To: Allan M. Holt, Sara J. Bloomfield, US Holocaust Memorial Council, Rep. Theodore Deutch (FL-22), Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27), Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Rep. David Kustoff (TN-8), Rep. Bryan Steil (WI-1), Sen. Tina Smith (MN-2), Sen. Mike Lee...

Remove Congressman Lee Zeldin from the US Holocaust Memorial Council

We are writing to ask for the removal of Congressman Lee Zeldin from the US Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington, D.C.. As a member of the USHMC, as a steward of our collective memory of atrocity, Lee Zeldin has a responsibility to work towards ensuring that identity-based hatred has no place in our society.

Representative Zeldin is failing in this primary responsibility.

His tepid statement about the domestic terrorism that took place in Charlottesville this weekend failed to call out Nazi and white nationalist movements. His statement, echoing remarks by the president, effectively puts Nazis and those opposing Nazis on equal footing, calling them both “extremes that try to tear us all apart.”

Zeldin’s remarks are a dog whistle by omission, and the Nazis are hearing that whistle loud and clear.

Scared Americans all over the country are relying on our leaders to call this out; to condemn identity-based hate in no uncertain terms. We are relying as well on institutions like the US Holocaust Memorial to uphold its mission; to remind us of what happens to a democratic country when hate is used as the fastest route to power. It is unacceptable to—implicitly, through silence, omission, and inaction—condone acts of hate while sitting on a board committed to protecting against them.

Representative Zeldin must be removed from the US Holocaust Memorial Council until he acts with the integrity that office demands by 1) demanding that Trump disavow Neo-Nazis, skinheads, the KKK, white nationalism, and fire White House staff who are allies to the Alt-Right, 2) demanding funding to fight white nationalism, 3) defunding Trump’s anti-immigrant budget proposals, and 4) protecting our immigrant friends and neighbors from deportation.

Why is this important?

As the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants I am appalled and scared at the failure of elected officials to condemn hate groups unequivocally. Our president uses his power to support and embolden white supremacists -- he speaks on their behalf; he hires them as his closest advisors. Lee Zeldin, while claiming to be a "proud Jew" and sitting on the US Holocaust Memorial Council, takes his every cue from the president. In the wake of Charlottesville, Zeldin delayed in calling white supremacist groups by name and still refuses to identify them as the cause of the violence, continuing to claim that both "sides" are to blame, even when one of those sides is Nazis! The Republican Jewish Coalition and the Rabbinical Council of America have rightly condemned the president for his lack of moral leadership. But not Zeldin. He stands by every one of our president's misguided twists and turns. In doing so, Zeldin is making America less safe for Jews, other marginalized groups, and those who are fighting to protect our Democracy and democratic values. We need the USHMC to stand up for what is right and fulfill its purpose to help ensure that "never again" is not just a slogan.