WASHINGTON DC—July 30, 2021 – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington is dismayed by yet another instance of a public figure making offensive remarks that minimize the Holocaust in what has become a sickening trend.
History teacher and candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates Julie Perry this week likened being a conservative in Virginia to being a Jew in Nazi Germany. Also this week, candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates Charles Russel Harper on Twitter compared yellow wristbands given to NFL players to signify their unvaccinated status to the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear by the Nazi regime.
These false analogies cheapen the memory of the most horrific genocide in modern history and are especially offensive to Jews in Greater Washington currently living through an alarming spike of hatred and antisemitism targeting our community.
As the regional leader in Holocaust remembrance and education, the JCRC works with Holocaust survivors frequently. We listen to their lived experiences, we honor the trauma they endured, and we can unequivocally state that there is no basis for comparing what they went through with any political or social debate in our region today. To suggest otherwise is an intentional distortion of reality that crosses all lines of decency.
This week’s incident demonstrates how critical it is that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), which employs Ms. Perry as a high school Social Studies teacher, mandate teacher training about antisemitism and the Jewish people and foster greater culture competency within FCPS. The JCRC strongly urges FCPS to partner with us and take necessary steps to ensure Northern Virginia’s children are learning history with accuracy and cultural sensitivity.
Ms. Perry acknowledged regret for her choice of words but did not offer an apology for the hurt she caused to the Jewish community. The JCRC stands ready to connect Ms. Perry or any other individual in our region to resources and educational opportunities to better understand the Holocaust and the impact of antisemitism today.