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Tell the Holocaust Memorial Museum: Drop Elliott Abrams

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The petition to the Holocaust Memorial Museum reads:

"Remove Elliott Abrams from the Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience."

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    Tell the Holocaust Memorial Museum: Drop Elliott Abrams

    For years, the United States funded, trained and provided arms to Central American dictatorships and military groups that tortured and murdered thousands of innocent people. Elliott Abrams was a key architect of the United States' involvement. Today he is Trump's special envoy to Venezuela.

    It is terrifying to imagine that someone like Abrams again has the power to spark a civil war that would destroy the lives of millions. It is also outrageous that someone like Abrams would be honored in a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

    Since 2009, Abrams has served on the "Council of Conscience" at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.1 Abrams should never have been on the museum's council in the first place, and certainly not now when he is back in a position to threaten the lives of people in Latin America.

    Tell the Holocaust Memorial Museum: Drop Elliott Abrams.

    Working in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, Abrams helped lead and cover up some of the most inhumane acts of American foreign policy history in recent years. As an assistant secretary of state for Reagan, Abrams helped cover up the mass murder of over 800 villagers by a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army.2 For years he championed U.S. support for Guatemala's brutal dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt, whose death squads murdered entire villages with the aid of American arms and training.3 Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity for his efforts to exterminate indigenous Mayans in his country. 4

    Last month, a group of families of Holocaust victims and victims of Central American regimes wrote to the Holocaust Memorial Museum to ask that Abrams be removed from its "Council of Conscience."6 They reminded the museum of one its key values – preventing the erasure or denial of past genocides is a critical part of preventing genocides in the future.

    By ignoring Abrams' role in facilitating the systematic killing of thousands, the museum is helping to erase the significance of those deaths and ease the way for future crimes. Legitimizing Elliott Abrams and his legacy is what makes it possible for governments like Donald Trump's to hire him to continue inciting bloodshed in other countries.

    The Holocaust Memorial Museum's founding charter addresses the need for vigilance to prevent repeating the horrors of the past. Its Early Warning Project assesses the risk of mass atrocities in countries around the world.7 But the atrocities that Elliott Abrams helped to facilitate are well-documented. Honoring him contradicts everything that the museum represents, dishonors his victims and threatens the people of Venezuela today.

    Tell the Holocaust Memorial Museum: Drop Elliott Abrams.

    References:

    1. Sara Kershnar, "Drop Elliott Abrams: Survivors of Genocide & their Descendants demand that the United States Holocaust Memorial Council remove Abrams from their Committee on Conscience," Call to Conscience Committee, Feb. 19, 2019.
    2. Jon Schwarz, "Elliott Abrams, Trump’s Pick To Bring 'Democracy' To Venezuela, Has Spent His Life Crushing Democracy," The Intercept, Jan. 30, 2019.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Kershnar, "Drop Elliott Abrams: Survivors of Genocide & their Descendants demand that the United States Holocaust Memorial Council remove Abrams from their Committee on Conscience."
    6. Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, "Early Warning Project," accessed March 5, 2019.

    Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call