The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC has published a statement rejecting the kind of analogy Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made recently when she called migrant detention centers along the southern border “concentration camps.” The statement was posted on the museum’s website as a press release:
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary. That position has repeatedly and unambiguously been made clear in the Museum’s official statement on the matter – a statement that is reiterated and reaffirmed now. The link to the Museum’s statement is here.
The Museum further reiterates that a statement ascribed to a Museum staff historian regarding recent attempts to analogize the situation on the United States southern border to concentration camps in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s does not reflect the position of the Museum.
The Museum deeply regrets any offense to Holocaust survivors and others that may have been engendered by any statement ascribed to a Museum historian in a personal capacity.
The staff historian referenced in the statement is Dr. Becky Erbelding who tweeted a reaction to a PBS special more than a year ago:
The parallels to the 1930s-1940s refugee crisis are so obvious. Why can't we learn?https://t.co/Kwu5BvTC5x
— Dr. Becky Erbelding (@rerbelding) January 25, 2018
That tweet was cited by a website called “World Israel News” Saturday as if it were in response to AOC’s comments about concentration camps. Dr. Erbelding is demanding a retraction and a correction:
In an article appearing today, a reporter entirely manufactured a tweet she claims I posted. This appears to be a clear case of libel. I have demanded a public retraction and correction.
— Dr. Becky Erbelding (@rerbelding) June 23, 2019
She also wrote a response on her personal website:
On June 22, 2019, the website “World Israel News” posted an article claiming that I tweeted that “parallels to the 1930s-1940s refugee crisis are so obvious” in response to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets last week. That claim is a total fabrication. I have demanded a public retraction and correction.
Holocaust analogies are lazy, distracting, insensitive, and incorrect. I have never compared detention camps on the US southern border to Nazi concentration camps. I am a good, careful, and award-winning historian, and this article contains lies and distortions.
This morning, Dr. Erbelding updated her statement to note that World Israel News has corrected the date of her tweet:
Note: I have made a correction to this statement. (6/24, 11:20am). The WIN article originally claimed that I tweeted the “parallels” statement in response to AOC’s comments last week. This is untrue. Now, without stating that they have made a correction, they changed the article to read that I made that statement in 2018 in response to a Frontline article describing the intensive vetting of refugees. I have gone back through my tweets and found the tweet in question, from January 25, 2018. At the time, it received two “likes” and no retweets, and again, was tweeted from my personal account.
So it sounds as if Dr. Erbelding had forgotten she ever made the statement on Twitter. In any case, she was not replying to or endorsing AOC’s statement about concentration camps.
This rebuke from Dr. Erbeldiing and the Holocaust Museum comes after the World center for Holocaust research, documentation, education and commemoration tweeted this last week:
.@AOC Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of "extermination through labor."
— Yad Vashem (@yadvashem) June 19, 2019
But none of this seems to matter to AOC’s fans, thousands of whom have swarmed every tweet on this topic to back her up. Even the tweet above has hundreds or responses arguing that AOC is right.
Update: I knew this was coming. Here’s AOC claiming Republicans made a “wild jump” by claiming she was talking about the Holocaust:
If you doubt it, here’s the original tweet. This is a deliberate, intentional, wild jump made by Republicans (frankly, often) for the explicit purpose of eliciting + manipulating pain for political purposes.
Meanwhile, kids are still dying.https://t.co/LTS1RnoXGS
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 24, 2019
So she mentioned “concentration camps” and “never again” and a “fascist” leader but it’s a wild leap to think she meant Nazi Germany. This is pure gaslighting because she’s being called out by organizations like the Holocaust Museum. AOC even retweeted a piece last week directly comparing migrant detention centers to Nazi concentration camps. Why didn’t she call out the author of that piece for making a “wild leap?”