Rep. Dush, Jewish Community: Poor Judgment All Around
Rep. Cris Dush’s ill-advised remark to the House State Government Committee “claiming that Gov. Tom Wolf’s lack of transparency … on the state’s business waiver was akin to a Nazi tactic” was reprehensible (“Pa. Rep. ‘Nazi’ Comment Creates Uproar,” May 14). However, the incident has only tangential implications for the Jewish community and, as such, should not have elicited the ire of the coalition of Jewish organizations who issued a statement in protest.
Dush’s comment was politically provocative, an outrageous exaggeration and an example of what state Rep. Jared Solomon (in the words of Leo Strauss) called “reductio ad Hitlerum” — invalidating someone’s position by comparing it to the Nazis or Hitler. But Dush made no reference to the Holocaust or to Jews, and condemning his comments — as Arlene Fickler does — as “inflammatory and offensive language that diminishes the horrors of the Holocaust” is simply wrong. Of course, it “is absolutely unacceptable to compare the governor’s work … to the systemic murder of Jews by the Nazi regime.” But Dush did no such thing.
Dush should be chastised for drawing a grossly inaccurate analogy between Nazi suppression of information on the one hand, and the current policies of the Wolf administration on the other. But simply invoking the word “Nazi” does not in itself merit condemnation from the Jewish community.
Dush used poor judgment in the way he criticized the governor’s policy; Jews use poor judgment as well when they conflate any reference to Nazis as somehow referring to the Holocaust, and therefore Jewish victimization. State Rep. Kevin Boyle responded appropriately at the meeting by proclaiming, “Chairman, this is outrageous. Stop it with the Nazi references. It is offensive and wrong, stop this.”
Steven Chervin | Philadelphia
Dush’s Remarks Not Anti-Semitism
Isn’t there enough anti-Semitism going around that we Jews don’t have to claim it when it doesn’t occur?
Rep. Cris Dush (“Pa. Rep. ‘Nazi’ Comment Creates Uproar,” May 14) made a hyperbolically dumb remark for political and attention-seeking effect comparing the Nazis to something else. So what? Gentiles of all attitudes about Jews who already suffer from anti-Semitism and Holocaust fatigue will justifiably roll their eyes at this wolf-crying mole hole.
Jews should stop being Henny Pennys, concentrate on real anti-Semitism and stop claiming, “The Jews are falling!”
Jerry Axelrod | Huntingdon Valley
Reaction to Dush a Double Standard
I agree that Rep. Chris Dush’s comment (“Pa. Rep. ‘Nazi’ Comment Creates Uproar,” May 14) comparing Gov. Tom Wolf’s actions to Nazi tactics was “thoughtless and unacceptable,” in the words of the joint statement of four Pennsylvania Jewish Federations and the Anti-Defamation League.
But isn’t there a double standard here? Dush, who I never heard of and I suspect few others did, apologized. But when a much more prominent politician, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), recently compared Republicans who support President Trump to Nazis supporting Hitler, where was the outrage?
If Dush’s statement was unacceptable, so was Clyburn’s. If Jewish organizations, who say they speak for the Jewish community, care about not cheapening the memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazism, they would object to statements such as Clyburn’s as well.
It really dishonors those who died in the Holocaust to selectively call out Republican but not Democratic statements that, in the words of Arlene Fickler, “diminish the horrors of the Holocaust.”
Morris Olitsky | Havertown