An article from Hey Alma was recommended for review.
I read it. It missed the point by a Kentucky mile, written by another Jew with a moral compass that can’t find north.
I’m going to skip past the Tweets for evidence and just bullet point the list.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE COMPARISON:
1. The historical argument
Let’s just look at history: Before there were ever death camps (where Jews were murdered), there were concentration camps. As Holocaust and genocide studies historian Waitman Wade Beorn told Esquire, “Concentration camps in general have always been designed — at the most basic level — to separate one group of people from another group.” Concentration camps are also part of American history — Japanese Americans were relocated and detained in them during World War II.
2. Semantics are B.S.
As many people have pointed out, this argument over semantics has significantly derailed the real conversation we should be happening about these horrific policies.
3. Let’s focus on the actual issue.
Speaking of semantics, if you’re more offended by a term used to describe a policy than the policy itself, it may be time to rethink your priorities. A pretty straightforward argument.
4. People are dying.
Just read any coverage of migrant children dying in Border Patrol custody. At this point, anyone trying to defend the policy is deeply misguided.
5. The Nazis didn’t invent concentration camps.
The English term “concentration camp” was first used to refer to camps set up by the Spanish military in Cuba during the Ten Years War in 1868. While many people now largely associate the term with Nazi concentration camps, this argument holds that you can compare what’s happening to concentration camps without referencing the Holocaust at all.
6. What’s happening is the literal definition of a concentration camp.
7. The Holocaust was evil, but not uniquely evil.
8. “Never Again is now.”
This is something that’s been floating around a lot — it basically means that “Never Again,” the phrase many Jewish communities echo when talking about the Holocaust, needs to be taken into consideration right now. We need to act now to prevent genocide from happening again in the future.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST USING THE COMPARISON:
1. By comparing this to the Holocaust, it lets the Trump Administration off the hook.
2. Invoking the Holocaust distracts from the real problem.
This is similar to the above argument — instead of focusing on the current horror, we’re getting caught up in a semantics debate. By not using the Holocaust/concentration camps, this problem is avoided.
3. The Holocaust was unique.
4. It’s a stretch, but we should still be outraged.
As this argument goes, what’s happening today is very much worthy of your outrage, but it’s simply not at concentration levels yet.
5. These kind of centers have existed for a while, including under Democratic presidents.
6. If you really think they’re concentration camps, do something.
This article is total and complete dog shit that missed the fucking point.
At this point, I believe that I have gotten too wrapped up in the semantic argument.
Here is the fucking point:
The Holocaust. The Armenian Genocide. Soviet Gulags. The killing fields of the Khmer Rouge. The Boer concentration camps of Colonial Africa.
I’ll throw in the Rwandan genocide, the Trail of Tears, and the Soviet Holodomor as well.
All of these events have something in common.
All of them centered around the deliberate and systematic, rounding up, imprisonment, torture, and mass slaughter of minority groups of people because of their ethnicity, religion, tribal affiliation, or political opinion.
The purpose was singular: collective punishment. To eliminate a minority group through extermination or total subjugation.
The internment of the Japanese by the US (and Canada) during WWII fit most of that mold but stopped before torture and extermination.
So when it comes to immigrant detention centers on our southern borders, here is (are) the question(s) that must be asked. This is the determination of where your moral compass points.
Do you believe that the immigrant detainment centers on our border fit the mold of previous genocides?
Do you believe that Border Patrol and INS are engaged in the systematic rounding up, imprisonment, torture, and potentially mass slaughter of immigrants from Central and South America because of their skin color, race, ethnicity, or national origin, and then the purpose of these camps is the collective punishment of Hispanic/Latino people?
Intention matters. Full consent of the will is one of the differences between a venial sin and a mortal sin. Is the intention of the detention camps to be the collective punishment and torture of minority people who come across our southern border?
If the answer to that question is “yes” then it is your assumption is that any and all supporters of any sort of law enforcement on our southern border are tantamount to Nazis.
At that point, the conversation is over. You have assumed that people on the other side of the aisle from you are all the worst sorts of human beings.
You have assumed that the poor conditions that these people experience is the result of racist maliciousness and not resource constraints.
This is why I find this question so offensive and this debate so hateful. It accuses the men and women of America’s Federal law enforcement and the people who support them of being morally equivalent to Nazis.
The reality is every month, there are more than 100,000 people crossing our southern border. Most speak no English. They have no money and no job skills. Many have communicable diseases that have been eradicated in the United States. How do these people integrate into the United States and not end up homeless on American streets? How much financial responsibility do American taxpayers and tax-funded social welfare programs have to take care of these people? What is the upper limit of new people we can put onto these programs before they collapse? Should there be a process to vet the people crossing our border to determine which ones are truly deserving of asylum and which ones are not?
The “detention centers are concentration camps” position allows the person making that argument to wave away all of those concerns as just evil, racist, white supremacists, Naziesque talking points because moral people do not support concentration camps. The only moral option is to set every single one of those people free.
I believe that making the assumption that American Federal law enforcement and the people who support border security are as evil as Nazis is the sign of a broken moral compass. It is wrong to assume the absolute worst of other people without evidence.
Congresswoman did this in her video when she said to the effect of “if you don’t agree with me that these are concentration camps you are a bad person and not worth talking to.”
This debate is a microcosm of the position we have seen Social Justice take on America as a whole.
Do you believe that America is an inherently racist nation, filled with irredeemably racist people, that engages in the systematic oppression of every non-white group all the time and everywhere?
Do you believe that America is a nation founded on good valued, that is inhabited by imperfect people and occasionally makes mistakes, and while there is always room for improvement, it is fundamentally a good place?
I have the feeling that most of the “detention centers are concentration camps” crowd believes in the former.
I believe in the latter.
Could the conditions for these people be better? Yes, of course. That requires funding and resource allocations. That is a discussion to be had.
To have that discussion, the first step is to stop calling detention centers are concentration camps and by extension presuming that every single person who supports any form of border enforcement is evil and a Nazi.