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The Guardians of Democracy

Top Jewish Lawmaker Defends Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Concentration Camp’ Comments After GOP Backlash


Top Jewish Lawmaker Defends Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Concentration Camp’ Comments After GOP Backlash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D), one of the most prominent Jewish lawmakers in Congress, came to the defense of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she compared the Trump administration’s migrant detention centers to concentration camps, a comparison which drew the ire of some conservatives.

Ocasio-Cortez said on Monday that “the U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are.” The freshman lawmaker was attempting to draw attention to the conditions at the detentions centers which have come under heavy criticism.

In a recent report, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found “egregious” circumstances including “unusable” bathrooms, overcrowded holding areas and expired food.

“One of the lessons from the Holocaust is ‘Never Again’ – not only to mass murder, but also to the dehumanization of people, violations of basic rights, and assaults on our common morality,” tweeted Nadler, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and one of the most prominent Jewish lawmakers.

Ocasio-Cortez thanked him for the support.

“We have what I would call a concentration camp system,” historian Andrea Pitzer said in an article shared by Ocasio-Cortez, “and the definition of that in my book is, mass detention of civilians without trial.”

The article titled, “An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border,” notes that Historians use a broader definition of concentration camps.

“What’s required is a little bit of demystification of it,” says Waitman Wade Beorn, a Holocaust and genocide studies historian and a lecturer at the University of Virginia. “Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they’re putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way.”

Esquire adds: “Not every concentration camp is a death camp—in fact, their primary purpose is rarely extermination, and never in the beginning. Often, much of the death and suffering is a result of insufficient resources, overcrowding, and deteriorating conditions. So far, 24 people have died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration, while six children have died in the care of other agencies since September. Systems like these have emerged across the world for well over 100 years, and they’ve been established by putative liberal democracies—as with Britain’s camps in South Africa during the Boer War—as well as authoritarian states like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Camps set up with one aim can be repurposed by new regimes, often with devastating consequences.”

“DHS ripped 1000s of children from their parents & put them in cages w inhumane conditions. They call their cells ‘dog pounds’ & ‘freezers,’” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, referring to the Department of Homeland Security.

“I will never apologize for calling these camps what they are. If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps – not the nomenclature,” she added.


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