jblum (jblum) wrote,

Why it matters why it happened

Well, it's official. The White House has confirmed to CNN that they deliberately excluded any mention of Jews from their statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day because they didn't want to privilege Jewish suffering over the other people who were killed: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/28/politics/white-house-holocaust-memorial-day/index.html

Know why that scares me so much? To quote the Anti-Defamation League's director Joseph Greenblatt... the UN established International Holocaust Remembrance Day not only because of Holocaust denial, but also because so many countries -- Iran, Russia, Poland, and Hungary, for example -- specifically refuse to acknowledge Hitler's attempt to exterminate Jews, "opting instead to talk about generic suffering rather than recognizing this catastrophic incident for what it was: the intended genocide of the Jewish people."

What we have here, is a "Holocaust remembrance statement" which is *specifically refusing to remember why it happened*. The Nazis didn't build an industrial-scale genocide machine to wipe out trade unionists. The Wannssee Conference was not called to discuss the final solution to the homosexual problem. Romani were sent to the camps, but they're not the reason they were built. The implication that they just *happened* to kill more Jews than everyone else put together -- no.

The Holocaust was not a generic suppression of enemies of the state; it was specifically built on religious and racial hatred. Hatred of us.

And ignoring that fact doesn't just play into the hands of those who hate Jews; it plays into the hands of those who want to target *other* minorities -- who don't want people to notice that the mechanisms used to target them have been used before.

Look at the Nazis' publication of the personal details of Jews who had committed crimes as small as pickpocketing, as part of their smear of the entire race in "The Jew As Criminal". Then look at Breitbart's running feature naming-and-shaming black criminals in their "Black Crime" section. Now look at Trump's executive order -- apparently written by ex-Breitbart boss Stephen Bannon -- which declares that the US government will publish lists of all immigrants who have even been *charged* with a crime.

All this has happened before. We must make sure it never happens again.

And we see this familiar strategy all over the place... when a group is being victimized, so often there's a push to deny that they're being singled out for victimization, from people who want to distract from the injustice at the root of it. Why should we single out Jews as having a special claim to the Holocaust? (Because the orders establishing the camps sure singled us out.) Why say "Black Lives Matter", when surely *all* lives matter? (Because black lives are being disproportionately threatened and taken by police in ways which other races aren't.) And those gays -- why do they need all those anti-discrimination protections, aren't they special rights somehow? (Because no one's actually trying to invalidate straight marriages, or deny people service for being straight.)

We have to recognize this sham neutrality wherever it occurs. It's been used on us, it will be used on others.

And just to add injury to insult... within hours of this statement, still on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Trump suspended America's refugee intake as part of the whole Muslim ban. Meaning that, immediately after saying the Holocaust wasn't particularly about the Jews... he returned to the sort of targeted refugee bans from World War II which closed this country's door specifically to Jews. The refugee policy which literally meant that Anne Frank died; as the Post just pointed out, if the US had accepted Otto Frank's bid for asylum, Anne would likely be alive and well today. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/24/anne-frank-and-her-family-were-also-denied-entry-as-refugees-to-the-u-s

Think about the parallels here. Specifically because they don't seem to want you to. This is the sort of thing we said "never again" about.
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