It was reported today that in the Rialto, California Unified School District, located outside Los Angeles, 8th grade students were given a writing assignment asking them to argue whether the Holocaust happened. The students were asked to write an essay on whether the Holocaust was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain." This was reported by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center said, "This assignment mistakenly provides moral equivalency between history and bigotry." What Rabbi Cooper failed to say and which he might have thought was, "What the f___ was this teacher or administrator thinking when they handed out this stupid, bigoted assignment?" One of the problems that we Jewish people have is that we always try to sound so damn smart instead of just saying what is on our mind.
Unlike the Jewish response in this case, the world came crashing down on Donald Sterling so swiftlybecause black people have learned that you can't stand for and remain silent over even the slightest perceived racist comments or gestures. I can't possibly tell you what the "moral equivalency between history and bigotry" even means and I'd consider myself a smart Jew. What I do understand is that my mother and her parents had to flee Germany in 1938 because her grandparents and cousins had already been shipped out to Auschwitz and they were next. My relatives were killed and my mother and grandparents survived because a distant cousin in Chicago allowed them to live with him.
Substitute "slavery" for "Holocaust" on the Rialto assignment sheet and the opposition voices would have been deafening. Part of the problem we Jews continue to have is that we let things happen to us. While "never again" is a catchy, tattoo-worthy slogan, I doubt whether most of my brethren would know how to protest or fight if the proverbial sh__ were to hit the fan. Instead, our spokesman spouts some highfalutin brainy reference that no one gets. Where is our Al Sharpton (like him or not)?
The Auschwitz Welcome Gate
To the Rialto School District Administrator who said Monday in a statement on its website that there was no offensive intent in the assignment, which was designed to "exercise the use of critical thinking skills," let me suggest the next entry on your students' syllabus: How about "Why diminishing the Holocaust in an inane assignment given by ignorant teachers is actually worse than what Donald Sterling said."
Moreover, my final questions, as a Jew with a minor voice of protest, are: Who is getting fired in Rialto for this? When will a Jew with a major voice emerge to respond to these blatant anti-Semitic incidents? And, last, when will "never again" or "never forget" actually start to mean something?
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