The B'nai Brith recently took out a full-page, Hitler-invoking fundraising advertisment in the National Post.
NOW Magazine, its readers, and a Canadian Holocaust survivors organization were among those angry with the ad. Read Susan G. Cole's post on the subject here.
In the spirit of fairness, here is Frank Dimant, the CEO of B'nai Brith Canada, responding to the criticism.
As a child of Holocaust survivors who was born in Germany right after World War II, I am not only fully cognizant of the very serious problems associated with Holocaust comparisons that trivialize the murder of six million Jews, but I have forcefully spoken out against such comparisons throughout my entire life.
The ad B'nai Brith Canada placed in the National Post on November 9th pointing out the threat of radical Islam and its links to the Nazis does no such thing.
The Jewish people are clearly under attack today and radical Islam is a direct and real threat to my people.
We as a community can no longer afford to be silent when we witness entire pillars of a society lining up so clearly against the Jews. Hitler's Mein Kampf and antisemitic propaganda like theProtocols of the Elders of Zion are selling by the millions in countries across the Islamic world.
These days when you open up a newspaper published in an Arabic country you are likely to see cartoons accusing Jews of every hideous thing imaginable - cartoons demonizing Jews that appeared in Der Stürmer are reproduced almost graphic-for-graphic. Children are being taught from the earliest of ages that Jews are a subhuman species for which no compassion should be shown in madrassas and through television programs across the Islamic world. The list goes on and on.
To answer Susan Cole's question, we chose to "single out the Mufti" for his support of Hitler's Final Solution because as astonishing as it is to admit, and just 64 short years after the Holocaust, the existential threat facing our community today stems from the forces of radical Islam.
A day does not go by where we do not hear the President of Iran threatening to destroy this world's only Jewish State or radical clerics exhorting their minions to slaughter Jews from pulpits all across the Islamic world. While the Mufti was in Europe recruiting and organizing Islamic Waffen SS units for Hitler, he was also a key player in the Nazi propaganda machine - in one of his Nazi-sanctioned radio addresses to the Arab world, the Mufti exhorted the masses to "rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion."
Echoes of those anti-Semitic ravings are still heard across the Middle East today from the mouthpieces of numerous radical Islamic organizations. This new and virulent form of antisemitism clearly has direct links to the Mufti and his support for Hitler - exactly the point that we were trying to make in our ad.
Yes, it is sadly true that Hitler had numerous willing partners for his murderous plans, but today those nations and organizations have either disappeared into the dustbins of history or have seen the folly of their ways. It is not a coincidence that some of the Jewish State's strongest allies at international organizations like the United Nations are the same Eastern European nations on whose soil millions of Jews were slaughtered. It is only in the Islamic world today where we witness the same frightening echoes and demonization of Jews that we saw in the 1930s in Germany.
Having said that, we have received an overwhelming amount of feedback since the ad first ran. By and large, the majority of the feedback has been very positive. But the most important and encouraging feedback has come from Holocaust survivors themselves.
Dozens of survivors have reached out to thank B'nai Brith for finally having the courage to say something about what is so clearly a threat to the Jewish people. To those survivors, and to our organization which speaks for the grassroots of Canadian Jewry, the message of Never Again will always trump the niceties of political correctness.
Frank Dimant, CEO, B'nai Brith Canada[rssbreak]