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ADL: Rep. Clyburn ‘Should Apologize and Retract’ Holocaust Comments

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March 7, 2019
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to “apologize and retract” his recent comments about Holocaust survivors and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

Clyburn told The Hill on March 7 that Omar’s experience in fleeing violence from Somalia “is much more empirical — and powerful — than that of people who are generations removed from the Holocaust. There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this,’” Clyburn said. “It’s more personal with her. I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”

The ADL tweeted in response, “It’s offensive to diminish the suffering of survivors & the continuing pain of Jews today. We respect @WhipClyburn’s long record of public service, but he should apologize & retract.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier told the Journal in a phone interview that Clyburn’s comments were “terrible. The fact that [the Holocaust] may now be about our grandparents and about our great-grandparents, it doesn’t matter,” Hier said. “It’s as if it occurred today. It was that kind of a wake-up call for world Jewry.”

American Jewish Committee Los Angeles  Assistant Director for Policy and Communications Siamak Kordestani  said in a statement sent to the Journal, “There have been enormous numbers of Jewish refugees since the Holocaust, even in modern times. In the late [19]40s and 50s, around 800,000 Jews from Muslim countries had to flee because of lethal anti-Semitism, and their property was expropriated. Around the time I was born in Iran in the 1980s, many Jews were fleeing the country because of war, political turmoil and anti-Semitism.”

Clyburn posted on Twitter: “We can be no more or any less than what those experiences allow us to be. To recognize and honor the experiences of one member of our Caucus does not mean that we ignore or dishonor the experiences of another.”

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