A new exhibit uses George Floyd to universalize the Holocaust

The exhibit features photographs taken in the wake of the May 25 killing of African-American George Floyd by the white, now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

A mural of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis is seen in Stevenson Square (photo credit: REUTERS)
A mural of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis is seen in Stevenson Square
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A new exhibit at a Holocaust museum in Maitland, Florida, is the latest among many attempts to universalize the genocide of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
The exhibit features photographs taken in the wake of the May 25 killing of African-American George Floyd by the white, now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose colleagues stood motionless as he cruelly suffocated the subdued 46-year-old.
Though Floyd, a petty burglar and ex-con, was in the process of being arrested for what a shopkeeper alleged was the passing of a counterfeit $20 bill, he was already lying face-down on the pavement in handcuffs when Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine full minutes.
Despite Floyd’s fentanyl and methamphetamine use – in addition to his suffering from arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, as well as having tested positive a few weeks earlier for the virus that causes COVID-19 – the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide as a result of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
Chauvin thus was charged with “second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree homicide.” He is currently out on bail and awaiting trial.
Floyd’s painful, unnecessary end sparked race riots and looting across the United States, while spurring protests around the world. Indeed, his memory was turned into a symbol of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. His last words – “I can’t breathe” – became a global logo, printed on T-shirts, painted on posters and chanted at demonstrations.
More importantly, Floyd’s murder was exploited by BLM and Antifa radicals to incite and gather momentum for the cancel-culture revolution they have been launching against America.
Rather than taking the opportunity of his death to highlight the fact that men and women in blue must be and are held accountable when they violate the law and professional code, the leaders and followers of the revolution abused it for political purposes. Much of their venom was directed at US President Donald Trump, of course.
But their assertions of “systemic racism” in the country’s populace and institutions were not born when Trump was elected in 2016. No, accusations about the evils of the “Home of the Free and the Brave” were rampant during former president Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure, too, as were riots and looting in the aftermath of every case of alleged police brutality against blacks – even when the police in question were themselves people of color.
It’s a safe bet, then, that none of this is going to disappear miraculously when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take the reins in January. If anything, the new administration in Washington will pander to and appease the cancel-culturalists who worked so hard to prevent Trump from winning another term in office.
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the incoming team places a bust of Floyd on a pedestal in the White House. After all, it’s one statue that the frenzied destroyers of monuments can be counted on not to deface or topple.
As poor a representation of actual American society as Floyd’s case is, however, it is utterly irrelevant to the Holocaust. And a center dedicated to commemorating the slaughter of six million Jews during World War II has no business devoting wall space to it.
But the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center (HMREC) boasts of the “inspiring and powerful” pictures of the location of and witnesses to Floyd’s killing.
Titled Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change, the display, the work of photographer John Nolter, contains 45 images and accompanying captions of people reacting to Floyd’s death. One of these is the father of African-American Michael Brown Jr., who was shot dead in 2014 during an altercation with Missouri policeman Darren Wilson.
THE INCIDENT (which, incidentally, occurred during Obama’s presidency) gave rise to what came to be called the “Ferguson riots.” That Wilson was cleared of all wrongdoing in the case has made no difference to those who continue to mourn Brown in poems and produce songs about “white privilege” against Wilson and others who share his skin pigment.
“You don’t just see this exhibit. You feel it,” said HMREC assistant executive director Lisa Bachman in a statement. “The expressions and thoughts of each person photographed tells a story that has a very universal message. It is one that can heal and bring us together. It shows us we are not alone in our thinking.”
Bachman may have been taken aback by the criticism lodged at the HMREC for housing the exhibit, which she considers to be conveying a lofty principle.
“The mission of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida is to use the history and lessons of the Holocaust to build just and caring communities free of antisemitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry,” she told the UK-based Jewish News on Wednesday. “We are educators and it is our duty to build bridges that move people from the unknown to understanding in an effort to build common humanity. Our goal is to make connections and create awareness for thoughts and ideas we may not have considered.”
She is either missing the point of Holocaust education or – worse – intends to shift its focus. Contrary to this ever-growing attitude among liberal Jews and closet Jew-haters, antisemitism is not merely one among many “forms of prejudice and bigotry.” It is particular and must be treated as such.
The Holocaust was the culmination of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” a plan for the annihilation of the Jews of Europe and beyond, conceived of by Adolf Hitler and executed by his Nazi apparatus. It was premeditated and systematic. There was nothing “universal” about it.
The attempt to cook up retroactive analogies to this horror by comparing it to social strife in today’s United States is nothing short of immoral. Holocaust denial is at least outlawed in many places, while considered in most to be both unforgivable and, indeed, antisemitic.
Interpreting the Holocaust through a universalist lens, on the other hand, is given a stamp of approval these days, even by a host of Jews and Jewish institutions tasked with teaching it. This is what makes the Florida exhibit and other projects like it so dangerous.
Bachman clearly doesn’t see it that way. Nor is it likely that the board of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center meant to minimize the mass murder of Jews by honoring Floyd. But juxtaposing the wrongful death of a lone criminal, whose law-enforcing killer was indicted for murder, with the purposeful and brutal extermination of millions of innocent men, women and children by a well-oiled governmental machine violates all standards of ethics.
“We are living in a time of unprecedented isolation and division,” Bachman explained in her defense of the exhibit. “We won’t always agree, but if we can listen to each other, we can be drivers for change and inspire our community. We encourage visiting the exhibit to see for yourself, to pause and reflect and help us encourage respect.”
Well, here’s a hot news flash for Bachman and her bosses: A site created to remind visitors why they must “never forget” the starvation, rape, torture and gassing of Europe’s Jews should not be using a pictorial rendition of an individual American’s fateful run-in with a bad cop as an “educational” tool. Shame on the heads of the Holocaust center for thinking otherwise.