Letter to The Electronic Intifada

Published: 2016-06-21

To: The Electronic Intifada

From:  David Merlin  June 21, 2016


Most people tend to see Free Speech as a bulwark of democracy.  But not the people at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  They view free speech as a danger and they are particularly worried about the internet. $20,000,000 is being spent by the Museum to send out the alarm.

"One emphasis is on new technologies and how they can be exploited for propaganda, which is potently relevant in an age when political messages spread rapidly through social media and other means, the staffers said. 'The new technology of the 1930s was the radio,' Ogilvie said. 'The Nazis tried to make sure every German family had one. We will be talking about new technologies and how young people were targets for the Nazis.'… 'A central message of the museum since its 1993 opening, that democracies are more vulnerable than their citizens believe them to be, will become more pronounced,' Bloomfield said.  'It’s so important for an audience to see the failure of democratic institutions,' she said.”  

What exactly are these dangerous messages that threaten democratic institutions in America?   

Revisionist history is the old bête noire of the Museum.  But the real threat is "new anti-Semitism," as defined by Nathan Sharansky in his paper, Recognizing the "New Anti-Semitism, 

"Moreover, the so-called 'new anti-Semitism' poses a unique challenge. Whereas classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, 'new anti-Semitism' is aimed at the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is more difficult to expose." 

But Sharansky has devised a way to expose new anti-Semitism; his "3-D test."  The three Ds are; Demonization of Israel, Double standards, and Delegitimization.  For example: One cannot be too outraged at any act of Israel or it is "Demonization."  

Sharansky's  theories are laid out at here 

The 3D Theory is now part of the USHMM program

Feeling outraged at crimes committed against Palestinians does not obviously threaten democracy in America, but the USHMM has adopted Sharansky's theories, hook, line, and sinker. The Museum's website is filled with harshly negative stories of Palestinian political organizations who oppose the state of Israel. (By the way, racist and extremist Israeli groups like the Gush Emunim or the Kach party are not mentioned at all on the Museum website.)

The USHMM website article "misuse of Holocaust imagery" is another example. Pictures of Palestinian protestors are shown with together with commentary:

"To criticize the government of Israel by equating its actions to those of Nazi Germany or denying its legitimacy by saying that the Holocaust is a lie used to justify the existence of a modern Jewish state. For example, a cartoon image equating the Gaza Strip with the Warsaw Ghetto is an explicit effort to demonize Israeli policies and close off reasonable debate by equating the policies with Nazi genocidal ones. Similarly, a sign used at a public protest in Washington, DC, in March 2010, showed a distorted but recognizable version of the Israeli flag in which a swastika dripping with blood replaced the Star of David."

The Museum is governed by a board of 55 trustee members.  (1.)  Some are reasonable and honorable people, like Senator Bernard Sanders but other board members are working to make the Museum into an anti-free speech and anti-Palestinian propaganda tool. This would include Congressman Ted Deutch who voted for H.R. 1501, i.e.  withholding US contributions from the UN to force it to retract accusations of Israeli war crimes (the Double Standards argument) and H.R. 2457 which prohibit any US government document from referring to "Palestine" (the Delegitimization argument). Deborah E. Lipstadt is another trustee who conflates her own political agenda with the mission of the Museum. See her blog here.

If the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum were a private institution, its growing anti-free-speech anti-Palestinian rhetoric would be distasteful but a private matter.

But the Museum was created by Congress and sits on 1.9 acres of public land adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  In 2008, Federal money constituted 60% of the Museum's operating budget(2). This has not changed much except that Museum assets have grown to close to $400,000,000 and produce $32,000,000 in investment income(3). The taxpayers and the United States government are supporting the Museum's new political program smearing Palestinians, Iranians, and many Arab groups.

While the USHMM is thoughtful and progressive on many issues relating to the Congo, Sudan, or Russia, it is seriously flawed on issues that relate to Palestine and free speech.

We are sending you this missive in the hope that you will educate yourselves on the facts and speak out against the dangerous policies of the USHMM as it turns from teaching tolerance to promoting censorship and oppression.

We are sending you this missive in the hope that you will educate your readers on the facts so that they will speak out against the dangerous policies of the USHMM as it turns from teaching tolerance to promoting censorship and oppression.


David Merlin
A Member of Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust.
P.O. Box 20774
York, PA 17402
phone & fax: ++1-415-688-2129
[email protected]


1. https://www.ushmm.org/information/about-the-museum/council 

2.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Holocaust_Memorial_Museum 

3.  https://www.ushmm.org/m/pdfs/20090919-2013-14-annual-report.pdf

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): David Merlin
Title: Letter to The Electronic Intifada
Sources: https://www.ushmm.org/information/about-the-museum/council  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Holocaust_Memorial_Museum  https://www.ushmm.org/m/pdfs/20090919-2013-14-annual-report.pdf http://lipstadt.blogspot.mx/search/label/Antisemitism%2FHolocaust%20denial%3A%20Islamic http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-sharansky-f04.htm https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007948 http://www.timesofisrael.com/20-million-gift-helps-revitalize-holocaust-museum/ https://www.ushmm.org/educators/teaching-materials/materials-by-topic/contemporary-issues-on-genocide-and-antisemitism
Published: 2016-06-21
First posted on CODOH: June 21, 2016, 7:05 a.m.
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