Statement on Shooting at Congregation Chabad in San Diego
The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is deeply saddened by the murderous acts of hatred that were perpetrated against communities of faith during their holy days of Easter and Passover. We grieve for and with our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and in San Diego. Any act of hatred targeting other human beings is abhorrent. When such acts are aimed at communities gathering for prayer to affirm their identities as people of faith, these acts wound us all in ways that ask us to ponder our obligations to respect the sacred ties that bind us one to another, and to affirm the breath of life that we share and the differences that bless us all with our unique places in the universe.
Statement on White Supremacy and Hate
The Cohen Center does not make political statements, but is driven by its mission and charge, “to remember…and to teach.” In that spirit, the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies strongly condemns the growing violence and ongoing threat of white supremacists and the use and manipulation of Nazism and Holocaust memory for political purposes. As ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt stated, “modern white supremacy is an international threat that knows no borders.” Indeed, it is responsible for the violence in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and New Zealand and must be condemned.
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ use of Mein Kampf in his speech to Congress on March 25, 2019 to attack political opponents and the media is historically false, ill-informed, and inappropriate. We share the Alabama Holocaust Commission’s condemnation that “using such rhetoric not only trivializes our past, as well as the victims of this genocide, but also cheapens our current political discourse and maintains a divisive rhetoric all too common at the present time.” We share the Commission’s appeal to encourage political leaders to accurately wrestle with the history of Nazism and fascism and avoid superficial and inaccurate interpretations that are manipulated for personal agendas.
Additionally, the Cohen Center stands against the growing number of incidents of antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, and misogyny. We also encourage those using or encountering hate symbols in public settings to recognize the responsibility to reject and not justify hate. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and stand in solidarity with the families of those targeted by recent attacks.
Statement on Tree of Life Synagogue
The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies strongly condemns the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and our deepest sympathies are extended to the victims and families of those attacked.
Once again antisemitism has fed the hatred of someone who has taken the lives of innocent people in our land. What has happened to our friends in the Pittsburgh Jewish community affects all of us. We grieve with them, though surely not with the depth of their pain or sorrow. However, we must do more than grieve. We must resist hating in return. At the same time, we will work to end the spread of the social poison that feeds such hatred. That process begins with being responsible with our language and working in solidarity with others. We will not give in to fear.
Proudly working with The Center for Peacebuilding CIM which seeks to rebuild trust and foster reconciliation among the people of Bosnia—Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, and others—as well as support peace processes in other countries that have suffered from violent conflict.