SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Rabbi Robert Haas reacted Tuesday to word that Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had apologized for some remarks she made in reference to the Holocaust.
The representative said that being forced to wear a mask was like the start of the Holocaust. But Monday she apologized after going to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
“I think when it comes to the Holocaust museum that many are affected in some way,” said Haas. “It’s a very powerful lesson to learn. We have to realize that genocide is the worst contempt you can find (for others).”
Rabbi Haas said referencing the Holocaust in terms of grievances, including casual ones, is to dishonor the memory of millions who were killed.
“So I think people should use the Holocaust as a means to honor the dead and remember this is the worst of the worst, and it’s something we must prevent as opposed to comparing it to anything,” said Haas.
The rabbi at Mickve Israel said unfortunately, there are many who don’t understand the horrors of what happened to Jews and many others who were deemed “different.”
“The truth is that probably only a fraction of the world knows what happened,” he said.
“And I think it’s incumbent when you talk about the Holocaust for people to learn that’s why so many states have Holocaust curriculum. It’s not because people need to be supportive of the Jews, it’s because people need to understand that hate can take you into contempt,” said Rabbi Haas. “And contempt means I can look at somebody who’s a different color or different gender or from a different religion or from a different place and say, ‘You are not what I am, which means I can do anything I want to do you and it’s OK with God.'”
For those unaware of local history, the first Jewish settlers arrived in 1733. The Mickve Israel Synagogue is the third oldest in the U.S.
Rabbi Haas says the synagogue has a physical reminder of what can happen when hate speech turns violence.
“This is our Memorial Torah or our Holocaust Torah, that is a Torah that survived the war,” Haas told WSAV.
The Torah is from a destroyed building taken from during World War II in what was then Czechoslovakia.
“If we want to stop hate, if we want to stop genocide, if we want to stop anything that is terrible in this world, every generation has to continually remind itself,” said Haas.