RJC, ZOA Criticize Trump’s Holocaust Statement
President Donald Trump is facing across the broad criticism from the American Jewish organizations and political groups for omitting the murder of 6 million Jews in a statement marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust,” the President said in a statement on Friday. “It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt immediately noted the omission. “White House statement on Holocaust Memorial Day misses that it was six million Jews who perished, not just ‘innocent people,’” Greenblatt tweeted. “Puzzling and troubling White House Holocaust Memorial Day statement has no mention of Jews. GOP and Democratic presidents have done so in the past.”
On Sunday, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) joined the growing list of organizations criticizing the Administration after the White House admitted that the omission was intentional. “We are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” White House spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, told CNN on Saturday. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning program, WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus maintained that the President has no regrets about the statement. “There was no harm or ill-will or offense intended by any of that,” he said. “I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred is something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad and something that can never be forgotten.”
In a statement issued to Politico, RJC spokesman Fred Brown said, “The lack of a direct statement about the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust was an unfortunate omission. History unambiguously shows the purpose of the Nazis’ final solution was the extermination of the Jews of Europe. We hope, going forward, he conveys those feelings when speaking about the Holocaust.”
ZOA President Mort Klein, who recently boasted about being the only major Jewish organization with direct access to the White House, criticized the White House for doubling down on the ‘painful’ statement. “As a child of holocaust survivors, I and ZOA are compelled to express our chagrin and deep pain at President Trump, in his Holocaust Remembrance Day Message, omitting any mention of anti-Semitism and the six million Jews who were targeted and murdered by the German Nazi regime and others,” said Klein. “ZOA hopes that president Trump will direct his staff and COS Reince Priebus to immediately rectify this painful omission.”
Ron Lauder, World Jewish Congress President, was the only Jewish leader to defend Trump, accusing the ADL of playing politics on the Holocaust Memorial Day. “It does no honor to the millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust to play politics with their memory,” Lauder said in a statement. “Any fair reading of the White House statement on International Holocaust Memorial Day will see it appropriately commemorates the suffering and the heroism that mark that dark chapter in modern history.”
A spokesperson for Lauder did not respond to an inquiry from Jewish Insider whether Lauder stands by his statement following the White House’s admission.
Vice President Mike Pence did, in fact, mention the Jewish people in a statement on Twitter. “This Holocaust Remembrance Day, we join the Jewish people to remember the victims and honor the survivors of the past for sake of the future,” Pence tweeted.