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Comparing Arizona to Nazi Germany is wrong, Jewish group tells L.A. politicians

May 13, 2010 |  6:29 am

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/images/2008/09/26/marvinhier.jpgIs Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration really comparable to Nazi Germany?

The comparison was made by some on the L.A. City Council on Wednesday as the body approved a boycott against Arizona. But one leading Jewish group says its "irresponsible" to liken the Arizona law to Nazi tactics.

“The Wiesenthal Center along with many other Americans expressed our opposition to the language of the Arizona immigration bill but it is inappropriate and irresponsible to link the bill to the actions of Nazi Germany,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center, said in a statement. “In a democracy, there is no need to demonize opponents, even when they are mistaken, to those whose actions led to history's most notorious crime."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2009/01/28/mahony.jpgOn Wednesday, council members compared Arizona’s action to Nazi Germany and the beginning of the Holocaust, as well as to the internment and deportation of Japanese Americans during World War II. A new Arizona law, which will take effect July 23, will require police to determine whether people they stop are in the country illegally, which critics say will lead to racial profiling.

In April, Cardinal Roger Mahony also compared Arizona's law to Nazism. "American people are fair-minded and respectful. I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation," Mahony wrote on his blog. 

A Wiesenthal Center official did agree with Mahony that the Arizona law is wrong. “This isn’t about immigration, it’s about discrimination,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the center, said in a statement. “We should not forget that we’re a nation of immigrants. This law makes no sense -- it guarantees and stigmatizes people of color as second-class citizens and exposes them to intimidation and the use of racial profiling as a weapon of bias."

-- Shelby Grad

Photos: Marvin Hier, Roger Mahony. L.A. Times files.

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