By Jake Novak
Two years after President Donald Trump was elected, you’d think America’s politicians and news media alike would have finally tired of all the comparisons to Nazi Germany.
But you’d be wrong.
Now that the Central American migrant caravan has reached the U.S. border with Mexico, the allusions and comparisons to the Holocaust and the Nazis are running rampant once again. Not that there’s ever a good issue or time to devalue and disrespect the real victims of the Shoah, but there are three big reasons why making Holocaust connections to our current immigration debate are exceedingly bad for the Jews.
1) Pallywood Comes to Tijuana
The coverage and exploitation of the migrant crisis both here and in Europe has relied on heartrending photos and videos for years now. And as I explained earlier this year, it uses all of the same sketchy and immoral tactics employed by the news media when it covers the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But many of the same Jews who are smart enough to see the con game in the way pictures and videos are used to mislead the public about Palestinians in Gaza are falling for the same nonsense at the Mexican border. And just like so many people only focus on how Israel responds to terrorists and lethal threats, the focus in the border story coverage has not been on the migrants who rushed the border barriers and threatened our border guards. Instead, all we hear is about how the terrible Trump-controlled security forces tear gassed women and children and targeted them on purpose. It doesn’t matter than none of that is true; the proper emotions have been stoked.
The more emotions are stoked, the less rational thinking occurs. And nothing stokes Jewish emotions more than Holocaust imagery and references to Nazi atrocities.
That’s sure seems like what happened to U.S. Senator and Jewish American Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who had to be shamed into taking down a tweet where he openly asked if tear gassing the border rushers last weekend was the same as a chemical weapons attack. There’s no evidence Schatz is the brightest bulb in the menorah, but it’s clear his emotions got the best of him in this case.
The more we Jews fall for this kind of engineered outrage, the more the news media and others will be encouraged to use it against us and our loved ones in Israel. Count on it.
2) Using the Holocaust Against Us
The most prominent figure to recently compare these economic-migrants to Holocaust victims was Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In this case, making that comparison is more than just an insult to those who truly suffered from the genocidal mania of the Nazis.
In fact, it’s also a real danger to those of us who are concerned about preserving the accurate history of the Shoah. The migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally are not fleeing genocide or even political oppression. They want to come here for better economic opportunities. For that they should not be blamed, and no one other than the people violently attacking our border guards or working in human trafficking should be prosecuted or demonized. But to compare their plight to Jews who faced certain death unless they escaped from Europe in 1939-45 is disgusting. It also risks having some relatively intelligent people coming to believe that the Jews of the Nazi era were also simply trying to avoid economic hardship.
Jews shouldn’t insist on winning the historic “victimhood contest,” but we do need to make sure the facts and reasons behind our frequent oppression and murder down through the years are accurately cataloged and protected from those who would seek to twist them for a current ephemeral gain.
3) Whatever Happened to Y’mach Sh’moh?
Accurate cataloging is important, but we need to find a happy medium between remembering the lessons of history and forgetting the wise lessons of our tradition of y’mach sh’moh, or blotting out the names of the most evil people.
Jews and non-Jews alike have really fumbled the second part of that job. It sounds sickening to say, but the undeniable fact is that the Nazis and Hitler are still a big media hit. You can’t watch more than a few hours of news, movies, or documentaries without hearing a few references to them. Social media is filled with discussions about Nazism. In a terrible twist, it’s almost as if the Nazis never left the scene.
Ask even well-educated yeshiva graduates to name some of the names of the leading Nazis during the war, or the names of some of the death camps. Then ask them to name three or four Jewish heroes of the Holocaust era. Then you’ll see just how big the problem is.
We’re never going to succeed in taking the allure of fame away from the Nazis if we don’t start to really insist that people in the public square stop dredging up their names and actions every time the wind blows. And yet, it seems like the people most likely to do just that are Jews in and out of public life.
The big question is can America’s pulpit rabbis, political activist Jews, and Jewish professionals in the news media resist emotional and financial temptations and do what’s right?