The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday said that it is disturbed by the use of analogies to Nazis and the Holocaust in reaction to the recently-passed law in Arizona, which gives police the authority to detain people they suspect are illegal immigrants.

The signing of the Arizona immigration law released a flood of comparisons of the legislation to Nazi policies from elected officials, religious leaders, editorial cartoonists and others. Many have also compared Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to Adolf Hitler.

According to ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman: “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. Let's remember that the Nazi identity cards were part and parcel of a plan to force Jews into ghettos and for their ultimate deportation to extermination camps.”

The new immigration law in Arizona, signed last week, requires local and state police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. It also makes it a state crime to be in the US illegally. The strict new law led to outrage in the US, with many claiming that it will lead to racial profiling, and demands for a comprehensive immigration bill to be passed in Congress have been renewed.

“We are seeing these offensive and inappropriate Nazi and Holocaust comparisons come to the fore in the public debate once again,” Foxman continued. “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...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.”

Some high-profile examples of comparisons to the Nazis in recent days include Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, who said the legislation was “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.”

In New Jersey, an editorial cartoon in the Bergen Record portrayed Hitler with his infamous moustache rendered in the shape of the state of Arizona.

Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahony wrote on his blog: “I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”

“Comparisons to the Nazis may be politically expedient and serve an agenda of demonizing those who supported the bill, but in the end they do great damage to the memory of six million Jews and the millions of others and soldiers who fought to defeat Nazism,” Foxman said.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger