Ben Carson, the 2016 Republican presidential candidate the Anti-Defamation League condemned last week for suggesting on CNN that the "likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed," addressed his comments in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Jerusalem Post.
Carson didn't apologize for his actual remarks, and the words "apology," "apologize," and "sorry" appear nowhere in the text of his piece. Instead, he wrote that "we will never know for sure" what would "have been the impact on Hitler’s war machine if his victims had had more access to guns." (In fact, some Jews were armed, and Jewish partisans fought Nazi soldiers across Europe. The Holocaust happened anyway.)
But Carson did add that he "never intended for [his] words to diminish the enormity of the tragedy or in any way to cause any pain for Holocaust survivors or their families" and proclaimed his strong support for Israel.
The ADL, which monitors and responds to anti-Semitism and other bigotry, has long criticized the idea that the Holocaust could have been slowed or averted if more Jews had been armed as "historically inaccurate and offensive." By 1938, when Hitler moved to limit German Jews' access to firearms, they were a marginalized, despised minority. As the ADL explained in 2013, "the small number of personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remaining in Germany in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state," which eventually conquered most of Europe.
Learn more about the historical inaccuracy of Carson's claims here.