A fringe element within the Jewish community uses language and imagery stolen from classical anti-Semitic tropes, sides publicly with declared enemies of the Jewish people, and clumsily but intentionally wields their Judaism as a weapon against the rest of us.
I don’t like using Holocaust comparisons or terminology to describe events or people today. The evil visited on European Jewry in those years stands alone in human history, and especially as its living memory fades into shadow, we lessen its horror by co-opting its moral authority for our transient arguments. Thanks to Godwin’s law and associated corollaries, it’s also a bad way to win an argument. So I don’t throw around the term “Nazi” or label people I don’t like—no matter how awful they are—“Hitler.”
Thankfully, there’s only been one Hitler.
Another term I dislike is “kapo.” I see it often on social media, usually used by Jews with whom I agree to describe Jews with whom I disagree. The term refers to Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps who carried out daily administrative or policing functions with varying levels of enjoyment, often in exchange for preferential treatment. Whether or not it should be, the term is brutally contemptuous—lower than a traitor, the worst thing you can call a Jew. I never use it. I squirm when I see it used.
And yet, there exists today a fringe element within the Jewish community that willingly engages in conduct that aids and comforts some of the world’s most vicious anti-Semites. They use language and imagery stolen from classical anti-Semitic tropes, side publicly with declared enemies of the Jewish people, and clumsily but intentionally wield their Judaism as a weapon against the rest of us.