On the Nazi scale

I find it offensive, even anti-Semitic, when people equate whatever they don’t like with Nazism, trivializing its horrid crimes, and we see one prime example of this in today’s Times, in Stephen Holden’s over-the-top review of ‘Sophie School: The Final Days.’

How would you behave during the kind of relentless interrogations that Sophie endures? If sentenced to death for your activities, would you still consider your resistance to have been worth it? In a climate of national debate in the United States about the overriding of certain civil liberties to fight terrorism, the movie looks back on a worst possible scenario in which such liberties were taken away. It raises an unspoken question: could it happen here?

Thus Holden is equating with Nazism and fascism and even the Holocaust with — what? — secret data analysis of international phone calls? Taking off our shoes in airports? Mr. Holden, go down to the Holocaust Museum in Washington and stare at the pile of shoes in Washington and then come back and write such tripe as this. Get your perspective, man. And they say that bloggers go over the top and journalists don’t? Bullshit.

  • Safran

    Thank you, Jeff. I hate to pull the religion card here, but it’s nice to see we Jews aren’t the only ones who throw the flag when someone cries “Nazi.” I don’t understand why more people cannot comprehend how unbelievably offensive it is when people liken political differences to Nazi Germany.

    Go ahead and liken the Holocaust to the ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, the killing fields of Cambodia and the civil war in Rwanda. But everything else? It simply shows the writer’s failure of imagination to come up with an appropriate metaphor and his ignorance at an understanding of modern history. I’m not even trying to be PC here – the guy just does not understand WW II if he thinks this is even close.

    Disagree with the administration all you want – I certainlly do – but as Dennis Miller said “Bush is not Hitler. Hitler was Hitler.”

  • Jeff Miller

    Who ever said journalists never go over the top? For God’s sake, that’s what most people EXPECT from a journalist (unfortunately).

    I read blogs constantly — including yours, Jeff — and the aggrieved, blogs-are-so-mistreated-by-the-MSM attitude is really chaffing. It’s juvenile, in the most proper sense of the word. The best blogs grew up long ago and stopped whining about how they just don’t get no respect from the MSM.

  • Safran,
    Well said.
    Sorry, but I had another one of those bloggers-v-journalists discussion offline just recently and so it’s fresh on my mind. Take that line out and don’t make it about bloggers at all; you’re right. It’s just about a journalist going over-the-top.

  • I agree with every damn sentiment here about the casual tossing around of terms like fascism and Nazism, but…

    “Could it happen here?”

    Is that actually “equating?”

    Isn’t that the question that democracies must always ask to remain, in fact, free societies? I’m not a Holden fan, but I must be missing something with this reaction. And I’m usually a Jeff Jarvis sycophant. :)

  • Christian Desmond

    How about asking if it IS HAPPENING in the world right now?

    (Although, in Holden’s defense, it’s not as if some head of state has been openly talking about destroying a whole country of Jews or anything.)

  • Gregg

    I think you’re overreacting. He seems to be saying that the movie reflects a worse-case scenario, one that could be repreated. It does not say it is happening…just worrying about “what if”….

  • kat

    Actually it is happening– today’s islamofascism is yesterday’s naziism. Both with identical goals–exterminate all Jews and take over the world. Both have the support of idiots who try lay the blame for their actions, elsewhere, and waiting too long before acknowleging these cancers to free society.

  • Cem

    Would you like to hear “Christofascism”, Kate? Just because Mr.Bush is a Christian and sets the world on fire? “Islamofascism” is a terrible Bush-like wartime propaganda term. It is offensive and hate speech, it is insulting to Muslims. BTW, people who uses such a term don’t know real fascism …

  • Following the same line of reasoning, your article is anti-Semitic as well. Comparing the quasi-totalitarian manner in which the US government is indeed taking away several fundamental civil liberties to the holocaust is a gross and offensive exaggeration. But saying such a pathetic exaggeration is anti-Semitic itself would then be anti-Semitic as well – although I just call it a pathetic exaggeration.
    Compared to real anti-Semitism, Holden’s article is not anti-Semitic at all. He uses a big horror to describe the horrorness of a small horror, therefore making the big horror a bit smaller in the light of the small one. You’re doing it as well, because real anti-Semitism is undoubtedly a lot more evil than these things.

  • Jaap, I think your logic is a bit syncopated there. I believe that when you diminish Nazis and the perpetrators of the Holocaust to the level of anything we don’t like, then you diminish and dismiss the genocide perpetrated on the Jews and that is why I see such acts as anti-Semitic, as in equating the murder of 6 million Jews with a political squabble here.

  • Gray

    Hmm, Jeff, imho you’re oversimplifying some alarming trends here. All the legislation and the tools for a perfet totalitarian system are already there. There are efforts to silence whistleblowers and journalists and billions are spend on propaganda. The number of Bush followers who dropped all ethical concerns in favor of all group think of “the end justifies the means’ is rising. There’s monitoring of groups and individuals that are critical of the administration. There is already a system of secret jails established that could be enlarged. There are laws that eliminate the rights of people simply because they are labelled terrorists by the administration. Followers of the president claim that he has unlimited power in wartime and WoT is considered to be lasting for years or even decades The system of checks and balances is deteriorating and even if the administration engages in unlawful action there is nobody with the power to stop them.

    All in all, Bush has more power than Hitler ’33. It wouldn’t be difficult for him to start a totalitarian regime under the premise of fighting terrorism and insurgency, the next major act of terrorism could be used as justification for this. Thank goodness, Bush is no Hitler. Yet. But it’s easy to be concerned when the president of the US is an ex alcoholic who seems to believe that he’s conducting a mission for The Lord. Let’s all pray for his mental sanity.

    As you know, I’m a german citizen. I sincerely believe that the world would be a different place today and hundreds of millions wouldn’t have had to die before their time if we would have had more citizen who were critical of the administrations powers in the 30s and willing to openly question them. So I don’t think it’s a good idea to vilify honest people who are trying to raise the level of awareness and start a public discussion as being “over the top”. Quite to the contrary, imho it’s people who ridiculed critical voices that bear part of the responsibility for the atrocities that happened after an unquestioned administration went over the top.

  • Gray

    I’m really puzzled by your column here, Jeff. Beside accusing Holden to equate the Holocaust with Patriot Act, which is absolutely not in the original quote, what is the argument you want to make?

    That it’s unpatriotic to question the powers of the administration?
    That journalists shouldn’t make such a brouhaha about civil rights?
    That it’s verboten to say that here might be historical lessons to be learned from the Rise of the Nazis?

    Really, what’s your point?

  • Joe

    It’s Sophie Scholl, actually

  • Brett

    Genocide was not the only crime of the Nazis. It is perfectly legitimate to point out when someone is promoting one of their other policies.

    Godwin’s law is bunk.

  • Ravo

    Cem says “BTW, people who uses such a term don’t know real fascism

    Cem I’d like to see you tell all these

    “Dead children. Dead tourists. Dead teachers. Dead doctors and nurses. Death, destruction and mayhem around the world at the hands of Muslims”

    Tell them that you know what fascism is and they don’t.

    (..can’t find the link to the original of the following, but have seen it quoted freely on blog boards:)

    Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt.
    No Muslim outrage.

    A Muslim attacks a missionary children’s school in India. Kills six.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Let’s go way back. Muslims kidnap and kill athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and busses. Over 700 are injured.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslim newspapers publish anti-Semitic cartoons.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge.
    No Muslim outrage.

    Newspapers in Denmark and Norway publish cartoons depicting Mohammed. Muslims are outraged.

    Don’t forget “Americans RE-ELECTED Bush, proving they knew we were at war.”

    The American people know, that Bush knows, we are at war with fascism.

    The American people also know that the likes of Kerry or Gore wouldn’t have a clue of it.

    …as Gore so recently proved when expressing his regret at the hard time being given to Islamics entering our country.

    To the very same people, whose religion MANDATES America should be under their rule.

  • Cem

    May I help you Ravo. Neal Boortz wrote this originaly on his website.

    I’m quoting Boortz’ bio: “For those of you who don’t know, Neal Boortz (that’s me) has been a Talk Show Host (What Bill Clinton would refer to as a “Preacher of Hate”) in Atlanta, Georgia since 1969.” – That says it all.

    This is pure neoconservative demagogy. Do you know Goebbels?

    BTW, Ravo, why are you posting anonymous? … ;)

  • Jim S

    Cem, while not all Muslims believe in it by a long shot there is a subset of believers in their religion who most definitely are precisely what kat called them. I don’t agree with kat on virtually anything. But there truly are those Muslims out there who believe in precisely what she said. It’s just a fact. Do just a touch of research. Many of them are ignorant such as the imam in Pakistan who offered a reward for the murder of the cartoonist who drew the cartoons in Denmark, apparently not even knowing enough about them to realize that each of the cartoons was drawn by a different cartoonist. They are parochial, most of them (but certainly not all) not really knowing a thing about the Western world. But that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. To this day Bin Laden has many people who support him in the Muslim world. I’m not talking dozens or hundreds but many thousands. While we shouldn’t lump all Muslims in with them we shouldn’t trivialize them either.

  • Ravo

    Cem….Typical Fascist response.

    The Telling of the truth is never hateful.

    What is in those examples that is not truthful?

    Hate is found in those ACTS of fascism, not in the telling of them.

  • Ravo

    Jim, this is what I read by those now studying exactly what it is the Koran is saying.

    By the Koran itself, which is unalterable, any Muslim who does not support world domination by Islam thru jihad, is not a Muslim, but an apostate. Thus anyone saying, I am a Muslim, a believer MUST support those things.

    If that be true, and from all I read it is, anyone calling themselves a Muslim must always be willing to be seditious to their host country. When the time comes to make a choice, one cannot choose in favor of a host country, and remain a Muslim.

    It would seem therefore, spirit willing or not, anyone saying I am a Muslim is forced to support these doctrines.

  • TheBoss

    A Reminder: Rules of Engagement – No personal attacks, hate speech, bigotry will be killed along with commenters.

  • kat

    Hitler still has his followers:

  • Jeff Miller


    No problem. Consider the line omitted from my memory.

    For my part, I’d just come from reading other “regulars” and, I swear, half them were complaining about, “Of course if a blogger had done this instead of the MSM, the shit really would have hit the fan,” or some such similar stuff.

    So we were apparently in the same state of mind. :-)

  • I think people compare political events to Nazism because there is a common understanding that the crimes comitted by the Third Reich were truly evil. As Safran pointed out it may be that to compare event X, Y, Z” simply shows the writer’s failure of imagination to come up with an appropriate metaphor” but I look at it more as defining the scale.

    If Nazism is the worse that humans have done in modern times where on the continueum does a partuclar act of a government or a group lie? If Israelis exact collective punishment on innocent people because one of their relatives committed and act of resistance is that any worse or better than the Nazis randomly executing people because a partisan blew-up a cinima where soldiers were watching movies? If the US Army tortures prisoners at Abu Ghraib is that any worse or better than forced labor at a Concentration Camp.

    I would certainly argue that the actions of the Americans and Israelis are not equivelent to those of the German Nazis. Howeve they are degrees below but clearly of the same kind. How many degrees below is the arguement. The depravity is the same.

  • kat

    And Farhan, where on your scale do you put the depravity such as those above mentioned by Ravo? Are those acts not equal to those horrific deeds committed by Nazis? And what about the acts against the Israelis–you know suicide bombing pizzerias, kindergartens, buses, malls, olympic athletes, etc. If Nazism is the worse that humans have done in modern times where on the continuum does islamofascism lie? And should the USA and all countries not use every means possible to protect against further 911’s, Madrid train bombings, or London bombings, etc. etc. etc.? The USA should use any means possible to fight against the islamofascists in our midst–those living amongst us as they wait to kill us. And I don’t give squat for the rights of terrorists who use our democratic principles to kill us. It’s high time muslims quit blaming Bush and America for their shortcomings–if they want to see what a Nazi looks like, some of them need to remove the masks and hawls and take a good hard look in a mirror.

  • Gray

    “The USA should use any means possible to fight against the islamofascists in our midst–those living amongst us as they wait to kill us. And I don’t give squat for the rights of terrorists who use our democratic principles to kill us. ”

    That exactly is the mentality I mentioned by saying “The number of Bush followers who dropped all ethical concerns in favor of all group think of “the end justifies the means’ is rising.”

    the problem here is evident: Who decides who is a terrorst? Who decideds whose civil rights should be desregarded? Is evidence needed? Probable cause? Rational guessing? Or what?

    This is a dangerous road. Once you start taking civil rights away from a group of people, it is difficult to draw a line somewhere. First terorists, supporters, followers, then muslims, people of arab origin, other foreigners, soon leftists, union members, in the end everybody who not totally supports the administration. The justice system soon becomes irrelevant, and in the end you have a police state where the adminsitration decides who is to live and who is to die. It doesn’t have to be a Nazi dictatorship, it probably won’t be to be a communist regime, but it sure won’t be a democracy anymore but a tyranny.

  • kat

    Democracy can only offer freedom as long as it is not used against others with equal rights. A society should give us all freedom but at the same time
    protect us from others who abuse it. Most democracies are extremely reluctant to “address” in a political or legal sense, religious groups, political parties or ethnic groups from within their society, simply because their
    freedom is guaranteed by its very constitution. Islamofascists know this and use it against us. As soon as these groups’ behaviour becomes politically
    destabilising or a clear and proven danger to others (like,
    say, a terrorist threat or a 911)….then that may need to change. We’d have to be nuts to allow them to plan another attack on us on our soil. Once should be enough.

  • Jorge

    As fiction this book may very well be over the top. If we take a closer look at our real lives and in real time there are plenty of danger signals out there that require our attention. One party rule comes to mind and the way it unfolded.

    I don’t like fiction for this one reason, it trivializes our problems that we need to deal with in real life.

  • Gray

    Sry, Jorge, what are you talking about? The topic here is that JJ has a problem with a critique on a german movie about anti-Nazi activists. No Book involved, and it’s history, not fiction. Wrong thread?

  • kat

    Jorge–there is a two party system. Clinton is in Pakistan right now promoting leftist principles and calling for the arrest and conviction of all cartoon publishers. Bless the left and their fight for democracy and free speech.

  • Gray

    kat, just between some of your lousy jokes, could you pls define the group of islamofascists? The word is all over right wing blogs, but noone gives any details…

  • kat

    they are muslim terrorists with the desire to impose islam upon the masses…al queda, muslim brotherhood, taliban, hamas, hizbullah,…terrorists with jihadist ideologies whose aim it is to destroy the western world and impose sharia on everyone.
    A good examply would be the savages in Nigeria who today murdered over a dozen innocents and burned a dozen Christian churches because they blame poor Nigerians for cartoons they had nothing to do with. It was just a good excuse to kill.

  • Gray

    K, I’m relieved. Some right wingnuts seem to use “islamofacists” as a collective term for all muslims, and of course this goes way too far. Imho the terrorist groups you are addressing are adequately dealt with under Patriot Act. Ok, I have some doubts about jailing somebody for years without any kind of judicial control, but most other measures are ok.

    There is another problem with Hizbollah and Hamas: As you surely know, they consist of terrorist groups, but also of political movements and, in the case of Hamas, employees and voluntaries of its social enterprises. Very much like IRA/Sinn Fein. The US promotes democracy, so its will be kind of a balance act how to deal with the dual role of those groups.

  • kat

    Yeah, like hamas and hezbollah, naziism was a political movement. It is their politics I have a problem with–islamist ideals. Most of these islamofascist groups are political movements–the move to destroy the west and impose sharia and create islamic states. A new poll shows that 41% in Britain want to impose sharia. What state are you willing to turn into a sharia ruled shithole?
    I should have added that I also group supporters of the above mentioned groups as islamofascists.

  • Ravo

    For those here who do not know what Islamfascism looks like.

    Perhaps this picture of will give you a clue.

    Ordinary Muslim women in Pakistan
    hold a sign reading “God Bless Hitler”.

    Just your regular believers?
    ….believing 100% in what Hitler did.


    Wake up. Stop living in denial of the threat the world is facing.

    Using a host country’s own laws against it is their plan.

    Allowing your enemy to put your focus on how everything is all your fault, while they commit atrocities such as slaughtering schools full of children is lunacy and plays right into their hands.

  • Gray

    Ravo, kat – your comments directed at me? Cause I’m neither a Hamas or Hezbollah supporter, nor am I promoting sharia (or the bible) as the base of any society. However, far as I remember the topic was like “Do you think it’s over the top that a movie on Nazi Germany leads some to ask’Could it happen over here’? I posted my opinion on that, how about yours?

  • Ethan

    man, he’s not equating nazism and taking your shoes off in an airport. really, he’s not. look up the word “equating” and get back to me.

  • Ravo

    “Do you think it’s over the top that a movie on Nazi Germany leads some to ask’Could it happen over here’? I posted my opinion on that, how about yours?

    I think it’s over the top to be worrying about a phantom Hitler while at the very same moment real Hitlers X 10 are actively aiming straight for you.

    Don’t think for a moment these enemies have plans of rebuilding any country they conquer and giving it back to it’s citizens , as the US did in Japan and is attempting to do with Iraq.

    This essay, excerpt below, is must reading:
    This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently. And don’t worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then.


  • Gray

    Hmm, like always, we have a very different opinion on this issue, Ravo. I see a dangerous level of power and am wondering if there are enough safeguards that prevent it from being (ab)used for bad intentions while you see a lot of bad intentions but don’t care that those groups are actually quite powerless on a global level…

  • Ravo

    those groups are actually quite powerless on a global level…

    obviously you didn’t read that link above.

    While you worry about Nazis from the right, it’s the left that provides the path.


  • Gray

    Ravo, k, now I’ve tried to read your 6thcolumn* source. But I stumbled about this:
    “France has a 10 – 20% Muslim population. Belgium runs close to 50%.”

    Oops?! Neighbouring Belgium, 50% Muslims? Strange, would have never guessed that when I’ve been there. Maybe I should look for a :
    “Ethnic groups: Fleming 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%
    Religions: Roman Catholic 75%, Protestant or other 25%”

    Thx for the entertaining link. Good night.

  • Secularist

    I just wanted to post that a group of Islamists attempted to have Sharia law courts set up in Ontario, Canada just 18 months ago but due to a movement of women and secularists they were forced to stop by the Ontario Government. So, Kat is not off the mark about Sharia law and the groups that are trying to promote it and establish Sharia law in Western societies. Fortunately, the governments are not allowing it to happen yet.

  • Gray

    “Fortunately, the governments are not allowing it to happen yet.”

    Exactly. And as long as the governments stay aware, we shouldn’t engage in panic mongering. As I pointed out before, I’m very much against any religious ideology as a base of a community. I hope that governments decisevely step up against ANY such attempts, not only the islamic ones. Think of scientology communities, those Waco davidians, Mormon polygamist sects, Moon sect camps and other examples. All attempts to establish communities bound by their own rules who are contrary to the american democratic idea.
    No Pasaran!

  • kat

    “Fortunately, the governments are not allowing it to happen yet.”
    But when they start ravaging and rampaging and killing innocents in Nigeria and burning scores of buildings, especially Christian churches, and the world community does nothing, then islam is being imposed. It was imposed the day you couldn’t run the mohammed cartoons. Appeasing these nutbars is allowing them to impose their beliefs on you, because of fear, governments worldwide are capitulating…just like with naziism.

  • Gray

    Sad news about Nigeria. I’m not really up to date about the situation there. After all, it’s far away from the US or Europe and the chance that problems there will affect us is almost zero. Sounds hard, but we germans dropped the idea to be the policeman of the world 60 years ago.

  • kat

    Yes, Gray, Darfur is too far away too, so let the genocide continue there. In the 1940’s Europe was too far away, so how could the genocide of 6 million Jews and millions of others have an effect on us. Yes, you keep proving naziism and islamfascism are very much alike with identical goals, and if it doesn’t affect Gray, it’s OK. You truly are an asshole.