What's On Our Mind ...
Across our nation and the world, there were memorials and tributes for the victims of the Holocaust yesterday to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.
Reflecting back on that dark time in history is important. Hate did not end when the camps were closed and the Germans were defeated. Similarly, it is just as important to pause and reflect on this moment in time.
Today, nearly 80 years later, hatred still exists, but the vehicle for spreading it has changed. Extremists have exploited Tik Tok and other social media platforms to share hateful content and recruit new followers.
A recent review of the platform found that antisemitism continues to propagate across the app, including content from known antisemitic figures, as well as posts perpetuating age-old antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories. According to the U.N., 17% of content related to the Holocaust on TikTok either denied or distorted the Holocaust.
The Holocaust is also being used as a political and cultural weapon because it works to stir discontent and to make political points. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen Members of Congress, elected officials, and others use the Holocaust to make baseless and fraudulent comparisons about COVID. Last year saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents worldwide in 10 years.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has compared the requirement to wear safety masks in the U.S. House to the horrors of the Holocaust. Other of her GOP colleagues have also made false comparisons to the Holocaust. She apologized, as they all do. But words matter. Those soundbites will live forever on social media and will be used by others with ill intentions.
Now we are seeing that the teaching of the Holocaust is facing scrutiny. A Tennessee school district has voted to ban a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, Maus, about the Holocaust due to “inappropriate language.” The American Library Association says the number of attempts to ban school library books was 67% higher in September 2021 than in September 2020.
What can you do?
Pay attention to local elections — and get involved.
Report antisemitism and Holocaust denial on Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitter.
Report antisemitic bias or discriminatory incidents to the ADL.
Call on the Senate to release the months-long hold on the nomination and confirmation of Dr. Deborah Lipstadt as the U.S. Envoy to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism Abroad.
Those that perished during the Holocaust no longer have a voice. But you do. Use it. Do not stay silent.