Please, Stop Using the Holocaust as an Analogy

by

Thursday, August 30, 2018


When I heard that Donald Trump Jr. told a One America reporter that the DNC platform is “awfully similar” to that of the 1930s Nazi Party, my initial reaction was an exasperated, “Good grief, not this again.” After weeks of the left’s denunciation of migrant detention centers as “concentration camps” and comparisons between ICE and Nazi Germany, I had hoped we’d learned our lesson. Apparently, we have not.

As a Jewish woman with family friends who escaped slaughter in concentration camps; it is deeply offensive when others use the suffering of our ancestry as a rhetorical device. It is beyond hyperbolic; it minimizes the Holocaust, aiding the anti-Semites who want to erase it from our collective memory for good.

Comparing American policy prescriptions to the Holocaust is a habit ingrained in both the left and right that needs to stop. Conservatives may feel persecuted on campus for their views or oppressed by safe spaces, but they’re not being starved to death, shot, or sent to a concentration camp because of it. The left are understandably disturbed by the separation of migrant parents from their children at the US-Mexico border. However, unless those kids are being ushered into gas chambers, try protesting or offering some ideas for reforms instead of invoking the Holocaust.

I understand this analogy’s use. Invoked similarities between the U.S. and Nazi Germany elevate the seriousness of complaints, providing them with urgency and intensity. In reality, they undermine the gravity of the Holocaust itself. We could all take a lesson from basic economic theory: when supply increases, value drops. Similarly, when everyone’s ears are saturated with interpretations of the Holocaust, it’s easier to believe that the Holocaust wasn’t really all that bad.

This outcome might seem implausible, and yet babies who were born at the very beginning of the Shoah are now 85. When the last Holocaust survivor disappears, there won’t be any more firsthand accounts to dispute the commentators who would have Americans believe that the deadliest genocide in history is on the same moral footing as privatized healthcare or a secure border.

It’s ironic that these same alarmists fail to speak up when they see actual anti-Semitism among their own ranks. The most blatant example of American anti-Semitism is the Neo-Nazi movement comprised of the alt-right, which, luckily, the vast majority of the right condemns outright. More subtle is the dangerous anti-Semitism being normalized on the left.

Far-left darlings like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have respectively condemned Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian territories and referred to the “occupation of Palestine.” Similarly, the 2017 Black Lives Matter platform refers to Israel as an apartheid regime. Admittedly, criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-semitic, but the push to dismantle the world’s only Jewish state, created through Jewish self-determination, very well may be.

The criticism by the BDS movement and anti-Zionists of Israel’s perceived brutality, but disregard for similar regimes, is anti-semitic (see the blatant anti-semitism at the UN). It isolates the only Jewish state in the world for singular critique. Until I see BDS arguing just as passionately to liberate the Maori in New Zealand as the Palestinians in Israel, I’ll have trouble ignoring the bias at its core.

Third-wave feminist leaders aren’t doing much better. Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour said that feminism and Zionism are incompatible, excluding the vast majority of Jews from women’s rights activism. Her associates, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory, are both defenders of Louis Farrakhan, who called Adolf Hitler “a very great man” and has described Jews as “Satanic” and “bloodsuckers.”

The lion’s share of these leftist activists aren’t trying to be anti-semitic. Their intentions aren’t malicious or genocidal; they just want to stop oppression, but crying foul over a wholly improbable ‘Holocaust’ doesn’t preclude anyone from casual anti-Semitism.

If you’re really committed to social justice or ideological equity on compass, put down your pitchfork and start calling out anti-Semitic bias when you see it. If not, your Holocaust analogies are disingenuous and toxic to our political discourse.

Rachel is a member of Tulane University’s 2021 class, studying political economy and marketing through the Altman Program in International Studies. You can find her making travel plans, searching for her next favorite hummus recipe, or debating her nearest friend/family member/unsuspecting stranger on the second amendment and criminal justice reform.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Rachel Altman

Tulane University

Rachel is a member of Tulane University’s 2021 class, studying political economy and marketing through the Altman Program in International Studies. You can find her making travel plans, searching for her next favorite hummus recipe, or debating her nearest friend/family member/unsuspecting stranger on the second amendment and criminal justice reform.

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