Representative Steve King by the Forward

Jewish community confounded by comparison of Parler shutdown to Kristallnacht

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The scene in Washington D.C. last week has left many comparing the riots to Kristallnacht, the so-called “Night of Broken Glass,” the Nazi pogrom which served as a prelude to the Holocaust.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, made the connection in a powerful video message, speaking about his father’s alcoholism and the abuse he and other Austrian children experienced growing up under the generation of men who lived with the shame of supporting the Nazi regime.

“Wednesday was the ‘Day of Broken Glass’ right here in the United States,” Schwarzenegger said. “The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol.”

However, others had a different take. For former Republican Congressman Steve King and right-wing media figure Jeanine Pirro, who goes by Judge Jeanine on Fox News, the American Kristallnacht wasn’t the mob raid on the Capitol which left five dead. Rather, it was the shutdown of Parler, the alternative social media site popular among the far-right, and a hotbed for antisemitism.

“What we’re seeing is a kind of censorship which is akin to a Kristallnacht,” Pirro said. She later clarified her comparison, writing on Twitter that she had been referring to the destruction of Jewish books that took place as part of Kristallnacth.

Prominent Jews — both on the left and the right — wasted no time in calling the two out and pointing out that Kristallnacht was not an act of censorship, but a pogrom which included the burning of more than 250 synagogues and the damage and destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses across Germany. By morning, 91 Jews were dead and 30,000 were arrested and shipped off to concentration camps. It is widely considered to mark the beginning of the Holocaust.


David Ian Klein

David Ian Klein

David Ian Klein covers breaking news and international Jewish communities for the Forward. You can reach him at and on Twitter @davidianklein .

Parler shutdown compared to Kristallnacht

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Jewish community confounded by comparison of Parler shutdown to Kristallnacht

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