“With the rise in anti-Semitism, racism and many other forms of hate, we know this exhibit is more important now than ever,” said Lisa Bachman, assistant director.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Lisa Bachman, assistant director of the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida, attempted to justify her museum’s George Floyd exhibit Sunday in a blog post published by Times of Israel.
When the Floyd exhibit opened last month, the museum became the target of widespread criticism, an occurrence that Bachman used as evidence of the exhibit’s appropriateness.
“The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida knows it’s doing something right when its work draws the ire of detractors,” Bachman said.
“When we bring in traveling exhibits to complement our permanent Holocaust exhibit, our goal is to identify the common thread that ties the past to the present,” she said.
Bachman said the museum seeks to “stimulate thinking about the nature of prejudice, bigotry, anti-Semitism, hate, and extremist ideologies that marginalizes people and leads to violence,” and that it wants to “ensure that what happened to the victims of the Holocaust doesn’t happen to others today or in the future.”
She mentioned the protests that erupted after Floyd’s death, saying, “Some may wonder if history’s worst atrocity might have been averted had there been similar widespread protests to the violence witnessed against Jews in Nazi Germany.”
“What would have happened if someone would have stood up and protested? What would have happened if someone created an art exhibit with messages suggesting we unite?” Bachman said.
“With the rise in anti-Semitism, racism and many other forms of hate, we know this exhibit is more important now than ever,” she said.
However, judging by the universally negative comments to Bachman’s post as of the time of this writing, the exhibit’s detractors were not persuaded.
David Bernstein, an author and law professor, said, “Here is the problem: even if one assumes that Holocaust museums should deal with racism more broadly, there is no evidence at this point that Floyd was the victim of racism, rather than of excessive force that could just as easily have been applied to a white victim.”
“Given the extent to which the Holocaust has been subject to phony claims of exaggeration and invention, Holocaust museums should be *especially* careful not to endorse speculative narratives about recent history that may prove to be false,” he said.
Many other commenters said they felt the exhibit was disrespectful and inappropriate.
Global Patriot Radio commented on the number of negative responses, saying, “The concerns articulated in the comment section are given in a respectful manner and worthy of an exchange of ideas by you. I look forward to reading what you have to say next.”
The exhibit has attracted so much negative attention that a separate Holocaust museum in Florida has mistakenly received some public criticism meant for the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida, located in near Orlando.
On November 23, the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg issued a statement clarifying that it is not affiliated with the Holocaust Memorial Resource Center of Florida.
“For decades, the Florida Holocaust Museum has honored the memory of millions of innocents who suffered or died in the Holocaust, and we believe no comparisons should be made between other historical or current events and the Holocaust,” the statement said.