I’ve waited several days for a response since I sent a letter last Thursday, I’ve checked the ADL website, my Inbox, fax machine, and asked in the climate skeptic community if anyone has seen any response of any kind from ADL. None has been received. It seems that ADL chooses silence after making a hypocritical error that puts their organization in a very bad light.
Readers will most certainly recall the ugly situation that ADL put themselves in when a climate activist at the Atlanta ADL office (Shelley Rose) issued a statement condemning Dr. Roy Spencer, who after years of suffering abuse, decided to fight back with a label of his own.
Apparently acting on her own, Shelley Rose moved quickly to denounce Dr. Spencer, yet the ADL main organization appears unwilling to defend him and other climate skeptics from reprehensible analogies to “Holocaust deniers”.
Since then, I and many other have sent letters, made phone calls, and some even made visits to ADL offices trying to right this hypocritical wrong. So far, ADL’s public reaction has been indifference and silence, and they’ve even gone as far as shutting off comments on their original press release, but have remained silent on the criticism of an issue they themselves created. Yet, their own director says this:
“Inappropriate Comparisons Trivialize the Holocaust” – Abraham Foxman, ADL Director
Where was ADL through the years of abuse climate skeptics have dealt with? Why does ADL condemn Dr. Spencer for labeling attackers as “climate Nazis” while turning a blind eye to the much larger and longstanding pattern of abuse that trivializes the Holocaust? Below, over 40 examples of such abuse from prominent people in the climate debate follow. Following that, two letters that have been sent to ADL on this issue that have been ignored as of this writing.
Examples of “Inappropriate Comparisons Trivialize the Holocaust”
“Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”
“Clouds of a different sort signal an environmental holocaust without precedent. Once again, world leaders waffle, hoping the danger will dissipate. Yet today the evidence is as clear as the sounds of glass shattering in Berlin.”
“I wonder whether such a show, if concerned with denial of the holocaust of world war II, would have been conceived?”
“It reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s – there were people – who said ‘don’t worry! Hitler’s not real! It’ll disappear!”
“We have Holocaust deniers; we have climate change deniers. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference.”
“Would the media insist on having a Holocaust-denier to balance any report about the Second Word War?”
“…the others working to derail this critical piece of legislation will be seen as the Adolph Hitlers of our day, contributing to a holocaust vastly eclipsing the horrors of World War II.”
“The deniers of climate change are cut from the same cloth as Holocaust deniers. They’ve never been to the death camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau, so what they haven’t seen does not exist.”
“The obvious reductio ad absurdum is Holocaust deniers: Should their perspective be provided, for “balance,” any time someone writes about the Holocaust?”
“Climate deniers are less immoral than Holocaust deniers, although they are undoubtedly more dangerous.”
“Fox [News] is far and away the extreme example. They’ll have a known holocaust denier debating a holocaust survivor.”
“Giving in to the forces of low ambition would be an act of climate appeasement. This is our Munich moment.”
“At its core, global warming denial is like Holocaust denial, an assault on common decency.”
“It’s about the climate-change “denial industry”, …we should have war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
“There are many more traits that the climate deniers share with the creationists and Holocaust deniers and others who distort the truth.”
“Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial.”
“When the press does a story on the Holocaust, do they give equal time to the revisionists?”
“I think these people are anti-science flat-earthers. …They are every bit as dangerous as Holocaust deniers.”
“I asked Lucht if he would give similar treatment to anti-vaccine activists or Holocaust deniers.”
“Those who abjure global warming are not skeptics; they are deniers. To call them skeptics is to debase language as much as to call the Ku Klux Klan “prejudiced,” Holocaust deniers “biased,” or Flat-Earthers “mistaken.”
“These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers – like Holocaust deniers.”
“Would PBS go so far as to give air time to an even more extreme kind of disinformer, a Holocaust denier?”
“Bluntly put, climate change deniers pose a greater danger than the lingering industry that denies the Holocaust.”
“The climate-change deniers are rapidly ending up with as much intellectual credibility as creationists and Flat Earthers. …they are nudging close to having the moral credibility of Holocaust deniers.”
“An Inconvenient Truth is so convincing that it makes opposers of the argument as credible as Holocaust deniers.”
“David Irving is under arrest in Austria for Holocaust denial. Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence – it is a crime against humanity after all.”
“I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who will be partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put this in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial.”
“The threat of climate change is catastrophic. In fact, the current wave of climate change scepticism smacks of 1930s-style appeasement.”
“Some people don’t believe in climate warning – like those who don’t believe there was a Holocaust.”
“There are bound to be deniers. Whenever you set up a thesis there’s bound to be somebody who comes the opposite way …like Holocaust deniers.”
“Even so – and because of its resonance with Holocaust denial – the term “denier” can be used to describe those who trivially reject the existence and threat of global warming.”
“This article begins by first naming this counter-movement “climate denial” and working through the various apparent options by specifically looking at the scholarship on Holocaust denial for insight.”
“What is the difference between Lomborg’s view of humanity and Hitler’s? …If you were to accept Lomborg’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing.”
“Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.”
“Does the Media Research Center think equal air time should be given to Holocaust deniers and flat-earthers as well?”
“We don’t give Holocaust deniers equal time to vent their noxious views, so why offer it to the climate change deniers?”
“Denialism, a concept that was first widely used, as far as I know, for those who claimed that the Holocaust was a fraud, is the concept I believe we should use.”
“If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”
“I now have a new level of disdain for global warming deniers. I just lump them in with Holocaust deniers and act accordingly.”
“The text [The Skeptical Environmentalist] employs the strategy of those who, for example, argue …that Jews weren’t singled out by the Nazis for extermination.”
“I do think it’s often a mistake to call them climate skeptics. I think they’re deniers, just as I think president Ahmadinejad of iran who claims not to believe that the Holocaust occurred.”
Thanks to Andrew at PopularTechnology.net for compiling that list.
Below is a letter that I sent to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman last week via email and by fax. I have received no response.
ABRAHAM H. FOXMAN
New York, NY 10012
Dear Mr. Foxman,
I hope you are aware of the recent events surrounding a press release issued by Ms. Shelly Rose, if not, this letter may be helpful to you.
Since it appears the press release issued by Shelley Rose out of the Atlanta office condemning Dr. Roy Spencer has not been posted on the main ADL website yet, does your organization have any comment on whether they endorse it or not?
That press release is here: http://atlanta.adl.org/news/adl-condemns-spencers-nazi-analogy/
It appears Ms. Rose used her connections and knowledge as a climate activist to form an opinion on the issue, yet it seems antithetical to the mission of the ADL.
Since Dr. Spencer and many others have been the victims of Holocaust related hate speech for years, including calls for Nuremberg style trials, propaganda style videos of exploding children who might be skeptical of climate change, and even calls for the death of climate skeptics (see references below) for at least seven years since the term “denier” was thrust into the American lexicon as a term used to describe climate by a widely syndicated column by Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe in 2007, my belief is that the main ADL organization has remain silent on this issue simply due to being uninformed on the issue.
I also believe that Ms. Rose may have acted without your knowledge and/or approval when she issued that press release, but given the history we have uncovered about her climate activism at an Atlanta synagogue, it seems she was well versed in the climate issue.
The mission of the ADL clearly is: Imagine a World Without Hate®
Yet, here we have the ADL silent on Holocaust related hate speech being used to label people who have a different viewpoint on the science surrounding climate. As Dr. Spencer notes in his rebuttal, “…we do not deny global warming. We do not deny climate change.” but many climate skeptics, including myself, question the intensity of the effect, especially since projections from computer climate models and measured temperature have not matched now for 15 years.
I see this as a golden opportunity to right a wrong, and to expand on what Ms. Rose said in her press release to include the use of “climate denier” as also being unacceptable.
It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research. The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions.
I certainly agree with that, and I hope that ADL will solve the quandary Ms. Rose has created where it seems hypocritical to favor one usage and not another. I would hope that ADL amends their position to include the use of the term “climate denier” as equally wrong.
Thank you for your consideration, and hope you’ll make a statement that covers both sides of this ugly episode rather than just one. I look forward to your comments on the issue.
[business address and phone number redacted]
(1.) I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future. – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, February 9, 2007 “No change in political climate” on the Wayback Machine here
(2.) The1010Campaign | September 30, 2010
Whippersnapping climate campaign 10:10 teams up with legendary comic screenwriter Richard Curtis – you know, Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill, co-founded Comic Relief – and Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong to proudly present their explosive new mini-movie “No Pressure”. The film stars X-Files’ Gillian Anderson, together with Spurs players past and present – including Peter Crouch, Ledley King and David Ginola – with music donated by Radiohead. Shot on 35mm by a 40-strong professional film crew led by director Dougal Wilson, “No Pressure” celebrates everybody who is actively tackling climate change… by blowing up those are aren’t.
Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjVW6roRs-w
(3.) Austrian Prof: global warming deniers should be sentenced to death
(4.) NUREMBERG-STYLE TRIALS PROPOSED FOR GLOBAL WARMING SKEPTICS
(5.) Editorial on the Press Release from Ms. Rose, including photos of her at an Atlanta Synagogue with a climate activist group.
sent via email, fax
Now, here is a much more powerful letter, sent by one of our readers about the same time as my letter, who is far more prescient than I on the issue and who spoke with ADL Director Foxman
Abe – Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this morning.
Let me preface what follows by stating up front that, as a Jew and a member of civil society, I greatly appreciate the work ADL has done over many years to fight anti-Semitism in the U.S. and across the globe, and I enthusiastically support your efforts in that pursuit.
As we discussed, I am writing you to highly recommend, in the strongest possible manner, that ADL retract the condemnation of Roy Spencer’s analogy issued by ADL SE Interim Regional Director Shelley Rose yesterday and apologize to Dr. Spencer. The only plausible alternative would be to retract the condemnation, issue an apology to Dr. Spencer, and condemn the use of Nazi/Holocaust imagery and rhetoric by either side in the debate about global warming/climate change.
During our conversation this morning, you said that ADL reacts to these types of situations as you become aware of them, and that had you become aware of similar offensive imagery/rhetoric being used against Dr. Spencer and others, you would have condemned it, too as you became aware of it. In the same way that there is no statute of limitations on hunting Nazi war criminals 3 generations after WWII, I believe it is only fair to expect that there is no statute of limitations on the ADL position of condemning this type of speech/imagery when you become aware of it, regardless of its date.
As such, as I promised during our call this morning, below you will find a few examples of Nazi/Holocaust rhetoric and imagery being used against those who hold the same beliefs as Dr. Spencer, about which ADL has remained silent for almost a decade. In fact, if you will read Dr. Spencer’s initial blog post that began this episode, and consider it in context with the below examples, I believe any objective assessment of his comments versus those in the links below would find Dr. Spencer’s analogy historically very relevant and the other speech/imagery something, quite frankly, rather reminiscent of the era before WWII. You will note that Dr. Spencer does not advocate for mistreatment, physical harm, imprisonment, or death of those who hold different view. You will also note that the rhetoric/imagery in the links below in some cases explicitly calls for mistreatment, imprisonment, and even suggests death for those who hold the same beliefs as Dr. Spencer.
This is intended to give you a broader view of the playing field. Dr. Spencer and many others have been the subject of vile personal and professional attacks simply because of their scientific beliefs. Environmental extremists, journalists, and others have even gone so far as to publish a list of “deniers” (one by a prominent writer for the UK Guardian here http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/06/climate-change-deniers-top-10 and another here http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-denier-elite-20130912 and another here http://denierlist.wordpress.com/
While I could (and would be happy to) send you dozens of such examples by “journalists”, activists, professors, politicians, and other scientists in this field using Holocaust and Nazi rhetoric and imagery, I will give you a brief sampling below, again in an attempt to demonstrate the context that Ms. Rose seems to have completely missed and how ADL has not once condemned such speech.
Here, NASA scientist James Hansen says, “if we cannot stop building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains – no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species”. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2007/11/26/202133/hansen-stands-by-coal-traindeath-train-analogy/#
Here, Professor Richard Parncutt uses the intentionally derogatory term “denier” over 20 times in an article where he states “in this article, I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers”. http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/prof-richard-parncutt-death-penalty-for-global-warming-deniers/.
Note that the “denier” label has been used hundreds of times by professors, journalists, activists, scientists, and many others supporting action on climate change/global warming for about a decade. In every situation, it is an oblique way of painting people who have different beliefs on this issue as “evil”; since rational, civil people all accept that those who deny the Holocaust are evil. Use of the term “denier” is – unequivocally – intended to portray those who disagree with extreme environmentalists as a mirror image of Holocaust deniers. In fact, in this same post, Professor Parncutt isn’t even oblique about it, quote: “What about holocaust deniers? The Nazi holocaust was the worst crime in human history, for two reasons: the enormous number of murdered people and the automation of the murder process. Those who deny the holocaust certainly belong behind bars. The death penalty would be too much for them, because holocaust deniers are not directly causing the deaths of other people”. So, according to Professor Parncutt, people like Dr. Spencer are obviously worse than Holocaust deniers, because those deniers “certainly belong behind bars”. But deniers like Dr. Spencer? They deserve the death penalty, according to Professor Parncutt.
In 2006, environmental journalist David Roberts wrote in an article on Grist, speaking of those he had repeatedly referred to as “deniers” in previous articles at Grist and other similarly-minded publications, “”When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.” Grist took down the article because it was so controversial, but reference to it even appears on the U.S. Senate Env. & Public Works website to this day here (and dozens of other places) http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=A4017645-DE27-43D7-8C37-8FF923FD73F8 and while the article Roberts penned has been removed from Grist’s website, Roberts mea culpa has not, see here http://grist.org/article/on-climate-denialists-and-nuremberg/
Should you need more evidence that the use of the oblique – and as you can see sometimes explicit – term “denier” to equate those who hold the same beliefs as Dr. Spencer with Holocaust deniers has become commonplace, look no further than “America’s Newspaper of Record”, the NY Times. See the upper right hand quadrant of this rather suggestive cartoon that publication ran earlier this month http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/02/09/opinion/sunday/see-something-say.html?_r=0#1 At least one other Judeo-Christian organization with a website was bothered enough to draw attention to this, see here http://blogs.christianpost.com/time-for-everything/new-york-times-humor-stab-climate-change-deniers-20224/
Below are a sampling of pictures that were taken down from the “Skepticalscience.com” website forum. The site is run by Australian climate scientist John Cook. In these pictures, climate scientists John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli appear photoshopped into Nazi uniforms, as some sort of “climate truth” Gestapo, implication being they will exterminate “deniers”. Once discovered, these were quickly taken down from that forum but not before certain screen shots were captured in the blogosphere.
As a final point of reference and context into the depravity to which environmental extremists have taken this issue, one with shockingly graphic specific Holocaust undertones, I submit a video produced by climate activists “1010 Global”, from 2010, in which school children who do not agree to reduce their carbon footprint and others with similar beliefs are blown up, literally, see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfnddMpzPsM
As you can see, this has been going on for over a decade. I can find not a single instance when ADL Southeast Interim Regional Director Shelley Rose or anyone at ADL National condemned this rhetoric or these images.
You should know that Dr. Spencer, who has suffered these vile attacks for years, is a distinguished scientist in his field. A PhD, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming. He and Dr. Christy are currently responsible for the world’s oldest global temperature satellite data set (known as the “UAH” data set, used by all climate scientists worldwide).
Consider this: I think we can both agree that Hitler’s regime in Nazi Germany targeted a minority group (Jews), blamed them for terrible ills facing their society (Germany’s economic/social condition), used bad science to substantiate their policies (eugenics), used fear and intimidation to marginalize that group (Goebbels, SS, paramilitary groups, youth groups), and what evolved from there is the saddest chapter in modern human history. This is not to suggest that extremist environmental critics of Dr. Spencer are on the verge of rounding up “skeptics” and putting them in concentration camps. It is only to suggest a) that we have some historical context/precedent of behavior that is analogous in its earliest stages, and b) I do not believe that ADL’s SE Interim Regional Director had the perspectives of both sides in this debate when she issued that condemnation.
Regarding the latter, I started the day giving Ms. Rose the benefit of the doubt. However, I am troubled that her personal politics may have influenced the condemnation she issued. Ms. Rose is pictured here in 2007 with a group called “Congregations Caring for the Climate” http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/stepitup2007/464126698/ in conjunction with a non-profit called “StepItUp2007”. A visit to StepItUp2007’s website leaves no question that it is a climate activist organization http://stepitup2007.org/article.php?list=type&type=48 and their list of “Friends and Allies” includes numerous well known climate activist organizations who themselves have engaged in or enabled “denier” speech like the examples shown above for the better part of the last decade http://stepitup2007.org/links To many, this might bring into question whether Shelley Rose is speaking for the ADL, or using her platform as SE Interim Regional Director for ADL to advance her own agenda.
Frankly, I will agree with Ms. Rose that the use of this sort of rhetoric and imagery is inflammatory and disrespectful to the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Dr. Spencer, who has always behaved, and responded to these vile personal attacks, in a manner that is civil, factual, cogent, and highly thick-skinned, could have done himself a favor and avoided the use of the Swastika image and the term “global warming Nazis”. But a fair examination of the analogy itself as Dr. Spencer articulates it, taken in combination with the examples I’ve given above (there are dozens more should you like them) leaves one scratching one’s head around the question of whose speech ADL should be condemning in this matter.
Abe, you, Ms. Rose and the ADL do not have to agree with Dr. Spencer’s position on the science, but that is not at issue here. What is at issue is a double standard. To condemn Dr. Spencer’s analogy while remaining silent as his political opponents were guilty of far more egregious speech and imagery of the same type doesn’t look good for ADL.
I leave you with two thoughts as you ponder ADL’s position on this matter.
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes this text, attributable to Martin Niemoller, and I’m sure you are familiar with it: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.” You may disagree with Dr. Spencer’s use of the imagery and the dreaded “N” word, but I hope you will read the blog post that started this relative to the substance of the analogy, the parallel I offered above, and Niemoller’s important words in historical context.
Finally, ADL Southeast region’s website lists ADL’s Mission Statement, part of which reads, “Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.”
Abe, you are now aware of the more egregious offensive speech and imagery engaged in by opponents of Dr. Spencer. I’m afraid that absent a retraction and apology to Dr. Spencer or, alternatively, a retraction/apology and statement that condemns the use of such rhetoric and imagery by any and all sides in this particular debate, ADL might appear to either be siding with environmental extremists or rather hypocritical. I do not believe either is the image ADL wants to project, and I’m afraid that unless this is resolved quickly and in a more balanced manner, it will receive national attention that won’t be flattering. I would encourage you to act on this matter before the week is out.
Thank you for giving this matter the serious and urgent attention it merits, as well as for the generosity of your time on the phone this morning, and indulging me in the details above.
Alan J. Bressler
The glaring question: Why is the Anti Defamation League remaining silent on such a hypocritical travesty of their own making?
There is no sin in admitting a mistake, yet they seem unwilling to even address the issue they created by the actions of one of their employees, and have ignored many reasonable arguments from people close to the issue by lineage and experience. Where is the fairness in this silence?
Although the mandate of “Never Again” has proved difficult to achieve, the lessons of the Holocaust remain relevant and significant in the lives of youth, including the dangers of silence, the consequences of indifference, and the responsibility to protect the vulnerable. – ADL website on education
The issue won’t be going away, and before it escalates further, I hope that ADL will address the issue honestly and openly, rather than remaining silent.