JCRC Appreciates Apology from Winona LaDuke Following Inappropriate Holocaust Analogy

November 18, 2020

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:

“Today, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) received the following note from Winona LaDuke, which Ms. LaDuke has authorized us to share with the broader community.  This note comes in response to Ms. LaDuke’s comments last Friday on TPT’s Almanac.

‘I apologize for any hurt I have caused the Jewish community with my remarks regarding the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Tar Sands. That analogy is inappropriate. I grew up with stories of the Holocaust and have Jewish ancestry. I did not intend to hurt anyone and recognize your concerns. Let us work together for a better future for all.’

“The JCRC appreciates both Ms. LaDuke’s apology and her acknowledgment that her analogy was inappropriate.  We look forward to continuing our conversation with Ms. LaDuke and are pleased to accept her offer to work together for the betterment of everyone.

“For decades the JCRC has spoken out against the misuse of the Holocaust in public discourse.  We’ve done so because contemporary comparisons to Nazis, coming from anywhere on the political spectrum, are almost always historically inaccurate, insult the memory of the Holocaust’s victims and survivors, and are deeply hurtful to most Jews and others whose communities were victimized.

“Most recently, during the ongoing global pandemic, we’ve been required on multiple occasions to publicly condemn comparisons between the Nazis and measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 after the person or persons responsible for these comparisons refused to adequately apologize or take responsibility (see our statements on April 19thJuly 26th and 27thAugust 5th, and October 16th, as well as comments to the Mesabi Tribune on August 6th).

“Whenever possible, the JCRC always prefers to engage in conversation and mutual understanding rather than condemnation. We are glad that because of Ms. LaDuke’s gracious note we have that opportunity. We look forward to the work ahead.”


As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights antisemitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.


As the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community, JCRC builds relationships to fight antisemitism and bigotry; educates about Judaism, Israel, antisemitism, and the Holocaust; advocates for Jewish values and priorities; and safeguards our community.