Dear Speaker Pelosi:
On behalf of the 950-member Rabbis of the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim (RAA/IGUD) serving throughout the United States, I am calling on you to clarify some disturbing and painful statements declared by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Representative Ocasio-Cortez used disturbing language in her recent Instagram live video which seeks to equate the detention centers on America’s southern border with Nazi-era Concentration Camps.
The terms “Concentration Camp” and “Never Again” are synonymous with the atrocities committed by the infamous 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 only because they were Jewish. While there may be concerns raised by elected officials in the political arena with conditions experienced by migrants seeking asylum in the United States, including family separation, unusable facilities, and lack of food, water, and medical resources, the unforgivable use of Holocaust terminology to describe these contemporary concerns diminishes the evil intent of the Nazis to eradicate the Jewish people. The Jewish community deserves an apology. In particular, Holocaust survivors – and among them RAA/IGUD member rabbis who are Holocaust survivors – are due a special apology for the pain, trauma and hurt this comparison has caused them.
I write to you in your capacity as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. We are certain that you, as the congressional leader and a senior member of Congress, do not concur which such painful statements and we are certain that you expect the highest level of respect, professionalism and sensitivity from members of the House of Representatives.
As rabbis, we appeal to you to impress upon members of the House of Representatives to refrain from using terminology evocative of the Holocaust to voice concerns about contemporary political issues.
We await your reply.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik
Rabbinical Alliance of America