(November 17, 2020 / Israel Hayom) Veteran CNN anchorwoman Christiane Amanpour apologized during her Monday show for having equated the events of Kristallnacht with U.S. President Donald Trump’s term in office.
Her comments caused a storm of controversy, including a demand from Israel to issue a retraction.
“I observed the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, as I often do. It is the event that began the horrors of the Holocaust. I also noted President Trump’s attacks on history, facts, knowledge and truth,” Amanpour explained.
However, she said, “I should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts. Hitler and his evil stand alone, of course, in history. I regret any pain my statement may have caused.”
She added, “My point was to say how democracy can potentially slip away, and how we must always zealously guard our democratic values.”
In the opening segment of her regular daily affairs program on Thursday, Amanpour spoke of the anniversary of Kristallnacht—the pogrom on Jews in Germany and Austria in November 1938—and how the Nazis upended human civilization, which led to genocide.
During the segment, she warned that Trump’s criticism of the media and legal efforts to contest the recent election to the Nazi attacks on Jews during that event.
“This week 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened,” Amanpour said in her monologue. “It was 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. 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.”
Amanpour was heavily criticized for drawing this comparison, leading to calls for her removal by both Jews and non-Jews who were shocked at the ease with which she compared Nazi Germany to what has been widely considered to be a very pro-Israel administration in Washington.
Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich sent a letter to CNN president Jeffrey Zucker on Sunday, demanding that Amanpour issue an “immediate and public apology” for the “unacceptable comparison.”
“We find hereby the false equivalence made between the actions of a sitting U.S. president and the atrocities of the Kristallnacht pogroms which were carried out by the Nazis 82 years ago belittling of the immense tragedy of the Holocaust,” wrote Yankelevich.
Following the anchorwoman’s comments, Ben Habib, a former European Parliament member for the Brexit Party in Britain, said on Twitter: “This is @camanpour on @CNN comparing Trump’s tenure to Nazi Germany. How the hell is this sort of prejudice tolerated on mainstream media? Third-rate rubbish.”
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, an organization that defends Jewish interests, tweeted: “Despicable. @camanpour compares verbal fact-checking of a POTUS to a Nazi pogrom in which dozens of Jews were murdered.”
CNN has clashed with the Trump administration repeatedly over the past four years, due to the president’s claim that the network is biased against him.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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