An American TV news anchor has apologised for comparing Donald Trump’s conduct to the events leading up to the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said she “should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts” after an outcry following her show on Thursday, when she invoked the anniversary of Kristallnacht in discussing Trump’s lies, calling the pogrom an “attack on fact.”
She had described Kristallnacht as the “Nazis’ warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to genocide against a whole identity, and in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history and truth”.
She then added: “After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team pledges a return to norms, including the truth.”
It provoked an angry reaction, including from the Israeli foreign ministry, which demanded that she apologise, having argued that her comments were “an affront to the memory of the Holocaust”.
Several Jewish figures say there are grounds for comparison, including former director of the Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman and the US historian Deborah Lipstadt, who beat Holocaust denier David Irving in a 1996 London defamation trial.
However, most felt that Amanpour overstepped the mark, including Israeli diplomat in Atlanta, Anat Sultan-Dadon, who wrote to CNN to register her “dismay”. On Monday, Amanpour issued a statement, apologising for any upset.
“I observed the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, as I often do,” she said. “It is the event that began the horrors of the Holocaust. I also noted President Trump’s attacks on history, facts, knowledge, and truth.
“I should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts. Hitler and his evils stand alone, of course, in history. I regret any pain my statement may have caused.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.