Trump’s Awful Mistake on the Holocaust
Full disclosure: I voted for Donald Trump and fully support him as president of the United States. Of course, my friends here in New York, especially the Jewish ones, thought I was absolutely crazy. However, I saw an extremely successful businessman who I believed could take a much needed new approach to government.
A Holocaust survivor Jewish mother raised me to be an independent thinker, which is why I will never be one of those leftist, progressive Obama zombies, for whom our previous president could do no wrong. But when President Trump makes a serious error, he should be called out on it. Trump’s first week in office was a positive reinvention of the presidency — from pulling out of the TPP trade pact to penalizing companies for moving manufacturing out of the country.
But it was International Holocaust Day that brought him his first major error, and it was a serious one. The White House issued a 117-word statement that said, in part, “It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
There was no mention of Jews and no mention of antisemitism.
Can you envision anyone on International Slavery Day at the UN not mentioning the pain and torture that black people lived through? Imagine working on a press release saying, “In the interest of inclusiveness, we would like to mention all of the various groups that were slaves throughout the centuries. After all, Jews were slaves in Egypt. So we won’t mention black people specifically.” No. Black Americans own the term “slavery,” just like Jews own the term “Holocaust.” Remember, it is not called “a” Holocaust; it is called “the” Holocaust, because it was the greatest evil done to one people in history.
Of course, many other people died from Nazi evil. Yet the vast effort of torture, murder, gas chambers, crematoria and cruelty was fixated on “the Jews.” The purpose of Nazism was to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. When the Nazis could have sent trucks to the Russian front to help in the war effort, they directed those trucks to pick up Jews and take them to Auschwitz and Treblinka. They did not specifically pick up gypsies, gays or any other group — although they happily killed them. But it was Jews, especially Jewish babies, who were their targets.
For Donald Trump and Jared Kushner not to understand this very basic concept is a serious issue. Jews do not need the Trump administration’s recognition. General Eisenhower, upon entering a concentration camp right after WWII, made sure that the world would see and remember this massive cruelty and genocide of the Jews.
Trump’s misrepresentation of the Holocaust — and his refusal to apologize for it or amend his statement — is a moral error of grave proportions.
My advice to him: Move the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem immediately.
Irwin N. Graulich is a motivational speaker and columnist on ethics, morality, Judaism, religion and politics. He is also president of Bloch Graulich Whelan Inc., a leading marketing, communications and branding company in New York City.