By David A. Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council
As the world marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp this week, Americans will also sadly look back at 2009 as the year that the memory of the Holocaust was abused and misused in politics like never before. Politicians, pundits, and protestors freely compared President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats to Hitler, the Nazis, and other evil historical figures. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck consistently labeled Democratic reforms “Hitlarian” and laughed all the way to the bank as demagogic politicians and Tea Party activists bought their heinous rhetoric hook, line, and sinker at the expense of real reform.
Now is the time for action. Now is the time to send a message to 2010 House and Senate candidates that abusive Holocaust rhetoric and anti-Semitic language will not be tolerated in our political discourse.
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) has created an online petition where fed-up citizens of all political stripes can add their names to the majority of Americans who are disgusted by this deeply divisive trend in American politics. This petition calls on all federal candidates to add their names and condemn this caustic and outrageous language when they see it on the campaign trail. President Barack Obama rightly urged a higher level of political dialogue in his State of the Union address; you can help make that wish a reality by supporting this effort today.
Members of the House GOP leadership did not condemn truly obscene Holocaust rhetoric during their November 5th Capitol Hill press conference, where—among other heinous signs—one banner compared the Dachau concentration camp to health care reform and another declared that “Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds” [sic]. It was not until we called out House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor that they acknowledged that those signs were even there. How could they miss them? The cameras didn’t!
Regardless of where a candidate stands on policy matters, every candidate should be willing to stand up for what is right and for the memory of those who perished and survived the twentieth century’s greatest horror. This caustic rhetoric is a national embarrassment, and it has to stop. Now is the time to take action and tell candidates enough is enough when it comes to abusive Holocaust rhetoric and anti-Semitic language. Take action today by signing our petition and demanding a higher level of public discourse.