The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy, Tuesday condemned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for trivializing the Holocaust, falsely denying that she did so, and failing to apologize. “’Never Again’ will Jews allow anti-Jewish slurs to go unchallenged, even if they are uttered by media darlings,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Eastern Regional Vice President of the CJV.
In comments on Instagram Monday evening, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that detention centers are “concentration camps” and said she only wants to talk to those “concerned enough with humanity... that ‘Never Again’ means something.” Defending herself on Twitter, she alternately denied comparing detention centers to death camps, quoted “experts” who said they were all part of the same spectrum, and retweeted left-wing pundits who predicted detention centers would become centers of mass murder.
The term “Never Again” is permanently associated with Nazi concentration camps, rather than any other form of imprisonment or forced labor. It was displayed on signs by newly-liberated Jews at the Buchenwald death camp in Weimar, Germany, and popularized in a book written by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1972.
“Concentration camps were places where Nazis inflicted slave labor, torture and death upon innocent Jews removed from their homes at gunpoint and transported there in cattle cars,” explained Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, Chairman of the Rabbinic Circle of the CJV. “To use Holocaust terminology regarding the refugee situation at the border is deeply offensive, and for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to first use the term ‘Never Again’ and then deny making the comparison is compellingly dishonest.”
“Trivializing the Holocaust is a form of Holocaust denial,” Rabbi Pruzansky added. “Jews were not sneaking into countries illegally, nor did they anticipate incarceration like these illegals do. Neither are illegal immigrants forced into labor or tortured, much less being systematically murdered. It is doubly shameful that she is trying to excuse or justify her statement, rather than apologizing.”