Skip To Content
The Schmooze

Sarah Palin’s Holocaust Rhetoric

Ever since her first appearance in the national spotlight, Sarah Palin has garnered mild affection from the Jewish community for her frequent shout-outs to Israel (especially via Twitter and Facebook) and critiques of President Obama’s policies in the Middle East, most recently regarding the flotilla incident. But her social media war against Obama’s policies has taken a Hitleresque turn, and now some are crying foul.

In the space of 140 characters, Palin may have successfully undone whatever goodwill she was building in the Jewish community. “This is about the rule of law vs. an unconstitutional power grab,” she tweeted on June 25th regarding the BP oil spill, directing her almost 200,000 Twitter followers to an article by prominent conservative Thomas Sowell, in which he ominously warns that American democracy is being dismantled and then uses the BP escrow fund to compare the Obama administration to Hitler’s Nazi regime.

The blowback was swift: The Democratic National Committee took the opportunity to castigate Palin in an official statement that called her implied agreement with Sowell “troubling,” and pundits pointed to her recommended reading as irresponsible. (Interestingly, Palin seems to be taking more heat than Sowell himself.)

“I don’t think it’s an offhand mistake,” David A. Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, told the Forward. “It fits in a pattern of insane, persistent, abusive Holocaust rhetoric that has become part and parcel of the conservative movement.”

Even Palin’s natural supporters were hardly rushing to her defense on this particular issue. Benyamin Korn, the director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, reiterated his support for Palin, calling her “a tremendous force in American politics.” But he stopped short of defending the article. For Korn, the offending tweet was simply “an error” – albeit a serious one.

“What Sowell said, from a Jewish point of view, is really indefensible,” Korn said. “The Jewish community must be united in repudiating false analogies to Hitler and the Nazis. It cheapens the public discourse.”

As for Palin, a mere eight hours after posting the Sowell link, she tweeted her defense. “Lamestream media: I never compared Obama to Hitler,” she wrote. “Quit making things up.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.