activists outside US Supreme Court
activists outside US Supreme Court Reuters

A contributor for the MSNBC news television network sparked controversy after saying that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s vote with the majority overturning a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 betrayed the black community in a way similar to a Jew who would have aided the Nazis during World War II.

Contributor Michael Eric Dyson. a Georgetown professor, called the Supreme Court Justice “a symbolic Jew [who] has invited a metaphoric Hitler to commit Holocaust and genocide upon his own people” for striking down the Voting Rights Act.

He lamented that the “very success that [black community's] vigilance has won us has been used against us.”

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the remarks as “outrageous and shocking.”

“A symbolic Jew has invited a metaphoric Hitler to commit holocaust and genocide upon his own people,” Dyson told MSNBC. 

The Supreme Court this week tossed out a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required federal approval of changes to voting laws in jurisdictions deemed to have a history of discrimination in election rules.

“While one has a right to agree or disagree with Supreme Court decisions, we are shocked that anyone would draw such an outrageous comparison between a ruling rendered by justices working within the bounds of our constitutional democracy, and the murderous deeds of the Nazis during the Holocaust,” said Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“As we have said repeatedly, there is no place for comparisons between social or political issues in the 21stcentury and the genocidal actions of Hitler and the Nazis, whose crimes against humanity and role in the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others were unique in history and should be respected as such. It is particularly painful when Mr. Dyson references the pernicious notion of a Jew who turns on his own people,” he said.

“Inappropriate comparisons and references to Jews or Hitler in the context of a debate over American political issues only serve to trivialize history and are an insult to the memory of those who fought and died during World War II.  We hope that Mr. Dyson will reconsider his words,” Foxman added. 

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