A top Silicon Valley venture capital firm distanced itself Saturday from the words of one of its founders that compared today’s anger at the rich in America to Nazi Germany’s singling out of Jews in the 1930s, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Tom Perkins of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers attends Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 at San Francisco Design Center on September 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Image source: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
A letter to the editor by Tom Perkins, a venture funding pioneer and cofounder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, ran in the opinion pages of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.
Perkins wrote, in part:
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.”
After Perkins’ letter was met with heated criticism on Twitter and drew online news coverage,Kleiner Perkins tweeted: ”Tom Perkins has not been involved in KPCB in years. We were shocked by his views expressed today in the WSJ and do not agree.”
Perkins was still listed as a partner emeritus on the firm’s website Saturday, the WSJ reported, adding that a Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman said in an email that the tweet is the company’s formal statement on the matter.
Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): 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.”
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. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
“Kristallnacht” refers to the Nazi’s state-sanctioned, anti-Jewish riots against the Jewish communities of Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland in November 1938. According to theUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum, these events became known as Kristallnacht(commonly translated as “Night of Broken Glass”), a reference to the “broken windows of synagogues, Jewish-owned stores, community centers, and homes plundered and destroyed that night.”
On the morning after Kristallnacht, local residents watch as a synagogue is destroyed by fire. The local fire department prevented the fire from spreading to a nearby home but did not try to limit the damage to the synagogue. Ober Ramstadt, Germany. November 10, 1938. (Image source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Trudy Isenberg)
More from the Holocaust Museum:
Instigated by the Nazi regime, rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people. They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside.
Kristallnacht was a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored mass murder of the European Jews.
Perkins’ letter was met with ridicule elsewhere.
Kalli Joy Grey wrote Saturday on Wonkette: “The parallel of Nazi Germany and some people getting kind of annoyed by the tech bro dudes is exactly ZERO.”
The New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse tweeted: “As someone who lost numerous relatives to the Nazi gas chambers, I find statements like this revolting & inexplicable.”