Joint Statement from Jewish Community Partners, ADL, & Facing History and Ourselves
ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), Jewish Community Partners/Memphis Jewish Federation, and Facing History and Ourselves today issued the following joint statement in response to news reports regarding a Memphis area public school administrator’s social media comments.
During these challenging times of historic antisemitism, it is crucial that educators and community leaders recognize the significance of the Holocaust as the largest recorded genocide in modern history. Earlier this week, an assistant principal at Houston High School in Germantown, TN, posted on Facebook: “What’s the difference between vaccine papers and a yellow star? 82 years.”
The message comparing these dark chapters of our history to COVID-19 health guidelines to vaccinations trivializes the Holocaust in a way that deeply offends and discounts the pain and suffering of the Jewish community, and cheapens the memory of the millions killed by Nazis. There is simply no comparison between the systematic murder of over 13 million people, including six million Jews, and the efforts to save lives and keep communities safe amidst a raging global pandemic.
We appreciate the Germantown Municipal School District investigating this incident, look forward to the results of the investigation, and encourage all educators to exercise understanding and compassion as we all seek to emerge from this difficult time period while focusing on a safe return to school. We welcome the opportunity to engage with Houston High School and GMSD to educate leadership and students on the history of the Holocaust, as well as why such language creates pain in others.
Memphis Jewish Federation is the central neutral community convener in Jewish Memphis. Our ability to reach thousands of community members, unite different segments to tackle critical issues, and stand together for milestones and commemorations enables us to quickly and efficiently meet needs. Federation works with our strategic partners to monitor and combat local, national, and global anti-Semitism. Learn more at www.jcpmemphis.org.
ADL is a leading anti-hate organization that was founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry. Today, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur and continues to fight all forms of hate. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination, or hate. More information at www.adl.org.
Facing History and Ourselves uses the lessons of history to challenge teachers and students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Founded in 1976, we have a global network of over 350,000 educators. For more information visit www.facinghistory.org.