June 18, 2019


The Trump administration doesn’t call then concentration camps for the same reasons the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations didn’t — they’re not concentration camps. With thousands of people flooding across the border, the US and Mexico both have to set up facilities to house them while their status gets adjudicated. Their presence in those facilities are necessarily temporary and ends when their cases are finally decided, at which point they’re either admitted or sent out of the country.

The term “concentration camps” is more accurately used for facilities meant for ethnic-cleansing purposes rather than control of immigrants and refugees. This is not a situation in which citizens and residents of a country are being relocated en masse into detention facilities, as happened to the Japanese by FDR in World War II, where the term applies even with its historical baggage. It’s certainly not the situation created by actual fascists in the 1930s and 1940s to isolate, enslave, and then exterminate ethnic minorities within their own citizen populations, intended as a permanent policy. That ethnic cleansing from an existing population is precisely what the term “concentration” connotes, in fact. Regardless of whether a handful of historians use the term to engage in histrionics, the two situations aren’t equal, analogous, or even exist in any connectable context.

Is this an anti-Semitic remark? Possibly some will feel that way, in terms of watering down the term “concentration camps” and minimizing the industrial slaughter of the Jews into an immigration issue. (Jeff Dunetz has a nuanced take on that issue.) What should be more disturbing is the incredible ignorance and idiocy being spouted by an elected representative, who acts as though the world was created when she first began paying attention to it in January 2017.

Not to mention her stenographers defenders in the media. Or as Twitchy notes: It’s come to this: Auschwitz Museum has some advice for journos and alleged ‘historian’ defending AOC.

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