San Franciso Occupy Movement = Kristallnacht?

Tom Perkins, founder of investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has apologized for comparing the Occupy movement to Kristallnacht. In a letter titled "Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?" published in the Wall Street Journal, Perkins writes,

"I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'"


This story reminds me of when, last year, AIG's CEO said that criticism about the company's bonuses is "just as bad" as lynchings in the Deep South.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Perkins apologized:

"I'd deeply apologize to you and anyone who has mistaken my reference to Kristallnacht as a sign of overt or latent anti-Semitism. This is not the case."


Discussion Starters:

  • In what ways is Perkins' comparison fair, and in what ways is it not?
  • Try to relate to Perkins' frustration. What background information is important for us to understand?
  • How do you assess Perkins' apology in the Bloomberg interview? What is effective, and what could be improved in his message?