State Department's Holocaust statement that mentioned Jews reportedly blocked by White House

Source: Mic/AP
Source: Mic/AP

A statement put out by the White House on Friday to acknowledge International Holocaust Remembrance Day raised eyebrows when it failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism.

Now a Politico report published Thursday evening indicated that President Donald Trump's administration also blocked the State Department's prepared statement that recognized Jews and the atrocities the Jewish people suffered in the World War II genocide. 

"A White House official said there was no ill intent, adding that the White House didn’t see State’s draft until after issuing its own statement and told State not to release its version because it came after 7 p.m," the outlet wrote. "And the official said the White House didn't ask the State Department to craft their own statement."

According to Politico, however, as State Department officials understood it, the statement it was crafting was meant for use by the White House.

For its part, the Trump administration has stood behind its wording, with Trumps spokesperson Hope Hicks telling CNN that the omission of Jews was simply to avoid excluding the other groups targeted in the genocide. 

"Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered," Hicks said.

Still, claims of "inclusion" didn't prevent neo-Nazi forums like the Daily Stormer from celebrating the statement, calling it "a subtle nod to us." Similarly, Richard Spencer, a leader of the white supremacist movement known as the "alt-right," applauded the wording, calling it a "de-Judiafication" of the Holocaust, a popular tactic employed by Holocaust deniers. 

In a blog post titled "#NeverAgain," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt denounced the White House statement and its subsequent explanation.

"The suffering of the Jewish people is not an afterthought, a prepositional phrase to be bolted onto the end of a sentence," Greenblatt wrote. "The suffering of the Jewish people is the whole reason that the concept of the Holocaust was defined."

"It is time for this White House to admit the error and correct their misstep," he concluded. "This is not a matter of politics, but rather, it’s about principles."

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Rebecca Shore Winn

Rebecca Shore Winn is a Senior News Editor at Mic.

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