On an Ostensible Holocaust Website, the U.S. Right's Opposition to Obama Is the Message

On the site of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, the right wing uses one of the 20th century's greatest atrocities for political gain.

Among the dozens of emails that land in my inbox every day, a message in English from a group called Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors caught my attention a few months ago. It was probably the hair-raising photograph of the train tracks to Auschwitz that accompanied the email that prevented me from deleting it immediately.

After all, I have a stake in those tracks. I assumed that this group that I wasn't familiar with somehow considered me one of their own, and my skin tingled with the joy of belonging. In the role of "no longer a child of," I let myself read what the group had to say.

The first thing I learned was that I should be gravely worried by Chuck Hagel's possible appointment as the next U.S. defense secretary. The present column was written just hours after the Senate decided not to end the debate and bring his appointment to a final vote.

But when I first read that Children e-mail, I hadn't yet paid attention to the Republicans' apocalyptic war against Hagel. Because of my silly naiveté, the first thing that jumped into my mind was that the focus must be Hagel's participation in the Vietnam War. I thought I would be reading what these children of Holocaust survivors had discovered about America's alleged war crimes that Hagel had taken part in.

Dual threats

But just another half a line made clear that opposition to war wasn't what was motivating the affinity group I belonged to by birth. So I skipped to the end and read that the group has another name, the Alliance for Israel and World Jewry. It's a "non-profit tax exempt organization committed to the promotion of Western values against the dual threats of complacency and the spread of Islam." (Funny, but I know that the social and biologically-based hierarchy, white supremacy, racial purity, country above all and man in service of the state and race are Western values.)

The group's website features links from other sites. Surfing the site was like wandering through a meeting held by the American right. And I wasn't at all surprised to find among the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors' guests people like former ultra-right-wing MK Aryeh Eldad and right-wing Israeli group Women in Green.

About a month ago, the site featured an article by someone named Eileen F. Toplansky that was taken from the website of conservative online magazine American Thinker. Under the headline "The Revenge of Obama," I read a quote that Toplansky took from the book of someone who quoted the American journalist William L. Shirer, "who described Hitler thusly: 'I observed his face. It was grave, solemn, yet brimming with revenge. There was also in it, as in his springy step, a note of the triumphant conqueror, the defier of the world. There was something else, difficult to describe, in his expression, a sort of scornful inner joy at being present at this great reversal of fate – a reversal he himself had wrought.'" The lady continued, "'scornful inner joy' describes Obama well. With his officious bearing and his 'revenge' moment, he is the 'defier of the world' as he continues his transformation of this country."

Taxing the rich

She also quotes Jonathan Chait, who wrote in New York magazine that if "there is a single plank in the Democratic platform on which Obama can claim to have won, it is taxing the rich." Toplansky also contributes something of her own: "Repeatedly, Obama shapes the argument with the premise that capitalism is evil."

Here's a conclusion: American political correctness forbids saying anything about Obama's skin color, but it allows comparing him to Hitler.

There's also a 2001 article from the National Rifle Association's magazine The American Rifleman that was linked to the site amid the growing debate over restricting gun ownership in the United States. Toward the top, it reads: "New research into Adolf Hitler’s use of firearms registration lists to confiscate guns and the execution of their owners teaches a forceful lesson — one that reveals why the American people and Congress have rejected registering honest firearm owners."

Here's another gem from this article (which I admit I couldn't read all of and look at photos of Nazis gunning down European Jews that accompanied it): "Resistance [to the Nazis] was hampered by the lack of civilian arms possession." Another conclusion: to prevent a new Holocaust, it is necessary leave untouched the free use of guns in the United States.

Who are these children? In all my perusing I came across just one name; it belongs to the organization's founder and president. Maybe I'm more Web-challenged than I thought, or maybe this woman really can do everything on her own, including searching the Web, organizing discussions, linking other articles, sending emails to tens of thousands of people (in her own words), writing press releases, keeping up on events and updating a Facebook page. Take for example the Facebook post from last Wednesday:

"This is not on Obama. This is on the American Jews who voted for Obama against their own interests and Netanyahu who out of some sort of fear of or thinking that doing something so dispicable [sic] is going to ingratiate him with the likes of Obama.

"As we speak, security forces are evacuating Maale Rahavam a long term community in the Judean Desert. I know because a woman who has just given birth can not return to her home. How sad, how wrong, how much must be sacrificed in preparation to the visit of the American President."

Well, it's clear. The train tracks to Auschwitz stretch from the intention to limit gun ownership and increase taxes in the United States to a belated evacuation of a pirate outpost on Palestinian land.