Ala. Dems respond to governor’s Holocaust remembrance with death penalty protest

Graphic from Governor Kay Ivey’s tweet on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Alabama Democratic Party is facing calls to remove a sarcastic tweet in response to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s tweet marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Ivey, a Republican, tweeted on Jan 27 that “today, we remember the millions of lives lost to unfathomable hatred — mindful that antisemitism still tries to resurface in our world. To never again see such evil carry out, we will always continue to preserve the memory of this painful history.”

The Democratic tweet read “A man was gassed to death for 22 minutes Thursday with your permission but yes, tell us more about ‘never again seeing such evil carried out’.”

The state’s Democratic party was referring to the controversial execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58, who was convicted of killing Elizabeth Sennett, 45, in 1988. The victim’s son noted that Smith “had been incarcerated almost twice as long as I knew my mom,” the Associated Press reported.

Smith was executed on Jan. 25 using nitrogen gas “a first-of-its-kind method that once again placed the U.S. at the forefront of the debate over capital punishment,” the AP reported. “The state said the method would be humane, but critics called it cruel and experimental.”

Smith was one of two men convicted of the murder-for-hire of Sennett, who was stabbed 10 times. Her husband, a pastor, paid the two men $1,000 each, and killed himself when the investigation pointed in his direction. The other man convicted in the case was executed in 2010.

A 2022 attempt to execute Smith by lethal injection was called off because officials could not connect an IV line.

The Alabama Holocaust Education Center posted that it was “saddened” by the Alabama Democratic Party’s post in response to Ivey, “which draws a comparison between the execution of a convicted criminal and the Holocaust.”

The statement noted that it is increasingly popular to draw parallels between political or social opponents and institutions of Nazi Germany. “This trend is dangerous and disrespectful,” and “risks diminishing the historical reality of the Holocaust.”

The AHEC urged “thoughtful consideration when making historical comparisons, especially regarding the Holocaust” and “respectfully request” that the Democratic Party take down the post. As of Feb. 1, it was still on their timeline.

Dan Puckett, chair of the Alabama Holocaust Commission and author of “In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama’s Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust,” said “No matter your position on the death penalty, comparing the execution of a convicted murderer with the mass murder of millions of innocence victims of the Holocaust is a breathtakingly bad take. Leave politics out of this and delete your tweet.”

Conversely, L’Chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty, which had been actively protesting the execution and noting the timing of gassing an inmate close to Holocaust Remembrance Day, responded to the Democratic post with “Amein!”

“The Alabama Democrats’ social media has a history of trying to compare Republicans to Nazis,” reported the Alabama-based Yellowhammer News. “Late last year they tried to say U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) was acting like a Nazi.”

Last November, the Alabama Democrats posted that Tuberville was speaking in code, that “‘Wokeness’ refers to a military that has black, brown, red, yellow, and female leaders. He prefers his military to look like Nazi Germany’s Third Reich. Say what you mean.”

The Anti-Defamation League criticized Alabama Democrats at the time for the comparison. “Say what you will about another person’s politics, but drawing Hitler and Nazi comparisons – thereby trivializing the Holocaust – is not the answer.”

On Dec. 19, the Democrats posted a Rolling Stone article about Trump saying that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America, and stated the criticism of their tweet about Tuberville was “ironic… We sleepwalk into authoritarianism by being afraid to call this othering rhetoric what it is.”

In addition to the Democratic Party tweet Ivey’s post drew a wide range of responses. One came from Jill Friedman, who says she is a native New Yorker who moved to Oakland, Calif, then to Montgomery. She stated that “Alabama carries out such evil just 2 nights ago. Remember? Y’all gassed a man to death. Never Again except in Alabama. And Palestine.”

The responses also included predictable antisemitic posts. One tweet read “Jewish power rules over us, working hard every day to White Erase us. We need White Identity Politics in order to save us.”

Another post read “You know as well as the rest of us that they brought the antisemitism on themselves! Every country they have been in, they have all but destroyed as they are doing to the USA as we type. You know they are all dual citizens.”

One charged that Alabama is “currently funding genocide with Alabama tax dollars through Israeli bonds. Signed Israel ‘oath’ pledge, which is treason. Allowing Chemtrails over Alabama poisoning the air, water, land. Staunchly supporting the colonization of the only nation that allowed the Zionist state in.”

(From SJL and JNS reports)