Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

Glenn Beck Criticized for Comparing Social Media Bans to Holocaust Ghettos

Conservative radio and television host Glenn Beck compared the deplatforming of conservatives to the “digital ghetto” in a January 12 appearance on Fox News.

Speaking on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Beck, who founded the conservative website The Blaze, said, “This is like the Germans with the Jews behind the wall, they would put them in a ghetto. Well this is a digital ghetto. You can talk all you want, Jews, do whatever you want behind the wall. That’s not meaningful.” Beck later clarified in the segment that his analogy is “not to compare it to the Germans. It’s not to do anything but warn if you don’t stand up for free speech, you will be the one that loses it as well.”

Jewish groups denounced Beck’s remarks.

American Jewish Committee Managing Director of Global Communications Avi Mayer similarly tweeted, “Ghettos were sections of European cities to which Jews were confined under brutal conditions before being shipped off for mass murder. Countless thousands died of starvation and disease. Being banned from Twitter isn’t that. Apologize, @GlennBeck.”

The Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog also tweeted, “Reality from an ACTUAL ghetto during the Holocaust: – 25 people living in a 1 bedroom apartment with a loaf of bread to eat for a WEEK – Parents murdered, leaving 12 year olds to raise 2 year olds – Suicide all around Glenn Beck’s digital ghetto: – not being able to tweet.”

Beck responded to the controversy by bringing on investigative journalist Edwin Black, the son of Holocaust survivors, onto his January 13 show. Beck asked Black if he crossed the line with his remarks; Black argued that Beck didn’t. The journalist explained that he was the one to coin the term “digital ghetto” and that the word “ghetto” may be derived from the Hebrew word ghet, which means “being put aside from or separated from.”

“During the nineteenth century, the ghettos became much, much worse and during the Holocaust they became the first step along the way toward annihilation for the Jews,” Black said. “This of course was facilitated by IBM and its 12-year alliance with the Nazis.”

He also said that the term is “digital ghetto” is used to describe “people who wish to silence you, we’re talking about people who wish to marginalize others, we’re talking about corporations that are trying to follow the most awesome steps of marginalization. …That does not mean that [IBM] is a Nazi regime or Twitter is part of a Nazi regime, but what it does mean is that high tech was involved in the worst crime in the history of humanity.”

Beck concluded the segment stating that he was sorry if he said something that was out of line in his January 12 Fox News appearance, although he didn’t think he did

Black replied, “We need to look at the steps and we need to understand that right now, people are following the step of identification, exclusion and confiscation, and that is where we want it to stop,” Black said. “The purpose of the historian is to look ahead and over the horizon based on what he has seen come before. That is why we are here.”

Beck tweeted out the YouTube clip of his segment with Black and tagged some of those of those who were criticizing him. Mayer responded: “I find the term ‘digital ghetto’ bizarre, but as others have noted, ‘ghetto’ is a word used in various contexts. What made your remarks particularly offensive was your explicit reference to Germans and Jews, alluding to the Holocaust. Beyond the pale, Glenn. You should apologize.”