22 June 2019

They Are Concentration Camps

From any reasonable historical perspective, the ICE detention facilities are concentration camps, as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has stated. (Above link to a Jewish historian saying same)

The Germans adopted the term "Concentration Camp" for their camps, which were better described as death camps, because it put a civilized gloss on what was a barbaric enterprise.
This week, conservatives weaponized Jewish suffering to divert discussion from the massive human rights abuses occurring at our border.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of the man who called torture “enhanced interrogation,” scolded Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for using the term “concentration camp” to describe the growing civilian detention system, including the reopening of Fort Sill, previously a Japanese American internment camp, to hold children.

Since then, Jews have split on whether it’s appropriate to use “concentration camp” outside the context of the Holocaust. There are those who find the term too emotionally charged, or who believe the sheer scale of the Nazi Final Solution bars any possible comparison.

Though I disagree, I understand. My father turned seven on June 22, 1941, the day the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. I was raised with the story of how my grandmother saved my dad and aunt with her quick thinking and a cramped spot on a cattle train leaving Odessa for Siberia. Those who remained were shot. As a Jew, I bear witness to the memory of those who did not survive.

I’m also a legal historian, and my research on genocide and crimes against humanity has made clear that while the Holocaust is unique in its scale and implementation, the perpetrators and motivations are not. Genocide is a human crime, not a German one. In the wake of World War II, human rights laws were written in the hopes of preventing future tragedies, not for labeling the past.
You can also listen to George Takei, who spent much of the World War II in US concentration camps:

I have not yet had the opportunity to discuss this with a relative who spent much of WWII in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines, but I hope to.


Stephen Montsaroff said...

The British invented the term Concentration Camp, as well as its use, during the Boer War.

Matthew Saroff said...

The Spanish did it a few years earlier in Cuba, and they named the camps.

Post a Comment