignificant. So, what is more offensive, Ben Carson’s characterization of the importance of resistance or The Forward’s diminution of one of the few triumphs of Jews against the Nazis? What is more insane and dangerous?

The Forward cannot comprehend the triumph of the human spirit, the hope and dignity that come from resistance. Their policy appears to be, better go quietly to the gas chamber and not make trouble.

Even when resistance is futile, it is worthwhile. It is better to die fighting like a lion than go to the slaughter like a sheep. The Forward believes that, faced with overwhelming military superiority, it is better to surrender, even when surrender means death.

Carson is also right about gun confiscation. The Weimar Republic had gun regulations that were oppressive. When the Nazis took power, they used the Weimar gun lists to confiscate the guns of all those they saw as their enemies, starting with the Jews. And while they did make the acquisition of guns easier, this only applied to party members, not to all Germans as The Forward mistakenly claims.

How the Nazis used the gun registration rolls to implement their tyranny is precisely detailed in Stephen Halbrook’s “Gun Control in the Third Reich,” published by the Independent Institute. Liberals have dismissed Halbrook’s work as irrelevant to the gun control debate in America, claiming that guns would have made no difference in Hitler’s consolidation of power. If that were true, the Nazis would not have not pursued their policies of confiscation as vigorously as they did.

Jewish history tells us that if anyone should support gun ownership, it is Jews. Jewish liberals conveniently forget that through guns and organization, Ze’ev Jabotinsky prevented pogroms in Russia. In contrast to the Jews who were incapable of defending themselves at Kishinev, and whose cowardice became a blight on Jewish history, Jabotinsky’s armed Jews taught Russian peasants not to bring a farm implement to a gun fight.

If every 10 Jews who went to the slaughter killed one Nazi, there would have been 600,000 fewer soldiers to man Hitler’s ranks. So, yes, armed resistance would have changed the contours of the Holocaust.

As Solzhenitsyn wrote, if every Soviet citizen bought the equivalent of a baseball bat and formed groups that set upon the state police when they came to arrest their neighbors, fewer people would have volunteered for the Organs (secret police); the Gulag would still have existed, but with a smaller population.

Carson reminds of us the human value of resistance. The Forward reminds us that the cowardly mentality that Chaim Bialik characterized as belonging to the Kishinev pogrom is still with us.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought.

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  • Reform School

    At J Street (where J stands for Jerk) and the ADL {where lust for political influence rarely felt guilt for gelt), The Forward has felt no remorse plying the American Jewish Liberal with tons of ‘gibberal.’

    In contrast, chronicles how two rural Jewish brothers with one pistol, three bullets and determination saved 1,200 landsmen from extermination.

  • Alexi

    An absolutely ridiculous article. If I’m a Nazi and I come to round you up an put you in a ghetto and you resist by shooting at me, I kill your entire neighborhood on the spot. Kaput. Done. OVER. You never even make it to the next day. If you actually KNOW what happened in the ghetto, there were TWO DAYS of real fighting. That’s it. The rest was sporadic. In total 16 dead Nazis. Thousands of dead Jews. Then come the reprisals. In a war of annihilation SURVIVAL is winning. Escaping is winning. Shooting a rifle at a tank and getting blown to pieces is DEATH. DEATH is LOSING. Carson is a class A MORON.

  • Here is my Comment to Mr. Rosensaft’s Forward article:

    The genocide of European Jewry IS an appropriate subject, when discussing it is used to help prevent another one!

    Mr. Rosensaft, I write this comment to you with all due respect to the memory of your mother, her parents, her first husband and her five-and-a-half-year-old son.

    Before Jewish families were forced into the ghettos of their respective hometowns in Poland, and before their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau, they had to be removed from their homes. Logic tells me that if one-third of the Jewish families had owned a gun, and that the armed SS men had been aware of that fact, the Nazis would have been very reluctant to enter the Jewish homes, if at all. It would have taken much more firepower and time to force the Jews to leave them. Quite likely, many of the Jews who perished in the Holocaust could have been spared their horrific fate if a significant percentage of families had kept a gun in their home.

    ​Since I have your attention: America, as the protector of freedom in this world, has the obligation to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure NOW! That is the only way to guarantee that Iran does not get the bomb and use it to commit a second Holocaust!!​

  • Suzanna Deutsch

    I agree that Dr. Carson did not claim that there would have been no Holocaust if Jews had guns. And I agree that that Jews involved in resistance, such as in the Warsaw Ghetto, could have fought back more effectively if they had guns. Obvious several armies, Polish, French etc. were not able to effectively overcome the Nazis. But because Jews would not have been able to stop the Holocaust, doesn’t mean that they should not have been armed. Even if one Jewish life had been saved it would have been worthwhile. I don’t agree with Dr. Carson on many issues, but he is certainly NOT an anti-Semite!

  • The Forward, as a leftist publication, is quite backward on
    on Jewish — and other — matters.

  • Ben Carson is a conceited Republican that no Jewish mother would love, even if he were of paler complexion. He is way too conservative. We Jewish mothers prefer Liberals. Skin color does not matter. He may be well educated, I would like to see his report card, so why isn’t he practicing medicine any more?

    My advice: Do not vote for him.

  • Epicure

    This a part of a letter I wrote to US friends before reading those Comments.
    “Vorwärts” (Forward) Jews are also the same coward idiots as they ever were: giving trust to GPU and NKVD police and Internationalist Policies, to Save the World….. (and their Businesses: taking refuge in the most Capitalistic nation USA, and making good, there!) rather than choosing an autonomous and Zionist courageous way…they let the “others” to choose….

    Jewsih (a propos: Google miserable algorithmic orthography corrector mess ignores the word JEWISH…????!!!! (already useless ?)

    In a Europe where anybody would have had consequent weapons, free, light/heavy ones, like in the USA, no minority Party alone would have taken the power (Bolshevist to Mensheviks:”Majority” in Russian)….. and Nazis to the majority of the Democratic Zentrum, SPD and Communist workers….
    (Disputable with Mussolini…who had a majority…the old Italian Bourgeoisie Jews (since the Roman Times) included in it !…)

    Imagine, just a second, a Coup in Washington DC against, let’s say: 60% of US (NRA crazies): (!) USAA(F) and National Guard would split…and not be enough anyway for the containment of such a mass to be exterminated…..! A free People is an Armed people! Disarming him organizes his Slavery

    In History, the first act of oppression and of changing the Mental of populations, has been to Disarm the populations….
    an Magic weapon was first the HORSE… and then the Weapons and materials: No horse, no shock power in combat, no escape neither
    Jews experimented that in late Middle Age, after having successfully fought with their fellows Christian citizen on the City Walls against invaders….(Blumenkranz-CNRS-1966) They woke up suddenly without the right to ride a horse and possess it, (small Donkeys were just their “Measure”) and just the right to keep professional work items and a knife to cut the bread…! (Timber cutting needs Ax but what could Axes against armored horses?)
    So Jews adapted…. and became artists in fleeing away…Unfortunately they Forgot History and settled down in countries which finally exterminated them…those optimistic who didn’t flee quick and early enough…

    Dems are nice fellows, dreamers and Goodwill Wishful thinkers…Jewish ones are WORSE ! They are Objective Traitors….

    I would add that the text ignores the mass streets killing of 1942/43 in Romania and Moldavia when famillies were assassinated in the front door and I observe again that US Specialists are particularly ignorant ….Reading the Cartea Neagra of Matathias Carp, should be useful to any Jewish and non Jewish Democrat!!!

  • Gnomercy9

    “Cowardice is so ignoble an inner state that men struggle to overcome it, in the face of real dangers. The appeaser chooses a state of cowardice where no danger exists. To live in fear is so unworthy a condition that men have died on barricades, defying the tyranny of the mighty.

    The appeaser chooses to live in chronic fear of the impotent. Men have died in torture chambers, on the stake, in concentration camps, in front of firing squads, rather than renounce their convictions. The appeasers renounces his under the pressure of a frown on a vacant face. Men have refused to sell their souls in exchange for fame, fortune, power, even their own lives. The appeaser does not sell his soul: he gives it away for free, getting nothing in return.” (Ayn Rand: The Age of Envy)

  • ralph levitt

    There is the story of 2 Jews about to be shot by a Nazi
    firing squad.
    The German officer offers them blindfolds.
    Jew #1 spits in the officer’s face.
    Jew #2 says to Jew #1, “don’t do that–you’ll get them
    Professor Miller is Jew #1, as are Ms. Kaplan, Mr. Simon, Mr. Hillel, Dale K., Sofia, Mr. Kiefer, Mr. Oban, Ms. Wissing, Ms. Godman and Nurity G.
    The Foreward, Mr. Krausz and Mr. Nadel are Jew #2.

  • NuritG

    Dr. Ben Carson understands the slogan Never Again, better than some of the Jews who created this slogan
    How, exactly could Jews – or any other persecuted group – prevent a tyrannical power from rounding them up?
    Doctor Ben Carson gets it. He sees the disease, knows to analyze it and he knows the prescription for its prevention.

  • NuritG

    The most vicious attack on Carson comes from The Forward, a Jews publication on the USA east coast. Because of people like those Leftist morons who run The Forward, 6 million Jews went to their demise like lambs: The Forward believes that, faced with overwhelming military superiority, it is better to surrender, even when surrender means death..

    • Alexi

      “Because of people like those Leftist morons who run The Forward, 6 million Jews went to their demise like lambs: ”

      Actually, if you read any history, they went to their deaths because of the Nazis. The “Left Wing Jews” were engaged in creating Eretz Yisrael.

  • Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz

    I am writing this from Poznan, where I am here as well as later in Dresden and Chemnitz on a German Holocaust Historical Research Project as I have volunteered for since 1981 in Europe. I have never heard such NONSENSE as saying Jews could get guns and then they could fight the Nazis! My greatuncle and many cousins were much decorated German officers in World War I, most were arrested in the early days of the Naxi Regime, and several died during the Holocaust at Riga and Theresienstadt. There was both a Jewish Front Line Soldiers Association and an anti-Nazi basically Protestant Front Line Soldiers’ Association. Both were beated down even before Hitler was named Chancellor.
    Poland was armed, so was France, Belgium, they were overrun by the Nazis because they had better, bigger, and more guns than any one else.
    The Jews in Germany – in most of Europe – were l to 3% of the population, only in large cities like Berlin, Warsaw, Lviv, formerly Lvov, were there large Jewish areas. How could my Greatuncle and Aunt, one of three Jewish families in their town defend themselves against hundreds if not thousands of Nazis? How could tens of thousands of Italian or Dutch or French Jews outnumbered 100 to l , 200 to 1, 1,000 to l, do any damage with the largest guns known?
    For any Jew, so committed to Right Wing politics to defend the indefensible comments by Dr. Carlson puts them in some very disreputable company.

    • Gnomercy9

      Speak for yourself. Given the choice I’ll die on my feet rather than live on my knees.

    • J. Glueck

      With all due respect, Dr. Carson is speaking to the situation today in modern America, not the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust era. He merely states that if gun ownership was possible, then resistance might have been a possibility where circumstances made it possible to fight. His meaning is clear and thats what Mr. Miller is saying. The statist Mainstream Media has stirred up this nonsense and seeks to demonize and marginalize men of character like Dr. Ben Carson.

    • Alexi

      THANK YOU!! Well said.

  • zadimel

    Where are the other 16 comments?

  • Stan Nadel

    This is pure stupidity from the gun nuts. Small arm success against a modern totalitarian state military and police apparatus is a fantasy. Here’s what Wiki says–the Nazis loosened German gun controls and note that the gun discrimination against Jews only came in 1938, long after the successful establishment of the Nazi dictatorship:

    In 1928, after a near decade of hyperinflation destroyed the structural fabric of the society, a rapidly expanding three-way political divide between the conservatives, National Socialists, and Communists prompted the rapidly declining conservative majority to enact the Law on Firearms and Ammunition. This law relaxed gun restrictions and put into effect a strict firearm licensing scheme. Under this scheme, Germans could possess firearms, but they were required to have separate permits to do the following: own or sell firearms, carry firearms (including handguns), manufacture firearms, and professionally deal in firearms and ammunition. Furthermore, the law restricted ownership of firearms to “…persons whose trustworthiness is not in question and who can show a need for a (gun) permit.” This law explicitly revoked the 1919 Regulations on Weapons Ownership, which had banned all firearms possession.
    Gun regulation of the Third Reich

    The 1938 German Weapons Act, the precursor of the current weapons law, superseded the 1928 law. As under the 1928 law, citizens were required to have a permit to carry a firearm and a separate permit to acquire a firearm. But under the new law:

    Gun restriction laws applied only to handguns, not to long guns or ammunition. The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as was the possession of ammunition.”[5]
    The legal age at which guns could be purchased was lowered from 20 to 18.[6]
    Permits were valid for three years, rather than one year.[6]
    The groups of people who were exempt from the acquisition permit requirement expanded. Holders of annual hunting permits, government workers, and NSDAP (the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, aka the Nazi party) members were no longer subject to gun ownership restrictions. Prior to the 1938 law, only officials of the central government, the states, and employees of the German Reichsbahn Railways were exempted.[5]
    Manufacture of arms and ammunition continued to require a permit, with the revision that such permits would no longer be issued to Jews or any company part-owned by Jews. Jews were consequently forbidden from the manufacturing or dealing of firearms and ammunition.[5]

    • Gnomercy9

      Israel’s war of independence was no fantasy. It was courageous men and women who overcame a modern war machine with small arms.

  • Lauren Goldman

    Arm every Israeli Jew who wishes to be armed and teach them proficiency in the weapon of choice. Teach children martial arts, beginning in grade school (preferably Krav Maga), then when they reach high school, finish the training with the military version (which includes kill moves). It is time to let terrorists know that if you choose to attack a Jew, the odds are good that you will be killed on the spot. Should a person choose to arm themselves, the number one rule is; do not hesitate when the situation arises. Hesitation is what gets people killed. Act immediately, with no mercy regardless of the attacker’s age or gender. In any situation, your life is of paramount importance and the attacker has lost any consideration of their life. One Jewish life is worth more than all of theirs.

  • The Forward has already decided, in view of the overwhelming numbers of muslims already there & yet to come, to go like a sheep. No lion there …

  • Shalom-Hillel

    13 comments, yet only two appear “fit to print” in this comments section.

    • Epicure

      Yes ! and many are also somehow “affective reactions” of which the rationality is questionable!
      The Logic of Guns Right is that that right to keep and wear guns long short ammunitions whatever should be the basis of a free society and I suppose that these answers hit out of the target: in European SITUATION of prewar timles, the problem was distorted. Nobody was able, like in the USA, to get and use a weaponry to defend themselves. A Nation of 250 millions whose 200 millions of adults are armed and definitely decide to fight and not surrender, is Not repressible by even a big Army built by the same State! So, in 250 years: no “Coup” in Washington DC…..
      If Poles and Jews and Belaruss had have the right for weapons Reserved to NKVD and Gestapo SS to be ready for a “Parisans” Resistance since October/November 39 and August/Septemlber 41…,(instead of 43 and 45!) the face of the world would have been different. The general criticism of Carson’s notice is amazingly “primitive” and full of guilt and misunderstanding…People should think about before letting their ambivalence speak.

  • What Ben Carson had mentioned about Jews is not something to be alarmed. He made sense if the Jews in Germany were armed and elected to fight back…Holocaust might be slowed down but not prevented. The Nazis were determined to wipeout Jews and abide by Hitler to follow his order. Their twisted evil minds never got their goals achieved. Jesus Christ is a Jew and the Son Of God. Israel gave us the savior and for that as a catholic…forever pray for the safety of Israel. Palestinians should just accept Israel as a sovereign state as well as the State Of Palestine. According to the bible…Israel had been in their soil even before the rise of Islam. Israel have the right to exist.

  • Yes, more guns and bullets would have killed more Nazis.
    And for every Nazi killed 100 Jews were killed in reprisal. Don’t say that those Jews would have been murdered anyway and so the effort was costeffective.

    The only effective resistance that a Jew had was to remain alive. Mir wirden dich uberleben!! And when it became obvious that this was impossible, then all he could do was to try and die with dignity, as contradictory as this was.

    Yes, he could try and murder one or two Nazis, but knowing what revenge would be taken and that thereby he would be depriving fellow Jews of their slight chance of survival would have acted as a deterrent to being a hero and going down in a blaze of glory. I don’t think that too many fellow inmates would have been keen to join him in his kamikaze efforts. People want to live!

    Jewish concentration camp and death march survivor

  • ralph levitt

    AMEN and three cheers.
    Thank you, Professor Miller.
    The Goldstein family of Bosnia is a nice and inspiring example. The family moved to Karlovic, Croatia.
    When the Germans invaded in ’41, they put the fascist Ustashe in power in Croatia.
    The father, Ivo Goldsttein, was killed in Ustashe custody.
    This left Lea Goldstein with 2 small boys.
    What to do—-wait to go the infamous Croatian death camp —–or what?
    Lea took the boys, Slavko, 14, and Daniel, 9, to the
    mountain partisans. She became a nurse at a partisan field hospital, Slavko became a partisan fighter and Daniel a courier.
    All survived the war.
    Slavko went to the Yishuv and fought in Israel’s independence war. He then returned to Croatia and became a leader of the Jewish community as well as politician and journalist. His son Ivo is an historian.
    I believe Slavko is still alive.
    He likely would have died 74 years ago along with mother and brother.
    Does this make Carson look extreme or his foolish critics.

    • Epicure

      GOOD reply…Perfect analysis. And great Model.

  • Dr. Bradley Wilson

    Should be no doubt that Carson is a Christian Zionist.

  • manley kiefer

    I would encourage the Jews, especially in Israel, to get a thorough training in the use of firearms and other implements of war as this my be their immediate future way of life until their is a real peace. A lesson to remember, no possible surrender this time, it’s them or us and no middle ground. It’s what one thinks of ones selves and not what the other’s may think.

    • Atilla

      You are 100% correct.

      ” How the Nazis used the gun registration rolls to implement their tyranny is precisely detailed in Stephen Halbrook’s “Gun Control in the Third Reich,” published by the Independent Institute ”

      If only Europe was not disarmed, certain political scum would no longer be breathing.

      If we survive this current crisis, it will be time for a sequel ” Gun Control in the Fourth Reich “.

  • Sister M. Michele S.C.M.C.

    Dear Mr. Miller,
    Thank you for this article regarding Dr. Carson. It’s refreshing and indeed a victory for truth that you write so clearly and honestly. Dr. Carson appears to have no hidden agenda; he appears to not want to target or offend anyone seeking to be true to the God-given values and laws; laws and values given in order that all men will be able to live with order, decency, and with a peace only God can secure for us. I salute your courage and virtue in helping to spread that which is true and good. It’s unfortunate that we live in a society now that makes it difficult to perceive the truth, to recognize goodness, to speak and act with high and noble standards. It will take men like you and Dr. Carson to help to change this grave weakness, this destructive way of thinking for the good of all, and in fact for the survival of a decent, healthy society.
    God bless you.
    Sister M. Michele S.C.M.C.

  • Sofia B

    Excellent article, and well stated by Ben Carson, you doubt, if the Jews would each have a gun, they would not go being slaughtered as they were.

    The Jews were very gentle and believed that they wouldn’t be harmed, only to be led to their deaths. But what could they do, how do you attack without guns, when you have soldiers, with rifles, pistols and vicious dogs ready to attack.

    Bless their memory, we will never forget them and their suffering. They made the State of Israel from their tears and blood.

  • Dale K.

    Thank you, Professor Miller.

  • Shalom-Hillel

    Under its radical editor the Forward has turned into a mouthpiece for JStreet and Obama. They supported the Iran deal and attack supporters of Israel like Dr. Ben Carson. It’s become a far-left bastion that represents its small leftist base, not the Jewish community.

  • Ruth Beaton

    The press, the establishment, and the USA left are very afraid of Carson- he defies their decades of attempts to marginalized American Black conservatives – Carson represents everything they claim does not exist. Several outlets are getting very vicious. What a gentle spirit he has – may he weather the storm. Peace – Shalom

  • Cal Simon

    Thank you for telling the truth. Jewish resistance would have been much more aggressive against the Nazis and their allies if the Nazis didn’t confiscate what few weapons they had left. I am disgusted by The Forward for suggesting otherwise, and blatantly lying to support their Democrat masters. Keep writing the truth!

  • Esther Kaplan

    Algemeiner staff,
    Sometimes you save my day. Sometimes you are the only voice of reason
    In my early morning news appraisal. Thank you for speaking for Carson — and
    others — and for being a spark of light in the darkness of today’s Israel and today’s
    Obama-inspired darkness.

  • Ilbert Phillips

    Nothing scares a liberal more than an intelligent-black-male-American-conservative. All concede that Ben Carson was a brilliant doctor, a man any Jewish mother would have loved to have as a son-in-law. If only he were liberal.

    • Epicure

      Exactly what I mean when I ask if Jews are really the Smarter people????
      Stubbornness seems in contradiction with intelligence…isn’t it?
      OK, fortunately, some are Conservative…But in a European way of thinking, Conservative doesn’t mean neither the same thing it means in the States…
      Is there no some Free Intermediary Concept of thinking, between what I consider a Couple of idiocies?
      A naive French free thinker with no affiliation…