New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking heat like never before after posting an Instagram video on Monday night in which she compared migrant holding centers on the southern U.S. border to Nazi-era concentration camps.
“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are,” she said. “If that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
Though she tried to defend her statements and later argued that she wasn’t referring to Holocaust-era concentration camps, the simple fact that she used the phrase “never again” gave her zero ground on which to stand, as that particular phrase is a direct reference to the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Aside from other lawmakers like Republican Rep. Liz Cheney calling out her Democratic colleague for the disrespectful video, on Tuesday a non-partisan organization in her home state of New York tweeted a copy of a letter of condemnation it wrote to the 29-year-old freshman representative.
The tweet’s caption made clear they weren’t happy with Ocasio-Cortez’s stunt, saying, “We urge @AOC to refrain from using terminology evocative of the Holocaust tonvoice concerns about contemporary political issues, as per our letter below.”
— JCRC of New York (@JCRCNY) June 18, 2019
The letter, written by the Jewish Communities Relations Council, lambasted Ocasio-Cortez for her insensitive remarks, explaining that the organization was “deeply disturbed” by the language she used in her inflammatory video, zeroing in on her use of the phrases “never again” and “concentration camp.”
“The terms ‘Concentration Camp’ and ‘Never Again’ are synonymous with and evocative of the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, in which 6 million European Jews were systematically denied civil and human rights due to their race and ultimately murdered in a state-sponsored genocide.
“As concerned as we are about the conditions experienced by migrants seeking asylum in the United States … the regrettable use of Holocaust terminology to describe these contemporary concerns diminishes the evil intent of the Nazis to eradicate the Jewish people,” the letter read.
The organization then offered Ocasio-Cortez what amounts to a sensitivity class on the Holocaust and the tragic history surrounding it.
“We would be pleased to work with you to arrange a visit to a concentration camp, a local Holocaust museum, hear the stories of local survivors, or participate in other educational opportunities in the hopes of better understanding the horrors of the Holocaust.”
Making sure Ocasio-Cortez understood the level of disrespect she showed to Holocaust survivors with her remarks, the group closed the letter with a simple, yet powerful demand.
“Until that time, we urge you to refrain from using terminology evocative of the Holocaust to voice concerns about our contemporary political issues,” the group said.
Talk about an “Oh, snap!” moment after a conclusion like that; it’s clear that the JCRC group was extremely unhappy with her irresponsible remarks.
Given that the group isn’t allied with any political party, it further proves just how far over the line Ocasio-Cortez stepped on this one.
Comparing what Holocaust survivors endured in the concentration camps to humane, perfectly legal holding centers on the U.S. border — for people who voluntarily crossed the border and knew they would end up there — is a gross display of disrespect and total lack of knowledge of basic world history.
Politics aside, Ocasio-Cortez should be condemned by all sides for her actions.
Nothing short of a full, sincere apology and perhaps taking up the JCRC on their offer to help her become more educated on the matter will make this flub go away.
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