August 9, 2005
A leading Holocaust Studies institute is urging entertainers Harry Belafonte, Woody Allen, and Dick Gregory to retract their recent statements comparing the Bush administration, Israelis, and black conservatives to Nazis.
Belafonte even claimed that there were “a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of (Adolf Hitler’s) Third Reich.”
“Some entertainers simply don’t know much about history,” said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, a research and education institute focusing on America’s response to the Holocaust. “The fact is that there were no Jews in Hitler’s hierarchy, the policies of America and Israel are not similar to those of Hitler, and African-American conservatives are not comparable to Nazis.”
The Wyman Institute is urging the three entertainers to publicly retract their “inaccurate and hurtful” remarks about Hitler and the Holocaust. Dr. Medoff said: “Such analogies pollute public discourse, by trivializing the brutal horrors committed by the Nazis. Hitler was a maniacal dictator whose regime systematically annihilated six million Jews, and launched a world war that caused the deaths of more than forty million people. How can any reasonable person put Hitler and the Nazis in the same sentence as American or Israeli leaders, or black conservatives?”
In an interview with Cybercast News Service on August 5, 2005, Belafonte dismissed the significance of African-Americans holding prominent positions in the Bush administration, saying: “Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content, or value.” (CNSNews.com)
Comedian Dick Gregory, also interviewed by CNS News, said that African-American conservatives “have a right to exist, but why would I want to walk around with a swastika on my shirt after the way Hitler done messed it up?”
Earlier this summer, comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel: “The history of the world is like: he kills me, I kill him. Only with different cosmetics and different castings: so in 2001 some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other.” (Der Spiegel, June 20, 2005)