I Was One of 36 Jews Arrested Protesting ICE. Never Again Is Now.

by <>Tae Phoenix

ďBut Daddy, why didnít anyone do anything? Didnít they know? Didnít they care?Ē

The first conversation I had with my father about 
the Holocaust is seared into my memory. I was 
maybe seven or eight when he explained to me that 
millions of people had been murdered because of 
their religion, where they came from, who they 
loved, or because they were disabled.

ďIt might have been because they didnít know,Ē he 
replied, ďor it might have been because they 
truly didnít care or they agreed with the Nazis. 
But I think for most people it was that things 
got worse over such a long period of time that 
they got used to it. It felt normal to them, and then it was too late.Ē

I was among the 
Jews arrested Sunday outside the ICE detention 
center in Elizabeth, New Jersey as part of the 
<>Never Again 
Action. We came together from all across the 
country - from California and Washington State, 
from Colorado and Missouri - to protest and put 
our bodies on the line because we see the same 
pattern my father described unfolding today.

Many people donít know what is happening.

Some people donít care or agree with this administrationís xenophobic agenda.

But most people simply havenít been trained to 
see the warning signs, and things are getting 
worse so slowly that they wonít notice until it is too late.

Unless we do something.

We Jews know in our ancestral memory what the 
precursors to ethnic cleansing look like. They 
look like roundups and mass deportations. They 
look like detention camps where ďundesirablesĒ 
are concentrated and segregated away from the 
general population ≠ also known as concentration 
camps. They look like 

They look like what is happening to undocumented 
people, asylum seekers, and refugees in America today. Itís really that simple.

And so I have a few questions for 
fellow Jews who claim that we have somehow 
diminished the term ďNever AgainĒ by using it to 
refer to the disaster unfolding before us:

Does it have to get to the point of medical 
experiments and mass graves, gas chambers and 
burning pits before you will compare it to the 
Holocaust? Do we have to let it get that bad 
before we learn the lessons of history and take action as God commands us?

Do you really believe, given the conditions in 
the camps and the 
with which many of the perpetrators are 
discussing the dehumanization of their victims, 
that these people are capable of checking 
themselves before it gets to that point?

There are many people in America today who still 
do not know what is being done in our names. But 
if we Jews all speak with one voice, from our 
ancestral experience, nobody will be able to say 
they didnít know, or that it crept up on them too slowly for them to notice.

We wonít be able to change the hearts and minds 
of those who truly do not care or who agree with 
the way things are unfolding; but we invite every 
decent person who takes the Holocaust seriously to get involved now.

Before itís too late.

Tae Phoenix is a singer-songwriter who uses music 
as a community organizing tool. She works with 
the Washington Poor Peopleís Campaign, Seattle 
Indivisible, and the Womenís March among others. 
Follow her on Twitter @taephoenix. To listen to 
her music and get involved, visit

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