Deborah Lipstadt: Is Blaming the Bankers for the Crisis Like Blaming the Jews?





Ha'aretz carries an important story, one that confirms some of what I feel has been in the air for the last month or so....

A leading German economist said the criticism of bankers about the world financial crisis is similar to Germany's anti-Semitism in the 1930s. Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute, told the newspaper Tagesspiegel:
In every crisis, people look for someone to blame, for scapegoats" .... Even in the global economic crisis of 1929, no one wanted to believe in an anonymous system failure. Then it hit Jews in Germany, today it is managers."
Sinn was trying to defend the bankers -- whom I believe actually deserve a big chunk of the responsibility -- by using the Holocaust as a defense. [See my previous post for a different example of trying to get a"free ride" on the back of the Holocaust. This is just as distasteful.]

As the central organization of German Jews pointed out, last time it checked the bankers were not being beaten in the street, placed in camps, or anything else like that. In fact, some of them were getting nice parachutes as they left their firms in shambles.

Ironically, his comments evoked something else in me. Seems to me that for some people"the bankers" is a shorthand for"the Jews" as is use of the term"Wall Street."

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