Ben Gordon, a founding board member of JDCA, issued the following statement following Rep. Don Young’s comments:
Last week, Don Young, a congressman from Alaska, asked constituents at a town hall in Juneau, “How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?” He has since defended his remarks, in a statement that was meant to smooth things over, but instead saw him double down on these remarks.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the spurious argument linking the Holocaust to gun control. In 2015, Ben Carson, in his book, A More Perfect Union, suggested the Holocaust could have been prevented if the Jews had been armed.
It was as offensive—and as flat-out wrong—then as it is now.
Nazi Germany marshaled the military and industrial might of an entire nation to exterminate the Jewish people. That they did face resistance—in Warsaw and Minsk, in Bialystok and Bedzin—is beside the point. That such resistance, however brave, proved futile against Nazi tanks, machine guns, and flamethrowers is beside the point, too. That Rep. Young was wrong isn’t what matters.
Young should not be using the greatest tragedy to befall the Jewish people to score cheap political points. His remarks were an affront to the memory of all who perished in the Holocaust. He should issue a full apology for his words, and politicians should steer clear of this sort of rhetoric. The country deserves a reasoned and respectful discussion over much-needed gun safety legislation.