Spend more to eradicate slavery worldwide

Thank you for your excellent article, “Freeing the Slaves,” (April 8). I wanted to correct one important statistic. I misspoke. In the interview, I said: “There is $150 billion a year going to trafficking, and only one tenth of that amount is being spent to eradicate it.” I meant to say that one tenth of one percent is being spent to eradicate it. Kevin Hyland, the U.K.’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner, estimates that we spend even less. He said last week at a conference sponsored by the Vatican: “0.08 percent of the amount spent on trafficking is spent to fight it.”

This is why 44 organizations, including Free the Slaves and such Jewish groups as the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish Women’s International, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and T’ruah, have co-sponsored generation-freedom.org. They are soliciting signatures and petitioning all 2016 presidential candidates to commit to spending $3 billion dollars — or 2 cents for every dollar that traffickers earn off the backs of slaves — on anti-trafficking efforts. To put this in context, Americans spend $7 billion dollars on potato chips annually.

The question is not whether we have the resources to end slavery. The question is whether we have the will. Readers can view and sign the petition at www.generation-freedom.org, and download seder resources on modern slavery at www.FreeTheSlaves.net/Judaism.

Rabbi Debra Orenstein
Congregation B’nai Israel, Emerson

Trump and Hitler: Obvious parallels

Like several other letters already published in the last issue or two, I also felt that Rabbi Boteach was completely missing the point about why many felt that calling Donald Trump’s campaign tactics Hitler-like and or Nazi-like was appropriate, and why these accusations were legitimate, even if Trump was not targeting Jews — at least for now (“Comparing Trump to Hitler trivializes the Holocaust,” March 18).

To politely paraphrase the late George Carlin: Did it ever occur to people that the reason why the politicians running for office stink is because the voters stink?

Like many fascist demagogues before him, including Hitler, Donald Trump has repeatedly appealed to racism against Latinos and African Americans, and to prejudice against Muslims, and he has encouraged and condoned violence at his rallies. These are danger signals that anyone who values democracy should recognize and call out.

Contrary to trivializing victims of the Holocaust, this is the least that we can do make sure another Holocaust does not happen.

To further drive the point home, I encourage those fellow readers with a Netflix account to check out a currently streaming German movie made in 2015 called “Er ist wieder da” (it means “Look who’s back”), a black-humored satire about Hitler suddenly reappearing in the year 2014 and rapidly conquering TV, Facebook, and the rest of social media. As with Hitler’s first rise, most people do not take anything he says seriously this time either, and the few that do are dismissed as paranoid or trouble-makers.

The parallels to the current Trump campaign (and those of other Republicans this year) are chillingly obvious.

David Rubin

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