Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to saying idiotic stuff that makes no logical sense, but it’s not often that she creates as much controversy with her idiot bombs as she did when she accused the Trump administration of housing illegal immigrants in “concentration camps” at the border. While all the usual suspects – your Ilhan Omars and your Slate.coms – jumped at the chance to absurdly back up AOC’s reckless claim, more than a few people – including conservatives, liberals, and even Chuck Friggin’ Todd – slammed the New York congresswoman for taking things a step too far.
But if there is a bottom-line authority on matters of the Third Reich, it would have to be the folks who run the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington. And they just weighed in on AOC’s comparison by unequivocally condemning any politician or pundit who casually brings up comparisons with Hitler, the Nazis, and their reign of terror.
“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,” wrote the Museum in a press release this week. “That position has repeatedly and unambiguously been made clear in the Museum’s official statement on the matter – a statement that is reiterated and reaffirmed now. The link to the Museum’s statement is here.”
In that earlier statement, released last December, the museum took to task the scores of Trump critics who seem to delight in making asinine comparisons between this administration and that of Nazi Germany. Without calling out anyone by name, the museum made its position abundantly clear.
“The Holocaust has become shorthand for good vs. evil; it is the epithet to end all epithets. And the current environment of rapid fire online communication and viral memes lends itself particularly well to this sort of sloppy analogizing. Worse, it allows it to spread more widely and quickly,” wrote Edna Friedberg, a historian in the museum’s William Levine Family Institute for Holocaust Education.
“Perhaps most popular this year have been accusations of ‘Nazism’ and ‘fascism’ against federal authorities for their treatment of children separated from their parents at the US border with Mexico,” she continued. “’Remember, other governments put kids in camps,’ is a typical rallying cry from some immigration advocates […] It is all too easy to forget that there are many people still alive for whom the Holocaust is not ‘history,’ but their life story and that of their families. These are not abstract tragedies on call to win an argument or an election. They carry the painful memories of the brutal murder of a cherished baby boy, the rape of a beloved sister, the parents arrested and never seen again.”
In other words, unless the government you’re talking about is actually rounding up ethnic or religious minorities against their will (BECAUSE OF their religious or ethnic status, NOT because of their illegal crossing of the border, mind you) and marching them into the gas chambers, shut your mouth with the Hitler comparisons. They aren’t valid and they aren’t necessary.
But hey, they get plenty of press, and to our reckoning, that’s really all AOC cares about.