In a letter to the editor a reader asked if “Does ‘Never Again’ apply only to Jews?” (“Silence on border policies,” Dec. 12). The answer is a most emphatic “Yes!”
In what may come as a surprise to many people, the phrase “Never Again” was adopted as a slogan following the Holocaust, and was specifically intended to mean that Jews would “never again” be led like sheep to the slaughter. And once the State of Israel was established, “never again” would Jews be powerless.
I recognize that English is a living language, and that the meaning of words changes over time. However, the fact people have co-opted an emphatic slogan of Jews hoping to prevent another slaughter into meaning that no bad things should ever happen to anyone does not alter the original meaning of the phrase. While Judaism holds a delicate line between particularism and universalism, it should be recognized when a particular meaning has been universalized without permission.