Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Billionaire Thomas Perkins compares treatment of super-rich American 'one percent' to treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany

Flowers on a slab of the Holocaust Memorial to commemorate the victims of the Nazis at the International Holocaust Rememberance Day in Berlin (AP)
Flowers on a slab of the Holocaust Memorial to commemorate the victims of the Nazis at the International Holocaust Rememberance Day in Berlin (AP)

Thomas Perkins, who is thought to be worth around $8bn, has faced ridicule after comparing the treatment of super-rich Americans to the Holocaust in a letter to The Wall Street Journal.

In the letter Perkins wrote of 'parallels' between the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany and what he describes as the "progressive war on the American one percent".

The letter, which was published by the WSJ earlier this week, begins: "Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

Perkins, who was a founder member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, continues: "From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent."

"There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these 'techno geeks' can pay," he adds.

Mr Perkins, who was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, concludes his letter by warning of a "very dangerous drift in our American thinking," before adding "Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?"

Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, saw a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany in November 1938.

The attacks were carried out by Sturmabteilung forces and non-Jewish civilians and were ignored by the German authorities. 91 Jews were killed and around 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.

Mr Perkins, who controversially resigned from the board of Hewlett-Packard in 2006 following a row over the methods used in a crackdown on media leaks, faced widespread ridicule on social media following the publication of his letter.

One Twitter user wrote: "Serious rich-dude bubble to see "treatment" of rich by progressives as parallel to Nazi treatment of Jews...".

Other users described the businessman as a "rich idiot" and condemned the newspaper for printing the letter.  New York Times writer Steven Greenhouse tweeted: 'As someone who lost numerous relatives to the Nazi gas chambers, I find statements like this revolting & inexplicable.'

Mr Perkins was recently in the news after spending $150million building a super yacht called the Maltese Falcon.

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