We call upon leaders from all political parties to denounce this poisonous rhetoric.
April 19, 2020
Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:
“The JCRC condemns comparisons to Adolf Hitler, Nazis, and other Holocaust-related imagery in the debate over how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On April 17, a protest outside Governor Tim Walz’s residence included a sign directly comparing Governor Walz to Adolf Hitler. We have also seen language and imagery on social media comparing Governor Walz’s executive orders to concentration camps and the Gestapo.
“Contemporary comparisons to Nazis, coming from anywhere on the political spectrum, are almost always historically inaccurate, insult the memory of the Holocaust’s victims and survivors, and are deeply hurtful to most Jews and others whose communities were victimized.
“We are dismayed to see such rhetoric along Summit Avenue in St. Paul, a corridor of democracy, theology, and education. This rhetoric represents the pouring of hatred, vitriol, and poison into the fabric of the important debate about when and how Minnesota will emerge from social distancing.
“Most dangerously, such vitriol is inflammatory and incites violence.
“We call upon leaders from all political parties to denounce this poisonous venom. Now is a time to come together as Minnesotans to tackle the significant challenges our state, nation, and world are grappling with because of COVID-19.
“This week, communities all over the world, including here in Minnesota, will come together virtually for Yom HaShoah to honor the six million Jews and other victims murdered during the Holocaust. We implore all Minnesotans to honor the memory of the victims and the dwindling few survivors still living among us by refraining from any comparisons which diminish the unique horrors of the Holocaust.”
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights antisemitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.