“What Sadiq said about Trump in the Observer – that his actions are like those of the ‘European dictators of the 1930s and 40s’ and that he is the figurehead of a ‘global far-right movement’ that is ‘using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century’ – is far worse than what Trump said about Sadiq in return. Sadiq likened Trump to the people who destroyed Europe and murdered and gassed to death millions of Jews; Trump called Sadiq a midget. I’m saying Sadiq got off very lightly here.

It is testament to the utter devaluation of the word ‘fascist’, to the way it has been reduced to a meaningless everyday insult, that the Twitterati and media elite were fine with Sadiq calling Trump a fascist but then completely lost the plot when Trump said Sadiq is a loser who is not very tall. This is one of the key problems with the Trump-bashing of the political, media and middle classes – the way it has appropriated the horrors and the language of history in order to add some oomph to these people’s disdain for Trump. Because in the process of plundering the barbarism of the 1930s and 1940s for words and imagery to use against a 21st-century president they don’t like, these people demean history itself and relativise what happened in those darkest moments in human history.


The terrible irony is that they themselves contribute to a culture of prejudice. Holocaust relativism – the idea that Jewish suffering wasn’t all that bad so maybe we should stop going on about it – is one of the key drivers of the new, identitarian breed of anti-Semitism. In inflaming Holocaust relativism, these people certainly do nothing to challenge the new anti-Semitism, and they may even be accidentally energising it. Their overuse of the words fascism and Nazi and Hitler and genocide is not only historically illiterate – it is politically dangerous. Sadiq’s words have done far more to coarsen politics and society than Trump’s response did.”

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