In responding to AOC’s concentration camp comment, the USHMM is attacked by the website Splinter.
In the 703rd episode of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inviting controversy, this time by calling CBP detention camps “concentration camps”, there has been groups on both sides wading into the debate. Those on the Left have nodded right along with AOC and parroted her talking points, while those on the Right have correctly called her comment asinine.
Among the nonpartisan groups that have gone on the record to
denounce AOC’s comment is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Like several other
organizations around the world, the Museum is dedicated to the memory of that
terrible and tragic event and works to ensure that it never happens again.
Yesterday, the Museum released a statement that read in part:
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary.
The fact that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum should be
viewed as somewhat of an authority on the matter is a given. However, in the
quest to vilify the Trump administration, leftist outlets have taken to
attacking the Museum itself.
Rafi Schwartz, writing at Splinter, wrote an article shortly after the Museum’s statement, calling their decision to release it a “dreadful intervention in the concentration camp debate”. The author states:
As Ocasio-Cortez herself explained, concentration camps are not the sole province of Nazis. It’s the museum itself (along with plenty of bad-faith Republicans) that made the leap from “concentration camps” to “Holocaust analogy” without for a moment recognizing—or at least admitting—the term’s well-established historical independence from the Nazi’s treatment of European Jewry. And by doing so, they’ve essentially demanded the world abide by their interpretation of her words solely for the purpose of publicly rejecting them.Rafi Schwartz, Splinter
The Museum has every right, as AOC does, to state their
opinion on the subject of concentration camps. While it is true that these
types of camps have been used throughout history, the connotation still resides
with its usage during the Holocaust. AOC had to have known that her comments
would invoke that image as she is so determined to score points against the Right
in the immigration debate.
As the Museum itself stated in December of 2018:
Careless Holocaust analogies may demonize, demean, and intimidate their targets. But there is a cost for all of us because they distract from the real issues challenging our society, because they shut down productive, thoughtful discourse. At a time when our country needs dialogue more than ever, it is especially dangerous to exploit the memory of the Holocaust as a rhetorical cudgel. We owe the survivors more than that. And we owe ourselves more than that.Edna Friedberg, Ph.D.