So Obama, no doubt partly to shore up his weakness with Jewish voters, made a perfunctory appearance at the Holocaust Museum yesterday, where from the video and transcript it seemed that he more or less phoned it in. In introducing Obama, Elie Wiesel put him on the spot:
“How is it that Assad is still in power?” Wiesel asked. “How is it that the Holocaust’s No. 1 denier is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons – to use nuclear weapons – to destroy the Jewish state. We must know that when evil has power, it is almost too late.”
“Mr. President, we are here in this place of memory. Israel cannot not remember. And because it remembers, it must be strong, just to defend its own survival and its own destiny.”
In light of the starkness with which Wiesel set up Obama, the actual policies Obama announced—of trying to constrict electronic surveillance of populations in oppressive countries—seems small and pathetic. Wiesel probably would probably like George W. Bush back.
But it got me to thinking about what’s behind the palpable insincerity of Obama and the Left about Israel. And it turned to a larger question: As a thought experiment, just what would the Left have had against Hitler and National Socialism if he hadn’t been so rabidly anti-Semitic?
The Atlantic last week reran a piece it first published in 1932 on “Ten Things You Should Know About Hitler.” It mentions Hitler’s “violent hatred of Marxian Socialism.” Yes, that would have gained him a frown in faculty clubs. But many of the other salient aspects of Hitler’s ideology sound just like what you hear from American “Progressives”:
4. His concern for social betterment (‘true Socialism’) as a necessary prerequisite to the acceptance of his ideals by the masses.
5. His contempt for the intelligence of the ordinary man and for a democracy based on faith in his development to higher levels.
6. His contempt for parliamentary institutions as the organs of such a democracy, which substitutes for the decision of a competent leader the majority vote of the incompetent. . .
Doesn’t this sound much like Tom Friedman, et al, complaining about our “dysfunctional” political system, the Senate filibuster, etc?
7. His insistence on the power of personality and on the entire concentration of authority in the hands of one leader (up to now, himself).
Cue the “hope and change” poster for “The One.”
8. His economic nationalism, with its distrust of international capital and its preference for small, locally controlled business organizations. Hitler fears the banks and all newfangled ideas for controlling credit. He objects to stock companies and stresses the value of personal ownership. In short, he believes in the ruthless subordination of economic interests and economic leaders to racial and national considerations.
Now you know why the Left goes bonkers when you point out these parallels.