Enough of Rabbi Boteach
It is really time to get rid of Rabbi Boteach’s column. The column by the self-described America’s Rabbi is nothing more than a personal advertisement for him and his projects, extolling his work and the allegedly famous people he knows. To make matters worse, he does not hesitate to attack anyone who might disagree with him.
The Jewish Standard will be a much better publication without him.
Henry D. Ostberg
Stop it, Rabbi Boteach
I could not allow Rabbi Boteach’s rambling column (“The liberal crusade against Holocaust memory,” July 5), accusing “liberals” of demeaning and debasing the Holocaust, go unanswered. He objects to the detention camps in which thousands of migrants, including thousands of children forcibly separated from their parents, as being called concentration camps, on the grounds that the concentration camps run by the Nazis were so much worse, being that they were for the extermination of Jews and others considered undesirable. He again objects to Trump and other members of his administration being referred to as Nazis. Regarding the latter objection, I would point out that not only do many liberals, think his (and a significant portion of the Republican party) authoritarian tendencies dangerously parallel Nazi ideology, but on the other end of the political spectrum, numerous American neo-Nazis and their racist fellow travelers have been praising Trump’s and the Republican party’s stance of forcibly separating migrant children from their parents, keeping them in squalid conditions, declaring the press to be “the enemy of the people,” suppressing the vote of minority communities, attempting to crush women’s rights, and support of brutal dictatorships. So even the Nazis in this country think he is one of them, despite his Jewish son-in-law. There are even a few openly white supremacists running on the Republican ticket in multiple states.
This is a national scandal — or certainly should be!
Are they murdering people yet? Not directly, but Trump has encouraged his followers to act violently towards his opponents, as documented on camera at numerous rallies and in his never-ending stream of vile tweets. Results include the murder of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
Rabbi Boteach seems to have forgotten that the Holocaust did not happen all at once. It took years of preparation to make sure that the population of average Germans who considered themselves honest, hardworking, and decent folks would not object to wholesale murder taking place in their backyards. So they started with simply withdrawing medical care from the mentally disabled. (Trump and his Republican party supporters are less discriminatory in that his administration wants to withdraw medical care from all of the poor by destroying the Affordable Care act without anything to replace it, despite having over 10 years to come up with an alternative.) There could have been an uprising then, but there wasn’t.
When there was not too much outrage about withdrawing care, then the Nazis started to actively euthanize the mentally disabled. Those who spoke up were silenced. There could have been an uprising then, too, but there wasn’t. The German population got used to that idea too, paired with the improving economy. And then to taking the Jews someplace else. And then to making sure that none of them would come back.
By that time, it was far too late for any group within Germany to stop what was happening.
“Never again” is an empty phrase if we fail to act on it. The real insult to our relatives who were murdered by the Nazis is failing to see the warning signs and acting before it is too late. Immigrants who are seeking asylum by definition are not illegal, according to international treaties that the United States signed. Sorry, rabbi, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and numerous other liberals are on the right side of history and the right side of Jewish law as well when it comes to condemning the disgraceful treatment of refugees at the border and other outrages perpetrated by this administration. What good is U.S. official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel if we fail as a people to be menschen?
By the way, we have heard precious little from the so-called evangelical Christian right leaders, such as Franklin Graham, Falwell, and others, on supporting the rights of asylum seekers, the poor, and minorities in this country. Which side do you think they would be on if they lived in Germany in the 1930s?
What’s this about ‘government’s supposed poor treatment’
Appalled, disgusted and ashamed? The July 12 letter (“Officials urged to remedy plight of immigrant kids”) was referring to our government’s supposed poor treatment of illegal immigrants at the border. It’s interesting the letter writer wasn’t moved to write about the weekly shootings and deaths of American citizens in Chicago or about homeless Americans, or Americans who are dying from the opioid crisis or those Americans at the lower end of the economic scale who will not have jobs because illegals take them for lower wages. It’s also interesting that she wasn’t exercised when the same treatment was afforded illegals under a different administration. Perhaps she can also find some adjectives to describe those who encourage foreign parents to take children on a long, dangerous journey instead of applying for made-up asylum or actual citizenship at the American consulate in their home country.