Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday suggested Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) visit Wahington, DC's Holocaust Museum to learn the difference between the genocide committed by the Nazis and the use of tear gas on asylum-seekers in Mexico.
"I recommend she take a tour of the Holocaust Museum in DC," wrote Graham. "Might help her better understand the differences between the Holocaust and the caravan in Tijuana."
I recommend she take a tour of the Holocaust Museum in DC. Might help her better understand the differences betw… https://t.co/LZrP5mGzCa— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham) 1543256425.0
Graham was fuming over a Sunday tweet in which Ocasio-Cortez compared the Republican Party's demonization of migrants fleeing political violence to other instances of discrimination in recent world memory.
"Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime," Ocasio-Cortez posted. "It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America."
Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime. It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germa… https://t.co/Tc2erdSHjo— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1543189978.0
Holocaust remembrance organizations rushed to Ocasio-Cortez's defense.
The Auschwitz Memorial Museum noted that the Holocaust was not an overnight process and that people dying in gas chambers was the result of "gradually developed" hate.
"When we look at Auschwitz we see the end of the process," the museum tweeted. "It's important to remember that the Holocaust actually did not start from gas chambers. This hatred gradually developed from words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanization & escalating violence."
When we look at Auschwitz we see the end of the process. It's important to remember that the Holocaust actually did… https://t.co/AsiEn6lPGa— Auschwitz Memorial (@Auschwitz Memorial) 1543269401.0
Twitter tore into Graham for making an enemy of the Auschwitz Memorial Museum.
@LindseyGrahamSC When Auschwitz is subtweeting you, you may be on the wrong side of history. https://t.co/howS3ImOPi— Janet Johnson (@Janet Johnson) 1543324243.0
They are the experts, and Graham should pay attention.
@LindseyGrahamSC Might help you if you actually listened to people with knowledge on this matter. https://t.co/vYzYJFi2ti— Debbie Russell #DemCast (@Debbie Russell #DemCast) 1543321102.0
@LindseyGrahamSC I recommend that you step back and try to grasp the similarities in the two events. Just because t… https://t.co/8jSuHppohJ— sarah (@sarah) 1543308677.0
@LindseyGrahamSC Been to the holocaust museum. The holocaust began not with gas chambers but with those in power c… https://t.co/hGw6ryQMst— zeckle3 (@zeckle3) 1543320929.0
@LindseyGrahamSC From the Holocaust Museum-the Holocaust actually did not start from gas chambers. This hatred grad… https://t.co/v2SSG2LHjk— Oliver P. Archibald,MD,DTM&H (@Oliver P. Archibald,MD,DTM&H) 1543309763.0
@LindseyGrahamSC Lindsey, the similarities of rhetoric and scapegoating are present and obvious. If you need a spe… https://t.co/YYOh5lMVgu— Christine Olson (@Christine Olson) 1543306204.0
@LindseyGrahamSC I would suggest you do the same, the whole point of the museum is that the Holocaust didn’t start… https://t.co/GFZ1j9BwXv— Theresa Bailey (@Theresa Bailey) 1543319734.0
Many people said Graham should follow his own advice.
@LindseyGrahamSC I think you better join her. Jews from Europe were turned away if not outright refused entry to th… https://t.co/LFajd50DSu— Sharon Gibson (@Sharon Gibson) 1543322256.0
@LindseyGrahamSC Sadly I don't need a museum reminder as my parents lived through the rise of the dictatorship of G… https://t.co/cdLlLjLkEO— A Crafty Arab wrote a #PB about #IlhanOmar (@A Crafty Arab wrote a #PB about #IlhanOmar) 1543317039.0
@LindseyGrahamSC Senator, we all understand the differences. It's the similarities that we find so disturbing.— WendyT (@WendyT) 1543312298.0
@LindseyGrahamSC You sad, sad man. I’m assuming you’ve not been to Yad Vashem. Spend an hour there and you’ll see v… https://t.co/zT6VhP414D— the gentleman is not recognized (@the gentleman is not recognized) 1543320831.0
Some noted the eerie similarities between the genocide of the Jews and how the United States is treating asylum-seekers in Central America.
The use of tear gas over Thanksgiving weekend and the bigoted rhetoric from Trump and the GOP are dark harbingers of our past.
@AuschwitzMuseum @whatsupworldnow https://t.co/mnDvp8HRsL— PS youshouldknow (@PS youshouldknow) 1543270905.0
@AuschwitzMuseum Guess which step we’re on now https://t.co/1lQm4SILDl— Brian (@Brian) 1543283986.0
@AuschwitzMuseum https://t.co/eaCaOgdqnV— Debbie GT (@Debbie GT) 1543295146.0
@AuschwitzMuseum @Ocasio2018 Heartbreaking to read amid this week’s tear gas attacks by U.S. border guards on Mexic… https://t.co/NUDvZuXq7K— Fereshta Kazemi (@Fereshta Kazemi) 1543287802.0
Further, the murder of nearly a dozen Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue last month was a deadly reminder of the hate that continues to fester.
@AuschwitzMuseum @Ocasio2018 As a Jewish American, I wrote a blog after Pittsburgh on this exact topic. We can stop… https://t.co/0rs74nNLbb— Jaclyn (@Jaclyn) 1543290120.0
@AuschwitzMuseum That's important. We cannot forget that the Holocaust started as small acts of hate that gradually… https://t.co/CdlkfrKTiW— Danielle Wallace (@Danielle Wallace) 1543293080.0
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum also bucked Graham and backed Ocasio-Cortez's historical parallels, alluding to a statement it put out in 2017 after President Donald Trump vowed to limit the number of refugees entering the United States.
“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is acutely aware of the consequences to the millions of Jews who were unable to flee Nazism, as noted in our November 2015 statement on the Syrian refugee crisis. The Museum continues to have grave concern about the global refugee crisis and our response to it. During the 1930s and 1940s, the United States, along with the rest of the world, generally refused to admit Jewish refugees from Nazism due to antisemitic and xenophobic attitudes, harsh economic conditions, and national security fears.”
Vice President Melanie Nezer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society sided with Ocasio-Cortez as well, noting that today's international laws governing the treatment of refugees were written with the Holocaust in mind.
“The laws we have today in this country were based on the UN convention of 1951, which was based on Jewish refugees being turned away during World War II,” said Nezer, agreeing with Ocasio-Cortez's assessment. "The point she was making, and I think it was an appropriate one, was that countries must hear asylum claims."
The spat between Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Congresswoman-elect and Graham, a seasoned Senator at 63, continued Monday night when Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Graham for not understanding the purpose of the Holocaust Museum.
"The point of such a treasured museum is to bring its lessons to present day," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. "This administration has jailed children and violated human rights. Perhaps we should stop pretending that authoritarianism + violence is a historical event instead of a growing force."
.@LindseyGrahamSC, the point of such a treasured museum is to bring its lessons to present day. This administratio… https://t.co/zsbT2CcKUK— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1543279259.0
Ocasio-Cortez then suggested Graham, who last month joked about not wanting to have Iranian DNA, visit the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture to learn some history.
While we’re recommending museums @LindseyGrahamSC, I heard your “joke” about ethnic DNA preferences last month. P… https://t.co/1pX8xAIIzS— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1543288895.0
Those who deny history are destined to repeat it.
"It happened," wrote Holocaust survivor and author Primo Levi. "Therefore it can happen again. And it can happen everywhere.