When Artist Jimmy Margulies reacted to Arizona's new immigration law, he drew Gov. Jan Brewer's state as the mustache of Hitler he did not expect the reaction of other Jewish Americans.
The Anti Defamation League (ADL) took issue with Margulies's imagery and it’s national director Abraham H. Foxman opined "We are seeing these offensive and inappropriate Nazi and Holocaust comparisons come to the fore in the public debate once again. We saw it in the health care debate, and now we are seeing it with Arizona,.. It is disturbing that in speaking out against the bill a number of individuals have taken to using Nazi comparisons, in describing the legislation as being reminiscent of Nazi policies that required Jews and others to carry identity cards, or in comparing the governor and other Arizona officials as being like Hitler,"
Foxman explained that: "No matter how odious, bigoted, biased and unconstitutional Arizona's new law may be, let's be clear that there is no comparison between the situation facing immigrants, legal or illegal, in Arizona and what happened in the Holocaust."
Speaking to Comic Riffs, a daily comics blog covering the world of comics, from strips to superheroes, Margulies clarified that his raising a Nazi analogy was appropriate to remember the memory of the Holocaust.
Margulies commented that '"[as] a Jew of Eastern European descent, I am well aware of the unique horror of the Nazi era. It is all the more important that I, and others of good conscience who are able to reach an audience, do so in the face of abhorrent laws such as Arizona's. I do not think it diminishes the memory of the Holocaust to point out that the law in Arizona is uncomfortably reminiscent of Germany's in targeting one or more minorities. Before the concentration camps, there were smaller measures enacted which set the stage for greater acts. "The Arizona law gives police too much power by casting as suspects anyone who looks to be Latino or foreign-born."
Margulies is not alone in his opinion. Baldemar Velasquez President,of FLOC (Alliance of Greater Toledo and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee of Toledo) said he's worried other states, including Ohio, will introduce "copycat bills….The wrong-headed people got their way and woe to those who pass unjust laws because the government and a majority of people can pass unjust laws," he said. "That's what they did during the civil rights movements like Jim Crow laws and that's what they did in Nazi Germany."
Former Toledo City Councilman Louis Escobar compared Arizona to Nazi Germany. "I am a second-generation American and I was elected by the people and yet I could go to the state of Arizona and a police officer would be in his right to ask that I prove that I am an American citizen," Mr. Escobar said after about 40 people marched in South Toledo at Broadway and Logan Street…. I would go to jail because I am not about to produce some papers," he said. "All I can think of is Nazi Germany. “
“When I heard about it, it reminded me of Nazi Germany," said Hispanic Federation President Lillian Rodríguez López. "It reminded me of South African apartheid."
Jewish Colorado Representative Democrat Jared Polis says Arizona is on its way to becoming a “police state” and its new immigration law is “reminiscent” of Nazi Germany.
“It is absolutely reminiscent of second class status of Jews in Germany prior to World War II when they had to have their papers with them at all times and were subject to routine inspections at the suspicion of being Jewish… I fear that Arizona is headed for a police state and it really underscores the need for immigration reform at the federal level to fix our system,” he said.
Polis pointed out he was not making a comparison of the Arizona law to the Holocaust but rather to the time before the war when Jews were forced to carry papers and identify themselves publicly as Jews. “I think it’s a very fair comparison and I hope that we’re not headed on the same trajectory that Nazi Germany was,” Polis sated. “But this was a very recent experience for Jewish Americans and Jews worldwide and it’s something that when we see similarities we start ringing alarm bells.”
What is feeding this fire is that Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce introduced the law. Pearce has been associated with local Neo-Nazi and John Birch types for many years. In 2006, he came under attack for speaking commendably of a 1950s federal deportation program called Operation Wetback, and for sending an e-mail message to his supporters that included an attachment from a white supremacist group.
The law originated with Kris Kobach, who is running for Secretary of State in Kansas. Kobach is also a proponent in the birther conspiracy that contends Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
Kobach is an attorney for Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the chameleon named organization Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR. As Rachel Maddow revealed in her show last week, the founder of FAIR is known racist.
Well perhaps, the Jimmy Margulies cartoon is not far off the mark.