Tags: border | children | trump | holocaust | michael hayden

Don't Separate Families at the Border, Don't Expropriate the Holocaust

Don't Separate Families at the Border, Don't Expropriate the Holocaust
The entrance to the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with the lettering "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work makes you free") in Oswiecim, Poland, is pictured on January 25, 2015, days before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Russian forces. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 20 June 2018 11:44 AM Current | Bio | Archive

As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on U.S. Attorney General Sessions’ invoking the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the U.S. at the Mexican border. Suffice it to say that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who represents 2.6 million Catholics, called the crackdown “unbiblical.”

Speaking for our constituency at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we said the following:

“Like millions of Americans on both sides of the political divide, we want our leaders to solve the humanitarian crisis at hand. No matter what the divisions are over immigration policies, it is unacceptable to separate little children from their parents. That isn’t what America stands for. Those are not our values. We urge immediate steps to ameliorate this situation and for the Administration and Congress to finally take the necessary steps to end this problem...”

We are not naïve and know full well that it will take nothing short of a miracle to triangulate the divergent views of Democrats, Republicans, and President Trump and come up with a comprehensive solution to all the issues related to illegal immigration. Now in the midst of the contentious debate, there are some thoughtful legislators including Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mark Meadows, who are weighing in to deal with the children caught in the middle.

Without action on immigration, our society will lurch from emotional and incendiary crisis to crisis; sometimes focusing on an innocent child’s wail, sometimes on the sobs of a bereaved family robbed of a loved one by a criminal who never should have been in the United States in the first place.

But there is another victim of the children at the border debate: historic truth. Those entrusted with protecting the memory of 6 million victims of the Nazi Holocaust and teaching lessons from history’s greatest crime, which included the mass murder of 1.5 million Jewish children, are shocked by the wholesale and dishonest expropriation of the symbols and imagery of the Holocaust by critics of the separation of the children at the U.S. border.

For starters, Wikipedia now includes the detention centers where they are held in the article about Concentration and Internment camps. Social media has been abuzz with comparisons including the Infamous Auschwitz Birkenau Death camp where innocents were beaten, starved, and gassed to death. No one less than former CIA Director Michael Hayden, now a CNN pundit, posted a picture of the entrance to the infamous Auschwitz Death Camp. He later offered an ‘apology’ that read more like gloating for ‘overachieving’ that his cynical manipulation achieved. A more apt lesson for Hayden from that era was the failure of the CIA’s WWII predecessor, the OSS, to do anything to stop or slow down the Nazi genocide of Jews.

Then there was MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough who opened "Morning Joe" last Friday by declaring, “Children are being marched away to showers — just like the Nazis said they were taking people to the showers, and then they never came back. You’d think they would use another trick.”

On Sunday, another cable commentator insisted that, "Increasingly, Donald Trump is turning this nation into Nazi Germany and turning these [detention centers] into concentration camps.”

Social media postings invoked the same imagery and talking points.

For 25 years, our Museum of Tolerance has educated millions of visitors, including 160,000 law enforcement officials about Auschwitz, Anne Frank, and the murder of 1.5 million Jewish children and their families by the Nazi perpetrators of the genocidal “Final Solution.” Visitors also learn about today’s real-time civil and human rights crises and contemporary mass murder and genocide.

But we would never tell a young visitor that every human rights outrage is equivalent to Auschwitz — that is a lie. We can only hope that the depths of its moral depravity will never again be repeated in our world.

Finally, the images emanating from along the Texas border are powerful enough to inspire people to act without deploying Holocaust imagery that demonizes other Americans and debases the memory of 6 million murdered Jews.

U.S. border guards and Homeland Security personnel are not Nazis. Critics should stop slandering them. We live in the world’s greatest democracy. Our elected officials have the tools to fix what’s broken.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean, Director Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization. Abraham Cooper has been a longtime activist for Jewish and human rights causes. His extensive involvement in Soviet Jewry included visiting refuseniks, helping to open Moscow’s first Jewish Cultural Center, and lecturing at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Sakharov Foundation. In 1977, he came to L.A. to help Rabbi Marvin Hier found the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and for three decades Rabbi Cooper has overseen the Wiesenthal Center’s international social action agenda including worldwide antisemitism and extremist groups, Nazi crimes, Interfaith Relations, the struggle to thwart the anti-Israel Divestment campaign, and worldwide promotion of tolerance education. Widely recognized as an international authority on issues related to digital hate and the Internet, Rabbi Cooper was listed in 2017 by Newsweek among the top most influential Rabbis in the United States. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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U.S. border guards and Homeland Security personnel are not Nazis. Critics should stop slandering them. We live in the world’s greatest democracy. Our elected officials have the tools to fix what’s broken.
border, children, trump, holocaust, michael hayden
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 11:44 AM
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