Akaka Debate: Race-Based Personal Attack by State Attorney General Was Out of Place

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I hope every Hawaii and U.S. citizen watched Tuesday’s Akaka bill debate or
a rerun because I believe no prior presentation by either side so clearly
demonstrates the future effect of the bill on Hawaii’s local culture of
mutual respect.

For me, the defining moment was the response by Gov. Lingle’s attorney
general, Mark Bennett, to the proposition that annexation respected individual land
ownership and secured civil rights.


His was not a factual rebuttal, but a race-dependent personal attack, the
likes of which belong nowhere in America, let alone Hawaii. Specifically,
the attorney general first implied equivalence between America’s treatment
of its newest citizens and the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in the Holocaust.
Then he accused Bruce Fein, a Jew, of being like the people who deny the
Holocaust happened.

If the fight over the enormous wealth bestowed by the Akaka bill can rob the
attorney general of the sense and the sensibility required of his position
and persuaded him to launch such an offensive and disrespectful personal
attack in Hawaii, can you imagine what else it can do to Hawaii’s local
culture? Like the loss of civility already echoed throughout the rest of the

Trivializing the Holocaust in this way also helps the “deniers” convert the
young. The attorney general arguing the Holocaust was equivalent of
annexation makes the young easily persuaded the stories of unbelievable
horrors must then be false. Please, not in Hawaii.

”’George Berish is a resident of Honolulu.”’

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