Prof asks students to compare Trump, Nazi policies

One student expressed her concern with the prompt to the professor, who then claimed she did not intend to compare the two.

For an extra credit assignment, students at the University of Arizona were asked to compare President Donald Trump's policies with those of the Nazis.

A University of Arizona student has reported that she was asked to compare President Donald Trump’s policies to those of the Nazis in a course based on the history of the Holocaust.

”Now that you have studied the Vichy Anti-Jewish Laws, the German Ordinances, and pre-Vichy laws imposed on the Jews (French, immigrant, and refugee) and the repercussions that they had for Jews in France, examine and analyze more current anti-immigrant laws in the United States,” the extra credit assignment reads. 

As examples of these “anti-immigrant laws,” the assignment referenced the DACA, Arizona SB 1070, and Executive Order 13769, which the professor described as a “Muslim ban requested by the Trump administration.”

Students were asked to answer, “What populations are targeted by these laws? In what ways are they being used? Would the term ‘scapegoating’ be applicable here and therefore, what did (does) President Trump hope to achieve by invoking them?”

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“This was only an extra credit assignment, but regardless it still feels extremely one-sided and [like] full-on indoctrination,” L’wren Tikva, a student taking the class, told Campus Reform.  Tikva said she responded to the assignment by telling her professor that it was unproductive and “anti-Trump,” and that it would “cause more division.”

“As a Jewish American who has ties to those who survived the Holocaust it’s pretty trivializing comparing Trump’s policies to the Holocaust,” Tikva wrote to her professor.  ”Almost all of these policies are in no way comparable and the President is in his legal authority to implement these policies.”

Tikva went on to call the comparison “quite offensive,” “insensitive,” and an “insult to the victims of one of the worst mass murders in modern history.” Tikva said the course name in which the extra credit assignment appeared is titled “The Holocaust in France and Italy.” According to the University of Arizona’s website, Kara Tableman, whom Tikva named as the instructor of the online course, is “currently teaching” two courses by that same name.

Tikva said the professor responded by stating that she was also the descendant of Holocaust survivors, adding that her “intent was not to compare Trump to Hitler.”

“Perhaps I should have stated my discussion more clearly and precisely on the pre-Vichy laws that targeted immigrant populations in general in the late 1930’s in France and did have a great impact on the Jewish community in France before the Second World War even started,” she explained, insisting that she was “not [at] all comparing what eventually transpired in Vichy, France to what is happening now in the U.S.A.”

“I am certainly not cheapening the Holocaust by looking at the laws emphasized in pre-war France and examining the focus and rhetoric of certain immigration laws in the recent past and current moment in the States,” she continued.

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The professor then went on to insist that current “anti-immigrant discourse” in the U.S. is “very heated and coded,” referencing the recent anti-Semitic shooting in Pittsburgh as well as the “pipe bombs” recently sent to “people who have spoken openly against our current President.”  

“Thank ‘G-d’ that Trump is not Hitler and that we still have our constitution. But, having said that, Petain was not Hitler either and his followers (at first) were not Nazis, but they were members of a very conservative vision which wanted to return France to a time even before the French Revolution when Jews had not yet been emancipated and society had not yet been contaminated by foreign elements…’”

The University of Arizona did not return a request for comment in time for publication. 

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