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Fed up with watching right-wingers equate Obama's health care reforms with Nazism, Santa Cruz author and translator Daniela Hurezanu asks the left: Where is your rage?

By Daniela Hurezanu

IF YOU HAVE BEEN watching the health care "debate" you must be aware that it has turned into a grotesque contest on who can come up with the most outrageous Nazi comparison. This is not the first time, of course, that Hitler and Nazism have been used as props by those who, out of arguments, want to convince the other party that they are right. I used to just shrug my shoulders when faced with such people, but this time it's different. Because now we are not dealing with some "fringe elements"--now we are dealing with a movement that is supported by the second most important party in this country, the GOP.

We have seen for weeks now gatherings of dozens or even hundreds of people who voice their opposition to health care reform proudly sporting Swastikas and portraits in which the president is compared to Hitler. It is true that during the demonstrations against the Iraq war there were protesters who compared Bush to Hitler too, but they were never supported by the Democratic Party and these comparisons were sporadic, while the Obama-Hitler-Nazism comparison has become so common it is now part of our daily political landscape. I don't know about you, but when I hear members of the Republican Party talk about "death panels" and compare government-sponsored health care with concentration camps, I feel disgust and shame for belonging to this society.

The ideological confusion and moral perversity of the people so fond of the Nazi comparisons was revealed most recently in a video posted on Aug. 18 on Huffington Post. In this video, an Israeli man makes a passionate defense of government-sponsored health care (which apparently they have in Israel) and a woman with a face distorted by rage answers him by yelling "Heil Hitler!" Yes, a woman who was, like the other town hall protesters, comparing Obama to Hitler. This reminds me of the white supremacist who went on a killing rampage in the Holocaust museum, and in whose car the police found a note threatening Obama because the latter is a "friend of the Jews." How did Fox News cover this? Well, this poor man was just under stress because he was sick of Obama's political correctness, and the killings in the Holocaust museum are just a symptom of a frustrated population. And by the way, the Fox anchors continued, it is "well known" that the Nazis were leftists and they loved communists like Obama.

These are not just sporadic manifestations of some fringe elements. These are TV and radio channels followed by millions of people and supported by members of the United States Congress and Senate. Therefore I am asking you: Where is your rage? Where is the indignation of the Left? Where is the indignation of the Jewish community whose past is used in such a shameless way? How long are you willing to tolerate this Nazi nonsense that has replaced what was supposed to be a debate on health care? In Europe, where the trivialization of Nazism is prosecuted, these people would be at least fined, and some of the media commentators would be prosecuted for incitement to violence.

It is a moral duty of the Jewish community to take a strong stand against this insanity. Please write to the Anti-Defamation League and ask them to unambiguously condemn these comparisons every time they are made! Ask them to demand the same thing from the GOP!

Daniela Hurezanu is a writer and translator who lives in Santa Cruz.

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