Itongadol.-Pulitzer prize-winning historian Saul Friedlander, a world authority on the Holocaust, said Friday he would leave the United States if Donald Trump was elected president.
The 83-year-old Israeli-American writer, who escaped the Nazis by being hidden in a Catholic boarding school in France, described Trump as a "dangerous crazy."
He said the controversial Republican candidate could win November\’s election because of Hillary Clinton\’s "tendency to lie and to hide things."
"One cannot exclude [the possibility of] Donald Trump winning even though he is a dangerous crazy," he told AFP. "He says whatever comes into his mind."
Friedlander\’s magisterial two-volume history of Nazi Germany and the Jews charts Adolf Hitler\’s rise to power in a period where populism was rising across the world as it is today.
"We don\’t know what [Trump] thinks," said the writer, whose parents were murdered in Auschwitz after French police caught them attempting to escape to Switzerland and handed them over to the Germans.
"At the same time, there is a huge swathe of Americans, mostly poor, angry whites, who dream of having him in the White House. He is kind of a release valve for their anger against the \’establishment\’ represented by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because she has, unfortunately, a tendency to lie and to hide things," he said.
Clinton recently suffered a bout of pneumonia, which her campaign was only forced to disclose after she was seen stumbling into her car.
"Trump, by comparison, seems totally open and frank, even if he has not published his income tax returns," Friedlander explained.
Friedlander, who is based in Los Angeles, also warned of the rise of anti-Semitism and of Holocaust denial.
"Negationists are, in general, anti-Semites, and I am utterly opposed to debating with them. It gets you nowhere, they will always find a so-called detail showing that all these stories of gas chambers were a joke.
"They are obsessed by the idea that Jews could have invented the story of their extermination," said Friedlander, whose new books, Reflections on Nazism and Where Memory Leads have just been published in France.
The historian, who left France for Israel after World War II and worked as an assistant to former president Shimon Peres, has been very critical of Israel\’s treatment of the "Palestinians."
"But I am also worried about the rising movement, particularly on US university campuses, questioning Israel\’s right to exist."
The historian said extremism on both sides had done "profound damage" to the chances of a Middle East peace settlement.
"I remain a supporter of a two-state solution, but my friends in Israel say that if a Palestinian state is created on the West Bank, it will be in the hands of Hamas, like Gaza. Then Israel will be surrounded by people determined to destroy it, they say.
"However, if we want to build peace, we have to halt settlement building, destroy wildcat settlements and abandon others," Friedlander said. "We have to do that at least to show good faith."
"If not, we risk losing the values of justice and equality that were once at the heart of Israel and Zionism," he added.
The PA has repeatedly refused to recognize Israel\’s right to exist, and refuses to negotiate with Israel unless various preconditions have been met. Past expulsions of Jews have led to terror enclaves that severely endanger Israel\’s security.