Right-wing pundit Mark Levin falsely claimed this week that CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer’s parents “weren’t victims, in one way or another, of the Holocaust” while blasting Blitzer’s coverage of Palestinian civilian deaths, claiming the veteran newsman “wants Israel to die.”
Levin, who hosts a weekend show on Fox News, tore into Blitzer during his daily Westwood One radio show on Wednesday, specifically taking issue with Blitzer acknowledging that an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza refugee camp left innocent Palestinian women and children dead. The conservative radio personality then launched a particularly vile line of attack on Blitzer.
“Wolf Blitzer, as I understand it, his parents weren’t victims, in one way or another, of the Holocaust,” he exclaimed in a clip first flagged by Media Matters for America. “But certainly, his family comes out of that background—but you wouldn’t know it because the ideology of the left is very attractive. It’s very compelling, particularly if you’re in media.”
In response, a CNN spokesperson blasted Levin’s “antisemitic” and “offensive” rhetoric, saying it’s well known that Blitzer’s parents are Holocaust survivors.
“Mark Levin’s comments about Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper were wildly uninformed, inappropriate and shameful,” the spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “Wolf is the child of Holocaust survivors and all four of his grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust, a fact that Wolf has personally reported on through a special documentary, trips to Auschwitz, written reflections, and decades of public speaking on Holocaust education and awareness. Levin’s antisemitic rhetoric is dangerous, offensive and should be universally denounced.”
Contrary to Levin’s claims, which appear to be an effort to downplay Blitzer’s Jewish heritage, both of the CNN star’s parents were survivors of Nazi-era concentration camps and immigrated to the United States (along with a newborn Blitzer) after World War II. All four of his grandparents died during the Holocaust—with his paternal grandparents perishing in the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp.
In fact, Blitzer has long been very open about his deep personal connection to the atrocities of the Holocaust, with his network covering it in special reports. “I proudly carry the names of my two grandfathers – Wolf Isaac Blitzer,” Blitzer wrote last year following a trip to the Auschwitz memorial site.
Blitzer wasn’t the only Jewish news anchor that Levin viciously attacked over what he felt was deferential war coverage of Palestinian casualties.
“CNN is filled with a lot of self-hating Jews, in my opinion,” he sneered. “Will Blitzer ask a question that he knows the answer to? Andrea Mitchell does the same thing. Jake Tapper does the same thing!”
Levin finally accused Blitzer, who was once the editor of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s monthly publication, of wanting to see Israel perish because he dared to press politicians and an Israeli military spokesperson about Palestinian civilians killed in an airstrike.
“In other words, Wolf Blitzer wants Israel to die, with such a dumbass question like that,” the bombastic host raged.
After this article’s publication, Levin addressed the controversy during his Thursday evening radio broadcast and claimed that while it may have sounded like he said Blitzer’s parents weren’t victims of the Holocaust, he didn’t mean to say that. He also suggested that Media Matters, which first reported on his remarks, twisted his words to make it appear he deliberately made that assertion.
“When I take a breath, when I’m saying something and I’m passionate. I take a breath,” Levin stated. “Now you can hear that they say weren’t if you’re really listening and you wanted to say weren’t, was so that you can hear it I say weren’t. I barely remember saying it. So we’ve played it. We’ve got the audio; you can twist it to say weren’t. But obviously, why would I say his parents weren’t, in one way or another, victims in the Holocaust? How can that even be logical? Why would I say somebody's parents were or were not victims of the Holocaust? If they weren’t victims of the Holocaust, why would I say his parents weren’t victims of the Holocaust? Or why would I intentionally say that I didn’t? I didn’t.”
He added that his follow-up sentence, where he stated “but certainly his family comes out of that background,” clarified “exactly” what he was talking about.
“So they take that and they say Levin denies that Wolf Blitzer's parents were in the Holocaust, which I’ve since looked up, and they were at Auschwitz, and his grandparents were killed there,” Levin continued. “Which is a horrible, horrible thing. In fact, some of the people who’ve been taken back into Gaza were Holocaust survivors in Israel.”
Levin concluded by claiming his “point” all along was that Blitzer’s background should have prevented him from asking Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) whether the purported killing of Hamas leaders was worth the deaths of many Palestinian civilians.
“And you ask Hakeem a question, Hakeem Jeffries a question like this? It’s shocking to me, especially as a Jew,” Levin proclaimed. “It is shocking to me.”
Fox News and Westwood One did not immediately respond to requests for comment.