Carson: Never Intended to Diminish Holocaust With Gun Comments
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Wednesday refused to back down on his gun control/Holocaust remarks last week but suggested that he never intended to diminish the enormity of the Holocaust.
In an Op-Ed penned for The Jerusalem Post, Carson repeated his claim “that things might have unfolded in a very different manner in Europe had the Jewish people been armed and better able to defend themselves.”
But after facing some backlash from Jewish-American groups, Carson clarified his comments in a direct appeal to the Jewish community. “I never intended for my words to diminish the enormity of the tragedy or in any way to cause any pain for Holocaust survivors or their families,” he wrote. “Both those who perished and those who survived the Nazi camps deserve our deepest reverence, as do the partisan fighters who rose in armed opposition.”
The controversial comments were made last Thursday, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said. “There’s a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.” The Republican hopeful was immediately called out by The Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s National Director, said in a statement. “The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”
In the Op-Ed, Carson stressed that the aspirations of the Jewish people to a state of their own was rooted by the tragedy of the Holocaust. “There are vital lessons that can be drawn from the Holocaust’s senselessness and savagery… that the Jewish people need a state and that they must have the ability to defend themselves in order to ensure that “never again” remains a reality,” the retired neurosurgeon stated. “That state, Israel, has been re-established in their historic homeland.”
Carson pledged that if elected president in November 2016, “I will explore every opportunity to strengthen ties between our two nations and to ensure that Israel always has the tools it needs to protect herself and our shared interests.” He promised that in his first conversation as President of the United States with the Prime Minister of Israel, he will “utter four important words that reflect the future direction we will take together: ‘Our relationship is restored.'”