Pence blasts Ocasio-Cortez over Holocaust remarks

US Vice President: Freshman lawmaker's comparison of immigration facilities to concentration camps should be condemned by every American.

Ben Ariel ,

Mike Pence
Mike Pence

US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday condemned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for comparing immigration detention facilities to concentration camps during his address at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) summit in Washington, DC.

After describing being moved by a visit of his own to Auschwitz-Birkenau with his wife Karen, Pence lambasted the politicization of the legacy of the Holocaust, reported JTA.

“We must never allow” the suffering of those who died in the Holocaust “to be cheapened as a cliché to advance some left-wing political narrative,” he said, adding that it was an “outrage” when “the left and the media shamefully came to the defense” of Ocasio-Cortez.

“The Nazis took lives. American law enforcement saves lives everyday…This slander was an insult to the 6 million killed in the Holocaust, and it should be condemned by every American in every political party,” Pence added.

Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Democrat lawmaker from New York, caused an uproar after claiming on June 17 in an Instagram Live video that the United States “is running concentration camps on our southern border.”

Ocasio-Cortez's comments infuriated Republicans, including the party's third ranking congresswoman Liz Cheney, who urged Ocasio-Cortez to "spend just a few minutes learning some actual history" about the six million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust.

Several other Republicans weighed in with criticism, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who said that "comparing the men and women serving our country to concentration camp guards (does) the Congress and country a great disservice."

The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which represents over 1,000 Orthodox rabbis in the US, also blasted Ocasio-Cortez and accused her of "trivializing" the Holocaust.

Ocasio-Cortez has defended her use of the term concentration camp, citing experts including a rabbi who say there is a distinction between concentration camps run by Germany in the 1930s and the extermination camps, or death camps, that the Nazis operated beginning in 1941.

This was not the first time that Ocasio-Cortez has used the Holocaust in a controversial manner.

In April, she caused an uproar after she quoted a passage about the Holocaust to defend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who was criticized for downplaying the 9/11 attacks.

Also in April, Ocasio-Cortez said that cutting military and economic aid to Israel as a way to signal opposition to Israeli policies should be “on the table.”