by David Safier
Allow me to exercise my Jewish prerogative and carry on an argument without anyone else in the room.
On the one hand:
I agree with a number of Jewish groups that think the Nazi references connected with SB1070 are a step too far. From an article in today's Star:
"It diminishes the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust studies center based in Los Angeles.
"Survivors and others are very upset about this," he said Friday. "When you exaggerate, it's very harmful to them when they know that their mothers and fathers were taken to the gas chambers without any recourse to the law. They lost children."
I attended the May Day march in downtown Tucson and was buoyed by the numbers, energy and commitment I saw there. It was a wonderful event. But Brewer with a Hitler mustache? The "Z" in Arizona turned into a swastika? That's way over the top.
I considered (tongue firmly in cheek) starting a group, "Jews Against Gratuitous Nazi References." Anyone wanting to compare something happening in the U.S. to World War II Germany would have to appeal to a group of Jews, half Republicans and half Democrats, who would decide whether the comparison could be used. I figure that would eliminate 95% of the references. Poor Glenn Beck would have to cut his show down to 5 minutes. (Oh happy day!)
[By way of an aside, and far less tongue in cheek: to be truly representative, the group would have to be broadened to include both Gypsies and gays, since both groups were targets of the Nazis but are generally overlooked when people discuss the Holocaust.]
On the other hand:
The article makes it sound like the Jews criticizing the Nazi reference are criticizing the push against SB1070. It's not until 2/3s of the way through the article that we learn:
The Wiesenthal Center opposes the immigration law.
"We think it stigmatizes immigrants, for example, Latinos," Hier said. "A white American would never have to face such a challenge so it's openly discriminatory in its nature."
When it comes to issues of civil rights and social justice, Jews tend to be on the front lines. So far as I know, that's true on the immigration front as well.
And continuing on that same other hand:
How many articles have we seen in the Star talking about Jewish condemnation of Nazi references by the right? Jewish groups are equally or more outraged about the Hitler mustaches on Obama and what Lewis Black, on the Daily Show, called Glenn Beck's "Nazi Tourette's."
If the Star has given equal coverage to Jewish outrage over the right's far-more-frequent misuse of Hitler/Nazi references, someone please let me know. I don't remember seeing it.
And still on that same other hand:
How about the Star running a local story about Tucson Rabbi John Linder getting together with other Arizona religious leaders and going to D.C. to lobby against SB1070 on May 12? That would provide some balance to a story that implies Jews are upset with the anti-SB1070 movement.
The story about the meeting was carried in at least 8 papers nationwide including the AZ Republic, but it was ignored by the Star -- and I believe, purposely ignored. If the Star editors claim they didn't know about the event, they should just lock up the office and go home. They have no right to consider themselves journalists.
Bringing the 2 hands together:
Even if a story is accurate, and even if I agree with most of its content, I consider it biased reporting to cover one aspect of a larger story while ignoring other parts.
This time, it's an error of omission, not an error of commission, but the result is similar. The Star, once again, is guilty of biased reporting.