Monday, June 24, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Doing Her Part For Holocaust Education

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez certainly isn't the only one jumping at the chance to make absurd comparisons to the Holocaust:

But then again, this is not the first time Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has done this.

Last November, she compared the migrant caravan crossing the border from Mexico with Jewish refugees that the United States turned away before World War II:
“Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime,” Ocasio Cortez said Sunday on Twitter after US border agents repelled Central American migrants with tear gas. “It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America.”
And just 2 months ago in April, AOC used a Holocaust reference in defense of Ilhan Omar:
[AOC] also shared an image of the words of "First they came...," the famous poem by German theologian Martin Niemöller that was inspired by the tragedies of the Holocaust. (The words are mounted on a wall at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.)

The poem reads:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

"Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

"Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Ocasio-Cortez's tweet sparked major backlash, with critics accusing her of trivializing the Holocaust and slamming her for doing so in defense of Omar, who has repeatedly fought off claims of anti-Semitism.
And now AOC is at it again.

She is trying to create this equivalency in people's minds in order to score political points.

And with the competition between Democrats for the presidential nomination heating up, the comparison may be catching on, as Beto O'Rourke has made the comparison back in April ("2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke compares Trump's immigration rhetoric to Nazi Germany")

Republicans have criticized AOC's manipulation of the Holocaust, all along the way -- as have some Jewish organizations.

But this time around -- the third time was not the charm.
Many people defended Cortez and attacked those who criticized her.

But some of her defenders were more cautious. Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar tried to apply Pelosi's defense of Omar in defending AOC -- she just uses words differently.

Bernie Sanders, who could use her support as Elizabeth Warren closes the gap in the polls, nevertheless distanced himself from the comment:
Jewish 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez’s fellow progressive, distanced himself from her reference to concentration camps in a CNN interview Tuesday evening. “I didn’t use that terminology,” noted Sanders, subsequently repeating twice in the interview that he had “not used that word.”
But others who you'd expect to defend Cortez, were more willing to criticize -- like mi

NBC's Chuck Todd criticized not only Ocasia-Cortez -- he lambasted the Democratic Party as a whole:

NBC's Joe Scarborough agreed:

Democratic campaign consultant Doug Schoen came out even more strongly:

Not surprisingly, the Wiesenthal Center and Yad VaShem to come out with criticism of what Cortez said -- after all, that is to be expected.

What was not expected is that Poland, which has its own problems with the Holocaust and Poland's place in it, got into the act too:
You couldn't get a larger public discussion of the Holocaust if you tried - and discussion may end up bringing out more information, and more knowledge, of the Holocaust than any enforced book learning.

Bottom line, at a time that ignorance of the Holocaust is growing among millenials, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not only proving that point -- she is unintentionally helping to draw attention to the problem.

Thank you?

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Joe in Australia said...

AOC's use of the term “concentration camp” wasn't ridiculous: it is an accurate, precise, and measured description of the places in which alleged migrants are being interned. Confining the term (which was used long before and after the Holocaust) to the ones used by the Nazis makes it meaningless, even in the context of the Holocaust, because there were death camps, labour camps, transit camps, etc., and not all were operated by the Nazis.

As many other Jewish commentators have pointed out, this debate over terminology is a distraction from the very real horrors of the present attack on alleged migrants. People, many of whom are refugees, many of whom are sick or very young, are being confined in crowded and/or unsanitary conditions without adequate food, medical, or hygienic supplies. The use of the term “concentration camp” isn't mere political point scoring: it draws a parallel between these camps and ones used by many regimes (including the British, American, Soviet etc.) and thereby warns us about repeating the same mistakes.

Daled Amos said...

Yes, the debate over terminology is a distraction -- but her use of that terminology and her use of Holocaust terminology in the past set up that that distraction.

Her denial of summoning a Holocaust comparison after deliberately using the words "Never Again" did not help.

As for being an "accurate, precise, and measured" description of the detention camps, that depends on what image the phrase "concentration camp" conjures up -- and whether one considers AOC to be "accurate, precise and measured" in general.

That Obama's connection to these camps was ignored during his terms in office and is evaded now only adds to the impression that she is merely trying to score political points.

And all of this debate back-and-forth could have easily been avoided if she had just addressed the problem head on.

Sandy said...

Two fascinating points:

Jews always have been and still are treated as outsiders and aliens; not members of humanity...except for the Holocaust. Then, suddenly, the Jewish experience is the human experience. Every other group is entitled to own its unique suffering except Jews. Imagine constantly hearing that this or that is "just like black American slavery." Maybe it is, maybe it isn't; but a bit presumptive, no? (As for the term "concentration camp," the technical meaning is irrelevant. Anyone who has heard of the Holocaust understands it to mean secret death factories where people were exploited for labor, experimented on, tortured, and deliberately killed. And that is not what is happening at the border, however horrifying it is in its own right.)

Also fascinating is the outrage - which I entirely share, by the way - at criminalizing the desperation of these illegal immigrants. Fascinating because criminalization of Jews who desperately fled Nazi Europe for Palestine (mostly legally, by the way) continues to this day...and as social justice, moreover. There was land enough for both Jews and Arabs just as there are jobs enough for illegals and citizens in the U.S. But again: double standard for those dirty Jews.