CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Jumps the Shark, Comparing Trump to Hitler
Last week, Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN’s program GPS, wanted to trash Donald Trump for his proposal to put a hold on Muslim immigration out of concern over terrorist threats. Instead of making constitutional, policy, or even moral arguments Zakaria decided to play the Hitler card. As the Washington Examiner reported:
During the show, Zakaria compared himself to German Jews criticizing Adolf Hitler during his commentary at the beginning of the show. And he showed video of Hitler receiving at least three “heils.”
“I think of myself first and foremost as an American. I’m proud of that identity because, as an immigrant, it came to me through deep conviction and hard work, not the accident of birth. I also think of myself as a husband, a father, a guy from India, a journalist, New Yorker, and on good days maybe an intellectual. But in today’s political climate, I must embrace another identity. I’m a Muslim.
“Now, I’m not a practicing Muslim. The last time I was in a mosque, except as a tourist, was decades ago. I’m completely secular in my outlook. But, as I watch the way in which Republican candidates are dividing Americans, I realize that it’s important to acknowledge the religion into which I was born. And yet that identity doesn’t fully represent me or my views. I am appalled by Donald Trump’s bigotry and demagoguery – not because I am a Muslim, but because I’m an American.
“In his diaries from the 1930s, Victor Klemperer describes how he, a secular, thoroughly assimilated German Jew, despised Hitler. But he tried to convince people that he did so as a German, that it was his German identity that made him see Nazism as a travesty.
“In the end, alas, he was seen solely as a Jew….”
Where to begin? I do not think that as an undergraduate, as editor of the Yale Political Monthly, Zakaria would have accepted a piece whose arguments were so specious. In fact, his comparison is deeply insulting to the victims of the Holocaust. To accept it would be to offer aid and comfort to historical revisionists, who seek to minimize or explain away Nazi crimes.
Zakaria equates Jews in Hitler’s Germany with Muslims in the West, and Nazis with “Islamophobes.” Is that equation remotely justified? Or are today’s politicized Muslims in fact the heirs of Hitler’s hate?
Were Jews Any Threat to Germany in 1933?
Hitler’s loathing for Jews may have been primal and irrational at bottom, ultimately part of the mystery of evil. But in his writing and speeches he cited plenty of reasons why he considered Jesus’ people the enemies of mankind. Let’s go through them, and fact-check Adolf Hitler:
- Hitler blamed Jews for the spread of Bolshevism, even though the vast majority of Bolsheviks were gentiles, whose Communist regime persecuted Judaism as fiercely as Christianity. By 1933, prominent ex-Jews such as Trotsky were already being hunted by Stalin.
- Hitler traced all forms of socialism to Jewish influence, even though the Social Democrat and Communist parties of Germany were led and dominated by gentiles.
- Hitler said that Jews also dominated international finance capitalism, which they somehow manipulated to bring about … Communism. (Let’s not try to tease out that logical rats’ nest.)
- He insisted that prominent Jewish bankers had started the First World War — when in fact the Rothschild family had scrambled desperately to prevent the war, seeing that it would devastate their business, which it did.
- Hitler blamed Jewish socialists for ending the First World War, which he claimed that Germany was on the verge of winning in 1918 — when in reality, American intervention had doomed the German cause, and German armies were on the verge of mutiny. It was Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff who cleverly invited the socialist parties into power, so that they could negotiate (and take the blame for) the harsh Treaty of Versailles.
- Hitler also blamed Jews for pornography, prostitution, and the spread of syphilis. Needless to say, there’s no evidence to support that.
To end all these evils, Hitler openly proposed the “removal,” and secretly planned the murder, of millions of Europe’s Jews, comparing their elimination with the fight against deadly typhus.
Are Muslims Any Threat to the West Today?
Let’s compare Hitler’s list with the charges that worried Westerners, Donald Trump among them, adduce against Islam and orthodox Muslims.
- Islam is intrinsically political and supremacist in its founding texts, and as interpreted by its leading religious authorities all around the world. Well, that much is plainly true — just ask the Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite ayatollahs in Iran, not to mention the soldiers of ISIS.
- Islam rejects religious freedom, demanding death for non-monotheists, and humiliating subjugation for Christians and Jews. More than 1,000 years of Islamic practice confirm this fact, as do the harsh policies toward Christians in the leading Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Pakistan.
- Islam demands the death penalty for adultery, homosexual activity, blasphemy and apostasy. Such laws are part of unalterable, divinely-appointed sharia, and are enforced in a number of Muslim countries, including the Sunni “Vatican,” Saudi Arabia.
- Muslims make up the overwhelming majority of religiously motivated terrorists in the world. There isn’t even a close second with whom to compare them. See Wikipedia’s impartial listing of jihadist terror attacks.
- Muslim culture and some Muslim governments (such as Pakistan’s) endorse “honor killing” of women and girls who transgress Islamic law and bring “shame” onto their male relatives. Read a longtime leading Islamic lawyer, Iranian refugee Daniel Akbari, for massive documentation.
- Prominent Islamic organizations, charities, and pressure groups have secret links to terrorist organizations around the world. As Daniel Pipes reported in National Review: “At least seven board members or staff at CAIR [Council on American Islamic Relations] have been arrested, denied entry to the U.S., or were indicted on or pled guilty to (or were convicted of) terrorist charges. … Federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR (along with two other Islamic organizations) as ‘unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers’ in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas financially. In 2008, the FBI ended contacts with CAIR because of concern about its continuing terrorist ties.”
No politician is talking about the mass removal of Muslims from America, nor even of any discrimination against those who already are citizens. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and many Republican politicians agree with the 66% of Republicans and 46% of all citizens (only 40% opposed) that importing hundreds of thousands of Muslims into America is unwise and potentially dangerous. We might, just might, be able to screen out current, practicing terrorists. But many of the worst jihadists in Europe are Muslims who grew up in France, or England, or Belgium. The more Muslims we have in America, the larger the pool for jihadist recruiters to fish in.
To compare today’s haughty, supremacist Muslim community — whose migrant-packed mosques feature calls for sharia in Britain, for “death to America,” for a global jihad against unbelievers — with the peaceful, hard-working, patriotic Jews of Germany in 1933 is a profound insult to the victims of the Holocaust. It implies that Jews in 1933 really were as great a threat as Muslims are today, and that Hitler’s hatred was not absolutely irrational, merely exaggerated.
I knew Fareed Zakaria in college. We both graduated from Yale in 1986, and both belonged to the Political Union and the Party of the Right. Fareed is too smart and too well-educated to really believe what he is saying today. He knows better, and ought to apologize — not to Donald Trump, but to the German Jews who had won that country’s Iron Cross for valor in World War I, who led its businesses and staffed its teaching hospitals, whose descendants throughout the West are now menaced along with the rest of us by Islamic supremacists. I feel for him, as a person of Muslim origin who rejects sharia law. Sadly, his life too would be at risk if the Islamists had their way.