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Noam Chomsky: Trump’s denial of climate climate represents worse threat to humanity than Hitler – ‘Hitler was pretty hideous – but he wasn’t trying to destroy organized human society on earth’

Noam Chomsky


UK Independent excerpt: 

“Definitely the worst one I can think of in history, Adolf Hitler was pretty hideous – [but] he wasn’t trying to destroy organized human society on earth,” Chomksy says.

Challenged on this, with the fact that the Nazi Holocaust killed at least 6 million Jewish people, Chomsky, whose parents were Jewish, says Hitler also killed “30 million Slavs, but not human civilization”.

Asked directly if he was saying Trump, 73, was worse than Hitler, Chomsky says: “That’s a very outrageous statement. And every time I say it, I preface it by saying, here’s an outrageous statement, but please ask yourself whether it’s true.”

Chomsky, whose book with progressive economist Robert Pollin is entitled Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal, cites the Wannsee Conference, held in a Berlin suburb in January 1942 to lay out the Nazis’ plan for the extermination of the Jewish people – what they termed the final solution.

He contrasts that dark genocidal moment in history with a 2018 statement by the Republicans’ National Highway Safety Administration, which concluded no new restrictions were needed for vehicle emissions because it assessed global temperatures would rise by 4 per cent by the end of the century.

As such, the Trump administration concluded there was little point in enforcing new emissions standards, given they were one of several contributors to global warming. The report’s authors wrote that stopping the required rise in greenhouse gas emissions “would require the economy and the [US’s] vehicle fleet to substantially move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically practicable”.

Nevertheless, some will be likely be troubled by Chomsky’s terms of reference and the comparison of Trump to Hitler.

A spokesperson for the highly regarded United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, directed The Independent to a 2015 statement posted to its website it says remains relevant.

It says: “Nazism represented a singular evil that resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews and the persecution and deaths of millions of others for racial and political reasons.

“Comparing contemporary situations to Nazism is not only offensive to its victims, but it is also inaccurate and misrepresents both Holocaust history and the present.”

It adds: “The Holocaust should be remembered, studied, and understood so that we can learn its lessons; it should not be exploited for opportunistic purposes.”

Others were more directly critical. Deborah Lipstadt, a celebrated US historian specialising in the Holocaust, and whose court battle against Holocaust denier David Irving was featured in the 2015 movie Denial, says Chomsky’s comments were counterproductive.

“Look, I think climate change is a tremendous problem, [a] potential catastrophe for many parts of this world. We see it repeatedly. It’s not a theory. It’s not an unproven fact. I know of no serious scientist who denies it,” says Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Atlanta’s Emory University.

“But to compare it to an attempt to annihilate a people, from one end of the European continent to the other, and off the European continent, and to annihilate a good proportion of the Roma population of Europe … it serves no purpose. It’s an unnecessary comparison.”

She adds: “Could this be Chomsky once again saying the outrageous in order possibly to get attention?”

Aryeh Tuchman, associate director of the centre on extremism at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) perhaps the nation’s leading organisation countering hate speech and antisemitism, said “Hitler’s wartime atrocities stemmed from his desire to eliminate Jews and establish Nazi supremacy over Europe, not from his desire to win re-election”.

He added: “This comparison between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump is specious and offensive.”

There was no immediate response to Chomsky’s claims from the White House.



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