Image Credit: Janet Van Ham/HBODirector Rob Reiner is taking heat for comments he made on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, evoking the name Hitler while discussing the Tea Party. As you see in the clip below, the conversation starts with Reiner and Maher agreeing that there has never been an election cycle with more ignorance than this one (which Maher joked was good for his show). “You never get into a political discussion unless you bring the word ‘Hitler’ in. You have to have ‘Hitler,’ so let’s put ‘Hitler’ out there. Here’s ‘Hitler,'” Reiner said, as Maher and the audience laughed. Reiner noted that Hitler never got more than 33 percent of the vote in Germany (“Well, he only had that one election, let’s be honest,” Maher cracked), but he was charismatic. “And they were having bad economic times, just like we are now. People were out of work, they needed jobs, and a guy came along and rallied the troops. My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader. Because all they’re selling is fear and anger. And that’s all Hitler sold. ‘I’m angry,’ and ‘I’m frightened,’ and ‘You should hate that guy over there.’ And that’s what they’re doin’.”
While the audience may have applauded Reiner’s analogy, the Anti-Defamation League definitely did not. ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued the following statement: “Regardless of one’s views of Tea Party adherents, likening them to potential Nazis and implying that all they need is another Hitler is inappropriate and offensive. There is simply no comparison between followers of the Nazis, a fascist regime that perpetrated the slaughter of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust, and followers of a democratic political movement in the United States. Such comparisons only serve to trivialize the Holocaust and are deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors, as well as those Americans who fought valiantly against the Nazis in World War II. Such Nazi analogies also demean the American political system in an election season when the rhetoric has already turned nasty and divisive. We hope that Mr. Reiner will reconsider his words and take them back.” (A rep for Reiner, who is Jewish, could not immediately be reached for comment.)
Watch the clip below and weigh in.