Activist apologizes to Jewish community after likening pipeline to ‘Auschwitz,’ a ‘gas chamber’
Jake Dima, DCNF
A top environmental activist, who likened a Minnesota pipeline project to Auschwitz in a Friday television segment, apologized to the Jewish community on Wednesday following backlash.
Honor the Earth executive director Winona LaDuke criticized Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline, which had been approved by two state agencies for construction in Minnesota, according to Alpha News. The ecological advocate’s comments came during a TPT Almanac, a PBS affiliate, live interview, the conservative outlet reported.
“So, you know, there’s some people that are up there trying to get some money because it’s a really difficult time in the north. But you know what? It’s kind of like getting a job in the gas chamber,” LaDuke said in response to a TPT Almanac host that suggested Native American populations may benefit from a job surge during construction, according to Alpha News.
“That’s a great job to have, but it’s really not the job you want to have for the long term and that’s what this pipeline is like. It’s like the ecological equivalent to Auschwitz. That’s what this pipeline is. So I don’t want to work in the gas chamber and I don’t want an Auschwitz,” she continued.
LaDuke apologized days later after drawing immediate backlash from Jewish organizations.
“I apologize for any hurt I have caused the Jewish community with my remarks regarding the Auschwitz concentration camp and Tar Sands,” she wrote in a statement, according to a press release from the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). “That analogy is inappropriate.”
“I grew up with stories of the Holocaust and have Jewish ancestry. I did not intend to hurt anyone and recognize your concerns. Let us work together for a better future for all,” the activist concluded.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to LaDuke on Tuesday, but the executive refused to comment on her Friday remarks.
Minneapolis director of the American Jewish Council Jacob Miller called on LaDuke to retract her “grossly unfair and unfortunate comparison” in a Tuesday tweet.
With antisemitism on the rise and Holocaust literacy declining, it is important we do not create a false equivalency. We call on @WinonaLaduke to apologize for this grossly unfair and unfortunate comparison.https://t.co/ll8U2obXvL
— Jacob Millner (@JacobMillner) November 17, 2020
The activist’s organization, Honor the Earth, is funded by popular clothing retailer Patagonia and by the Novo Foundation, which is operated by Warren Buffett’s son, Peter Buffett, a previous DCNF investigation found.
LaDuke’s recent comments were also not the first time the environmental executive made antisemitic remarks.
“That’s the way it goes in Fort McMurray,” she wrote in a publication called The Circle in 2019. “I often think of Fort McMurray as Bedzin, the small town next to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The tars sands are the Ecological Auschwitz. Always a good time in Fort McMurray, just like it was in Bedzin. Just let those trains go on by.