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The Problem With Ocasio-Cortez’s Shameful Ignorance of History

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is what they are.”—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

In April 1944, two Slovakian Jews named Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba escaped from Auschwitz and provided two of the first eyewitness accounts of the horrors of the European concentration camps.

Both men had been rounded up with a group of their countrymen and sent to the Birkenau section of the camp in the spring of 1941, where they were immediately put to work as slave labor.

This was before the German regime had properly streamlined and industrialized efforts to destroy European Jewry.

In the early days of the camp, any man incapable of labor was immediately executed. Those who survived were sent to do the grueling work of construction.

The men began their work at sunrise, and except for a half-hour break at noon, when the prisoners were fed cabbage and turnip soup, they worked until 6 p.m. For dinner, the men were given an ounce of moldy bread made from “ersatz flour and sawdust.”

Lice and fleas tortured their emaciated bodies as they slept on wooden boards. “Rats were so bold they gnawed at the toes and fingers of sleepers and stole the crumbs they had left in their pockets,” wrote Robert Conot in his book “Justice at Nuremberg.”

A third of the prisoners died every week. If a worker was hurt, he was allotted three days of recovery time. If they failed to heal, those working in the infirmary—where Dr. Josef Mengele had already begun his nefarious work on women and children—would inject a fatal dose of phenol directly into their hearts.

Of the 2,722 Slovakian Jews who had been rounded up with Wetzler and Vrba, only 159 survived to the summer of 1942.

Those who died had been dumped, with another approximately 105,000 bodies, into shallow trenches around Birkenau. “As they decomposed” Conot noted, “the earth rose like a yeasty mixture of dough and bubbled up nauseating gases, which spread for miles.”

I think of that last sentence whenever some modern-day know-nothing begins comparing the United States to a proto-Nazi state.

Maybe it’s because their analogies are embarrassingly ignorant and intellectually lazy, or maybe it’s because people like Ocasio-Cortez, perhaps unknowingly, diminish the suffering of millions of dead. Or maybe it’s because my own grandfather was taken as slave labor in Austria.

Then again, maybe it’s because the comparison itself is a despicable smear of the American people.

It’s true that we’re not prepared for the crush of refugees on the southern border. While there is a border, however, we ask migrants who show up to follow existing laws, ones that are subject to the democratic process and the court system.

Sometimes we reacted ham-fistedly, even temporarily breaking up families who are transporting children without any oversight.

Some migrants have been abused, and some have died in our care. There is no excuse for it. Neither is sanctioned by the state.

If you believe any of this is morally equivalent to carting away millions of people to crematoriums for execution because their faith, your moral compass is irreparably broken.

This doesn’t mean that people of good faith can never be critical of U.S. policy or contrast any policy with those of Nazi Germany.

“Concentration camps” have a long history that predates the Holocaust, after all. But the contemporary usage is clear, notwithstanding Ocasio-Cortez’s unconvincing attempts to walk back her initial statements. She, in fact, stresses: “I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs.”

This dumb Nazi equivalence certainly isn’t new. We see a spike whenever a Republican is elected—be it Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, or George Bush. Of course, with Donald Trump, they are in full bloom.

We see it all across social media—not only from random accounts but from celebrities, well-known pundits, and major newspapers peddling fourth grade-level historical analysis. What they’re doing is cheapening their own arguments, on top of all else.

Ocasio-Cortez, whose historical obliviousness leads her to believe we’re living in an economic and racial dystopia, says she is speaking to those who “are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘Never Again’ means something and … that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘home of the free.’”

It’s indeed strange to hear a leftist who champions anti-Israel causes and anti-Semitic politicians using this phrase, as the Jewish state is the most successful and enduring manifestation of “Never Again.”

The appearance of “Never Again” also undermines her later contention that she wasn’t talking about the Nazi camps.

We’re forced to take Ocasio-Cortez seriously because she is both a charismatic elected official with many impressionable fans and a person bestowed with a huge media platform.

Only last weekend, she appeared on “Meet the Press” praising socialism—the other scourge of the 20th century.

Yet, when we need our media to ask Ocasio-Cortez to explain her profoundly childish and destructive statements, they are nowhere to be found.

Reprinted with permission from – The Daily Signal – by David Harsanyi

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Paul W

Short, concise comment: She’s a complete idiot…and so are the morons that elected her.

James Liggett

She is a disgrace to the Congressional seat that she holds. Especially because of her ignorent statements.

Wayne

I find it baffling that there are so many Jews that are dumb enough to actually vote democratic.

Patty

I wish this article could be read on the main stream news! We are not being fed the truth!

Alan N. Levy

Thank you for sharing this article. I’m an author, a political columnist, a blogger in the Times of Israel, a Zionist, and my great fear is a nuclear Iran. Only a nation as great as the United States will allow a moron like her to open her mouth, and sadly, I must defend her right to do so. Is she wrong? Yes. Is she ill-informed? Yes. Is she ignorant? Yes. But dare we curtail her right to speak her broken logic and blustery stupidity? No. Our Constitution states (indirectly) that she has the right to be stupid.

Stephen Russell

She wont even tour camp sites alone,let alone hear from survivors, speaks volumes for Dems 2, Bad optics.
Hey Jews DONT VOTE Dem anymore, they DONT care

Jeanne

You can’t fix stupid. She is definitely ANTIAMERICAN!!!!!! TRAITOR.

Linda M DuBois

She was a waitress and is not qualified to be in Congress.

Drue

A.O.C.- A childish no nothing who was elected by accident. She is not old enough or experienced life’s trials to make such outlandish statements. Those that follow and adore her are drinking the kool-aid of socialism. She knows not what she says yet thinks she knows all. These leftist/progressive/socialist will see the silent, conservative majority rise up and vote in 2020.

Mary

Those who are ignorant of history ate doomed to repeat it

Paul

OAC, Needs to 1st Research Historic Events. I don’t think she cares about insulting Jewish people. Rush Limbaugh made a point that we “The Conservatives”! Are giving her to much attention! I agree, with him, but I will still keep an eye on her!

Todd Taylor

Ocasio-Cortez epitomizes the inherently flawed ignorant, reckless ideals of the Liberal (Progressive) Social Party; how did she ever get elected to represent the honorable State of New York? Hers is the disgrace that represents the broken reasoning of all those “Progressive” Americans who support her in destroying the America we have all have come to so love and cherish. The blood of every Patriot calls out from the grave to have such individuals elected out of office; wake up New Yorkers you started strong as a State two hundred plus years ago but are quickly sputtering to an end. Progressives like Cortez will not only ruin New York but will not stop until they devastate America. Long live the Republic!

Patty L.

Hear the Dems plan to primary her for the 2020 election. Hope they do. She causes harm with her ignorance.

Michael cozzi

She is so ignorant to the history of the united states they need to remove her

Iris

Funny, we see people lining up and sneaking over our boarder hundreds at a time. Did we see Europeans lining up and trying to get through Nazi concentration borders into their camps?

Glenn Lego

Adam Kinzinger a Representative from Illinois, had doubts about the crisis at the border. Until his National Guard unit had to spend some time there. He’s now convinced of the crisis.

Jlp

Whats even sadder and more destructive is that some people believe her…The Bible says check all things…prove all thing…in her case absolutely. She and the other insane politicians have lied so much they start believing their lies.
When i had to do a paper on the Holocaust in college I learned so much, Read a book !!!
hey…can she read ???..the Holocaust …how dare she compare our borders to that…go to the borders Cortez….it seems like the most ignorant people are being elected…careful what you wish for…

Pamela

You can’t fix stupid.!

Harold

She is just showing a lack of knowledge of history and that truth does not matter. This is just another example were the liberal will say anything to get attention.They are only interested in their desires. Most of the are not concerned about America, but the power they have or want. Their desired government is one that will protect their way of live, make them rich and not have to live by the same standard they set for everyone else.
They think they are so smart they can make socialism work in the USA just shows they are really stupid .

Brian B

Why does AMAC have to respond every time this fool opens her stupid mouth. Enough already. We already know her politics forwards and backwards. There are more important world and national issues. Just a thought.