Mr. Richard Davis
CNN Executive Vice President of News Standards and Practices
1 CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
Dear Mr. Davis:
B’nai B’rith International, with a presence in countries all around the world, is greatly dismayed by the recent comments by your Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour.
Amanpour last week marked the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht—the November 1938 pogroms—by likening the acts of the Nazis to those of President Trump.
May we remind your network that on November 9th and 10th of 1938, nearly 100 Jews were killed, and more than 1,000 synagogues were set on fire, nearly 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed, and countless homes were looted. Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust which has, for far too long now, been trivialized by leading pundits, journalists, media outlets, political figures and others in their reckless analogies to political opponents and others. The genocide of more than six million Jews is not to be exploited to make a political point. Whatever criticisms one might have of their opponents, comparisons to Nazi Germany are grievously offensive.
What’s more, shockingly, Amanpour does not even mention that the victims of Kristallnacht were Jews. A recent study from September 2020 by the Claims Conference Against Germany concluded that, “Nationally, there is a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts; 63 percent of all national survey respondents do not know that six million Jews were murdered and 36 percent thought that ‘two million or fewer Jews’ were killed during the Holocaust.”
Mentioning Kristallnacht—without naming the victims—and instead using the Jewish peoples’ tragedy to make a political point, is enormously irresponsible journalism. Further, it is precisely this type of careless reporting that results in more and more Americans miseducation on the facts of the Holocaust.
For some time now, across the American political and journalistic spectrum, it has been open season on using Holocaust imagery for everything one does not like. In an age with only a few last living survivors, it is our job as the protectors of the memories of the Six Million, to make sure the re-writing of the Holocaust does not happen.
Christiane Amanpour and CNN should apologize for these outrageous and deeply offensive remarks— the kind of trendy hyperbole which often gets a pass for being just good old political rhetoric, which has no place in the United States of America 82 years after Kristallnacht.
Charles O. Kaufman Daniel S. Mariaschin
B’nai B’rith International President B’nai B’rith International CEO