WSJ Allows Former News Corp. Exec to Compare ‘War’ on Rich to Nazi Anti-Semitism


Nearly eight decades ago, Germans, enraged by Nazi Party propaganda, burned and destroyed Jewish shops and synagogues, killed 91 Jews and arrested 30,000 more, deporting them to concentration camps. To Thomas Perkins, a billionaire Silicon Valley investor, that sounds just like recent protests targeting San Francisco’s monied tech workers.

In a letter published by The Wall Street Journal on Saturday — provocatively headlined “Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?” — Perkins, a former News Corporation board member, wrote:

Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?

Todd Gutnick, a spokesman for the Anti Defamation League, demanded an apology from Perkins, and called the comparison “outrageous” and “deeply offensive.”

In an email to FishbowlNY, he said:

“Clearly, Tom Perkins needs a history lesson. The comparison is simply outrageous, and deeply offensive to Holocaust survivors and their families. The events of Kristallnacht, that terrible night when Jewish businesses were attacked in an anti-Semitic pogrom that foreshadowed the death of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust, should never be trivialized or distorted, especially to score political points.We hope Mr. Perkins will recognize why his letter is so hurtful and apologize to those he may have offended.”

Forgetting, as Capital New York’s Peter Sterne noted, that most of Germany’s Jews at the time were middle class at best — hardly the letter’s worst offense — WSJ fails to disclose: A. Danielle Steel, the so-called “No.1 celeb,” is also Perkins’ ex, and B. Perkins was an independent board member of News Corp.

Three years ago, as UK prosecutors hunted for evidence that News Corp.’s top brass authorized phone-hacking at its British newspapers — culminating in the dramatic arrest of former News International chief Rebekah Brooks — Perkins was a helpful defender. Five years earlier, he had resigned from Hewlett-Packard to protest the chairman’s attempts to spy on reporters covering the company. But there he was, in 2011, sticking by Murdoch.

“There’s no reason to believe top management was lying. That’s my very strong belief,” he told The New York Times that July. “This is not like the HP situation. The board supports top management.”

Per Gawker’s Adam Weinstein:

WSJ‘s letters editor did not respond to an email from FishbowlNY requesting comment. We will update if or when we receive a reply.

[Image: KQED]