Metrofocus: April 28, 2022

The controversial lifting of the federal mask mandate for travel has led to some of the most confusing moments of the pandemic and to the pressing question everyone wants answered- Are you safe if you’re the only one masking up? Tonight we’ll delve into the science of personal protection and what medical advice you should actually listen to. Plus we’ll tackle the tough question surrounding the controversial ruling. Was the move a play of politics over public health? New York Times health reporter Knvul Sheikh, who writes for the paper’s award-winning consumer health site Well joins us to answer the questions you have and those you may not even know you should be asking. 

Tonight, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we take you back to the New York City based Claims Conference’s global campaign led by survivors from across the city and the world to spotlight how the Holocaust began with words before actions and the creation of camps. In conjunction with our Exploring Hate Initiative Gideon Taylor, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who led the ADL for nearly three decades and is currently the National Director of Holocaust Initiatives at the Met Council join us to educate the tri-state after their survey found that despite being home to a large Jewish population, New York has some of the lowest knowledge of the Holocaust.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, LIFE AFTER THE LIFTING OF THE FEDERAL MASK MANDATE.

HOW SAFE ARE YOU ON A PLANE, TRAIN, OR BUS?

AND COULD MASKS MAKE A COMEBACK IF THE WHITE HOUSE WINS IN COURT?

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

THE LIFTING OF THE FEDERAL MASK MANDATE FOR TRAVEL HAS LED TO SOME OF THE MOST CONFUSING MOMENTS OF THE PANDEMIC.

AND TONIGHT, WE'VE GOT SOME ANSWERS TO YOUR MOST PRESSING QUESTIONS.

THIS MONTH'S DECISION BY A FLORIDA FEDERAL JUDGE APPOINTED BY FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP LEFT MANY NEW YORKERS WONDERING IF POLITICS WERE PRIORITIZED OVER PUBLIC HEALTH.

SO, AS THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT APPEALS TO CASE, WILL THE MASK MANDATE INDEED MAKE SOME TYPE OF A COMEBACK?

HOW SAFE ARE YOU IF YOUR MASKED ON A PLANE OR A SUBWAY, BUT OTHERS ARE NOT?

AND WHERE DO YOU STILL NEED TO MASK UP, AND WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BEST PROTECTION YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES?

WELL, FOR ANSWERS TO SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME 'NEW YORK TIMES' HEALTH REPORTER, WHO WRITES FOR 'WELL', THE 'TIMES'' AWARD WINNING HEALTH WEBSITE.

WELCOME TO YOU.

THANKS FOR JOINsING US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

LET'S START IF WE CAN AS IF THIS IS A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION.

YOU'RE THE RIGHT PERSON FOR US TO TALK TO TODAY.

LET'S START WITH WHAT I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, AND THAT WAS A DECISION BY A FEDERAL JUDGE IN FLORIDA.

MANY PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED AND CONFUSED BY ALL OF THAT, SO GIVE US A QUICK SYNOPSIS, IF YOU WILL, AS TO WHAT WAS THE BASIS FOR THAT JUDGE'S DECISION.

RIGHT, SO THE JUDGE BASICALLY RULED THAT THE CDC HAD OVERREACHED IN ITS MASK MANDATE, AND THAT IT -- THE AGENCY DID NOT HAVE TO AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE THAT MANDATE THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY AND ESPECIALLY ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND THAT IT WAS UP TO INDIVIDUAL AIRLINES, FOR EXAMPLE, OR INDIVIDUAL COMPANIES, TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO HAVE A MASK MANDATE.

NOW, I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION THAT THE ADMINISTRATION, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, HAD DECIDED TO APPEAL THIS DECISION, AND WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT IT -- AND YOU KNOW THIS, BUT FOR OUR VIEWER WHO IS MIGHT NOT KNOW IT, IT'S A FEDERAL TRIAL JUDGE.

GENERALLY SPEAKING, A FEDERAL TRIAL JUDGE'S DECISION IS NOT BOUND BY ANY OTHER COURT.

A JUDGE IN A NEXT DOOR COURTROOM COULD RULE DIFFERENTLY.

THIS JUDGE SAID THIS WOULD BE APPLIED ACROSS THE NATION FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.

THE QUESTION IS AND WAS INITIALLY, WOULD THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT GO AHEAD AND APPEAL THIS SINCE TECHNICALLY IT ONLY APPLIES TO THIS ONE CASE?

THEY DECIDED TO APPEAL IT.

WHY?

WELL, THE INTERESTING THING IS THEY ACTUALLY DIDN'T APPEAL IT RIGHT AWAY.

SO, THAT HAS ALSO RAISED A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS IN AND OF ITSELF AS TO WHY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WAITED A COUPLE DAYS.

AND A COUPLE OF MY COLLEAGUES AT THE 'TIMES,' FOR EXAMPLE, HAVE WRITTEN NEWS ANALYSIS ABOUT THIS TOPIC, AND THE GENERAL IDEA IS THAT IN APPEALING THE MASK MANDATE OR THIS JUDGE'S RULING, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IS TRYING TO REINSTATE THE CDC'S POWER TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND TO PROTECT US IN ANY FUTURE PANDEMIC, FOR EXAMPLE.

BUT THEY DIDN'T GO AHEAD WITH AN EMERGENCY STAY, WHICH COULD HAVE BASICALLY ALLOWED THE MASK MANDATE TO STILL STAND.

WHAT THEY'RE DOING INSTEAD WITH THIS APPEAL COULD POTENTIALLY GET A MASK MANDATE BACK ON THE TABLE, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THE MAIN GOAL IS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE CDC STILL HAS THE POWER TO PROTECT US IN THE FUTURE, WHETHER OR NOT MASK MANDATES COME BACK.

ALL RIGHT, SO THEY'RE LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE AND MAINTAINING THAT POWER.

AND CERTAINLY IN THE MINDS OF THE PUBLIC, I THINK, THE LEGITIMACY OF THE POWER, AS YOU MENTIONED.

SO WHAT, AGAIN, ARE YOUR SOURCES SAYING TO YOU ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THIS, THE FACT THAT THIS HAS BEEN LIFTED NOW IN TERMS OF -- THE FEDERAL MANDATE HAS BEEN LIFT IN THE TERMS OF TRAVEL.

WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING TO YOU ABOUT WHAT IMPACT THAT MIGHT HAVE ON THE PANDEMIC ITSELF?

RIGHT.

SO A LOT OF PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS ARE VERY CONCERNED, ESPECIALLY PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN TRACKING THE CORONAVIRUS AND DOCTORS WHO HAVE BEEN TREATING PATIENTS WHO HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS.

THEY'RE ALL STILL VERY CONCERNED THAT MASK MANDATES HAVE BEEN DROPPED AND A LOT OF OTHER SAFETY MEASURES ARE ALSO SLOWLY GOING AWAY.

BUT THE VIRUS IS STILL HERE, AND THE VIRUS IS STILL BEING TRANSMITTED, AND IN FACT, THE NEAR VARIANTS, LIKE THE BA.2 PARENT, WHICH IS THE DOMINANT VERSION OF THE OMICRON VIRUS RIGHT NOW IN THE UNITED STATES, THAT IS MORE INFECTIOUS, IN FACT, THAN PREVIOUS VARIANTS.

SO THE -- IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT MASKS HAVE BECOME SO POLITICIZED, BECAUSE THE SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS ARE STILL SAYING THAT WE NEED TO HAVE SOME OF THESE PROTECTIONS, OTHERWISE THE VIRUS WILL CONTINUE SPREADING.

SO IF SOMEBODY'S WATCHING THIS AND SAYING, I'M SCHEDULED TO GET ON A PLANE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.

AND IF IT APPEARS MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE PEOPLE ON THE PLANE ARE GOING TO BE WEARING MASKS BUT I KIND OF WOULD LIKE TO WEAR ONE, WHAT'S THE ANSWER AS TO WHAT SORT OF BENEFIT IF YOU CAN GET IF YOU'RE THE ONLY PERSON IN A ROOM OR ON A PLANE, BUT YOU ARE WEARING A GOOD QUALITY MASK?

RIGHT.

SO THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IF YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WEARING A MASK, YOU'RE STILL PROTECTED.

OBVIOUSLY THE IDEAL SITUATION WOULD BE THAT OTHER PEOPLE AROUND YOU ARE ALSO WEARING A MASK.

THAT INCREASES YOUR PROTECTION.

BUT IF YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE IN THE ROOM OR ON AN AIRPLANE WEARING A MASK, YOU ARE STILL PROTECTED, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE WEARING SOMETHING THAT'S HIGH QUALITY, LIKE A MEDICAL GRADE N-95, KN-95, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

AND OFFICIAL IT'S WELL FITTED ON YOUR FACE.

YOU STILL REALLY LOWER YOUR RISK OF INFECTION BY WEARING ONE.

AND THERE ARE STUDIES SHOWING FROM EARLY ON IN THE PANDEMIC, BOTH IN REAL LIFE SITUATIONS, WHERE ONLY A FEW PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WEARING MASKS, THEY HAVE NOT GOTTEN INFECTED IN BIG SPREADER EVENTS.

AND ALSO IN LABORATORY STUDIES, SCIENTISTS HAVE FOUND THAT A MASK CAN STILL LOWER YOUR RISK OF INFECTION BY QUITE A LOT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE NEW YORK CITY AREA, PEOPLE WHO ARE COMMUTERS OR TRAVELING.

WHAT NOW RULES ARE IN PLACE?

WE HAVE SUBWAYS, AMTRAK, NEW JERSEY TRANSMIT, METRO NORTH.

WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RULES STILL IN PLACE THERE?

FOR MOST OF THE NEW YORK METRO AREA, THE MASK MANDATE IS STILL IN PLACE.

AND A LOT OF CITIES HAVE STILL REQUIRED MASKS ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION EVEN THOUGH THIS FEDERAL MANDATE IS KIND OF IN QUESTION RIGHT NOW.

SO, FOR MOST NEW YORKERS, YOU STILL NEED TO WEAR A MASK IF YOU'RE GETTING ON THE SUBWAY, IF YOU'RE GETTING ON A BUS, STUFF LIKE THAT.

AND IF YOU CAN WEAR AN N-95 OR KN-95 LIKE I SAID EARLIER, THAT'S EVEN BETTER.

THERE ARE ALSO OTHER WAYS THAT YOU CAN STILL PROTECT YOURSELF.

YEAH, TALK ABOUT THAT FOR ME.

LET'S SAY YOU'RE SOMEBODY WHO'S IMMUNOCOMPROMISED OR UNDERSTANDABLY CONCERN ABOUT YOUR CONDITION.

WHAT OTHER THINGS CAN YOU DO IN TERMS OF THESE VARIETY TRAVEL MODES WE'VE TALKED ABOUT TO PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF?

RIGHT.

SO, THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF IS ACTUALLY TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE VACCINATED AND THAT YOU ARE UP TO DATE ON BOOSTERS.

BECAUSE THAT IS STILL ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GETTING AN INFECTION OR EVEN IF YOU DO HAVE A BREAKTHROUGH INFECTION TO NOT HAVE THAT BE A SEVERE CASE.

SO YOU'RE STILL PROTECTING YOURSELF A LOT BY GETTING VACCINATED, AND YOU CAN OBVIOUSLY CONTINUE TO SOCIAL DISTANCE WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

IF YOU ARE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED OR IF YOU HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO ARE HIGH RISK -- YOUNG CHILDREN, FOR EXAMPLE, OR ELDERS AT HOME -- IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO STILL WEAR A MASK IN INDOOR LOCATIONS AND ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

IN SOME CASES, YOU MIGHT EVEN BE ABLE TO, FOR EXAMPLE, OPEN WINDOWS ON A BUS OR --

I WAS GOING ASK YOU ABOUT THAT.

YOU GOT ME NICELY TO MY NEXT QUESTION, WHICH IS THE NOTION OF VENTILATION, WHICH AT THE BEGIN OF THIS DIDN'T SEEM TO BE SOMETHING THAT GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION, BUT WE'VE SEEN MORE AND MORE EXPERTS FOCUSING ON THAT.

WHY?

WHAT'S THE SIGNIFICANT OF VENTILATION?

WELL, WE'VE UNDERSTOOD FROM NEWER RESEARCH THAT THE VIRUS CAN BE SPREAD THROUGH AEROSOLS, IN THE AIR.

SO HAVING BETTER VENTILATION BASICALLY REDUCES YOUR RISK BY HAVING THE VIRUS SPREAD OUT MORE SO YOU'RE LESS LIKELY TO COME IN CONTACT WITH IT.

AND OPENING WINDOWS IS A GREAT WAY, WHETHER IT'S IN A CAR, ON A BUS, IN YOUR OFFICE OR SCHOOL.

HAVING MORE VENTILATION WILL MEAN MORE FRESH AIR AND LESS LIKELY VIRUS IN THAT AIR THAT YOU'RE BREATHING.

GOT ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF LEFT HERE.

SO I AM SURE, GIVEN WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING, WHEREVER YOU GO, PEOPLE ARE STOPPING YOU SAYING, HEY, I GOT A QUESTION FOR YOU.

IF SOMEBODY SAYS TO YOU, ALL RIGHT, WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW, WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OR THINGS FOR US TO BE DOING HERE TO PROTECT OURSELVES?

WHAT SORT OF ANSWER WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?

WELL, I WOULD SAY KIND OF THE SAME COUPLE OF THINGS THAT PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN SAYING FROM THE BEGINNING.

WHICH IS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE VACCINATED AND THAT YOU ARE UP TO DATE ON BOOSTERS.

SOME PEOPLE ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SECOND BOOSTERS NOW.

I GOT MINE.

MY WIFE AND I GOT ELIGIBLE, WE GOT IT RIGHT AWAY.

YEAH.

AND IMMUNOCOMPROMISED PEOPLE ARE ALSO ELIGIBLE FOR ANOTHER BOOSTER, SO THAT'S ANOTHER THING THAT YOU CAN DO.

YOU CAN GET A HOLD OF GOOD QUALITY MASKS TO WEAR FOR YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, ESPECIALLY INDOORS.

IF YOU ARE IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT, YOU CAN ASK ABOUT BETTER VENTILATION, OR IF YOU'RE ON A PLANE, SIT -- AIR ON FULL BLAST.

WE COULD TALK TO YOU A LOT BECAUSE YOU'RE A WEALTH OF INFORMATION, BUT WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US TODAY AND PROVIDING GUIDANCE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

WE'LL TALK WITH YOU DOWN THE ROAD.

YOU BE WELL.

> WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

FOR DECADES, HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS HAVE PLEADED WITH THE WORLD TO NEVER FORGET TO ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST THEM BY THE NAZIS.

SOME 6 MILLION JEWS WERE MURDERED DURING ONE OF THE MOST HORRIFIC ACTS OF GENOCIDE IN RECORDED HISTORY.

AND OVER 75 YEARS LATER, SURVIVORS ARE STILL REMEMBERING THOSE WHO WERE LOST AND STILL FIGHTING TO ENSURE THAT HISTORY DOES NOT REPEAT ITSELF.

TONIGHT WE COMMEMORATE HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY BY SPOTLIGHTING A NEW SURVIVOR LED EDUCATION CAMPAIGN CALLED 'IT STARTED WITH W WORDS'. HERE'S A LOOK.

THE HOLOCAUST STARTED WITH WORDS AND ABUSE, AND IT ENDED UP WITH THE GAS CHAMBERS.

IT STARTED WITH WORDS.

THE HOLOCAUST STARTED WITH WORDS.

THE CREMATORIUM, GAS CHAMBERS IN AUSCHWITZ AND ELSEWHERE, DID NOT BEGIN WITH BRICKS.

THEY BEGAN WITH WORDS.

EVIL WORDS, HATEFUL WORDS, ANTI-SEMITIC WORDS.

THEY WERE WORDS LIKE DIRTY JEW.

AND THEN THREATS -- WE WILL KILL YOU.

WE'LL ELIMINATE YOU ALL.

THEY CALLED US DIRTY JEW, BECAUSE THEY CONSIDERED US SUBHUMAN.

WE WERE A NORMAL JEWISH FAMILY, BUT IMMEDIATELY THE POPULATION TURNED AGAINST US.

THE HOLOCAUST STARTED WITH WORDS.

IT STARTED WITH WORDS.

THE HOLOCAUST STARTED WITH THREATS, RESTRICTIONS, AND WORDS.

I'M REMINDED OF IT EVERY DAY, BECAUSE WHEN I TAKE A SHOWER IN THE MORNING AND I SEE THE MY TATTOO, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGET.

IN OUR TRADITION, WE KNOW THAT WORDS CAN KILL.

AND JOINING US NOW, AS PART OF OUR EXPLORING HATE INITIATIVE ON THE INTERSECTION OF ANTI-SEMITISM, RACISM, AND EXTREMISM IN AMERICA ARE GIDEON TAYLOR, PRESIDENT OF THE NONPROFIT CONFERENCE ON JEWISH MATERIAL CLAIMS AGAINST GERMANY, WHICH COORDINATED THE NEW EDUCATION CAMPAIGN, AND ABE FOXMAN, WHO LED THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE FOR NEARLY THREE DECADES AND IS NOW THE DIRECTOR OF HOLOCAUST INITIATIVES AT THE MET COUNCIL.

GABE, LET ME START WITH YOU.

I MEAN GIDEON.

TALK ABOUT IT STARTED WITH WORDS THE, CAMPAIGN, WHY AND HOW IT GOT STARTED.

FOR US, YOU KNOW, WE'VE SEEN FROM STUDIES THAT WE HAVE DONE THAT AS TIME HAS PASSED SINCE THE HOLOCAUST, THERE IS LESS AND LESS UNDERSTANDING, PARTICULARLY BY A YOUNGER GENERATION, OF WHAT HAPPENED.

AND THERE IS UNFORTUNATELY FEWER AND FEWER HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TO TELL STORIES WITH THEIR OWN WORDS, AND THAT'S WHAT LED US TO START THIS CAMPAIGN, WHICH IS TO GIVE SURVIVORS A VOICE TO AMPLIFY THAT VOICE, TO EXPLAIN NOT JUST WHAT HAPPENED, BUT HOW IT HAPPENED, HOW IT STARTED, AND THE CAMPAIGN DESCRIPTION KIND OF SAYS IT ALL.

IT DIDN'T START WITH CONCENTRATION CAMPS, GHETTOS AND DEPORTATIONS, DIDN'T START WITH MASS ATROCITIES.

IT STARTED WITH SMALL THINGS, WITH WORDS.

THAT'S THE MESSAGE WE WANTED TO GET ACROSS.

BY THE WAY, SOMETHING ELSE YOU DID LAST FALL WAS A 50-STATE SURVEY THAT I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT ABOUT HOLOCAUST KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE YOUNG.

WE'LL GET THO THAT IN A SECOND.

ABE, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET IN THE CAMPAIGN?

WE SAW YOU'RE ONE OF THE PARTICIPANT SURVIVORS IN THE VIDEOS OF THE CAMPAIGN.

BECAUSE I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO RAISE THE ISSUE.

JEWISH TRADITION TEACHES US THAT LIFE AND DEATH ISN'T A POWER OF THE TONGUE.

PRAY THREE TIMES A DAY, ASK THE AL MIGHTY TO HELP THEM SPEAK NO EVIL.

YOM YOM KIPPUR, WE ASK FOR ATONEMENT FOR WORDS THAT COME OUT OF OUR MOUTH.

I UNDERSTAND WHAT WORDS CAN DO, WHAT DEEDS CAN DO.

I SURVIVED NOT BECAUSE OF WORDS BUT BECAUSE OF DEEDS SOME TO RAISE MY VOICE, HOPEFULLY AS A SURVIVE, HAS A LEVEL OF CREDIBILITY WHICH OTHERS MAY NOT HAVE.

AND WHEN ASKED I SAID, ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY.

GIDEON, THIS CAMPAIGN, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN, IS GOING TO BE MOSTLY CARRIED OUT THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA.

IS THAT RIGHT?

IF SO, WHY?

YOU KNOW, WHAT WE'VE SEEN IS JUST LIKE THE WORLD HAS CHANGED IN TERMS OF HOW PEOPLE CONSUME AND HEAR INFORMATION, PARTICULARLY YOUNGER GENERATION, SO IT IS ABOUT HOLOCAUST EDUCATION AND UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HOLOCAUST.

MORE AND MORE COMMUNICATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IS FELT AND LEARNED THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA, AND IF WE WANT TO GET THAT MESSAGE ACROSS AND WE WANT THOSE VOICES HEARD, THEN WE HAVE TO DO IT WHERE PEOPLE ARE.

WE HAVE TO MEET PEOPLE IN THE PLACE WHERE THEY EXIST AND WHERE THEY HEAR THINGS AND WHERE THEY LEARN ABOUT HISTORY AND ABOUT ACTIONS AND ABOUT WHAT'S IMPORTANT.

SO THAT'S WHY WE CHOSE SOCIAL MEDIA AS THE VENUE TO GET THIS MESSAGE ACROSS, FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR IT AND UNDERSTAND IT, AND SOCIAL MEDIA, THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT.

GO AHEAD, ABE, I'M SORRY.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTERNET IS BOTH THINGS.

ON THE ONE HAND, IT'S A PLATFORM FOR EDUCATION, INFORMATION, INTERACTION.

BUT STATEMENT IT'S ALSO A SUPERHIGHWAY, IF YOU WILL, FOR BIGOTRY AND FOR PREJUDICE.

AND TODAY IN THANANOSECONDS YOUN COMMUNICATE WORDS OF HATE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA IN WAYS WE COULD HAVE NEVER IMAGINED.

SO TO BE ABLE TO CAN A CAMPAIGN, WHICH EXPOSES THE EVIL OF EVIL WORDS AND WHAT THEY CAN DO, IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DO IT ON THE PLATFORM WHERE THE BIGOTRY ALSO IS THERE, AND THERE IN HEAVY DOSES.

SO, ABE, LET ME ASK YOU THIS.

WHAT THE CAMPAIGN DOES SO WELL IS MAKE THE CONNECTION, SHOW THE LINK BETWEEN HATEFUL WORDS AND HATEFUL DEEDS.

AS HISTORY UNFORTUNATELY SHOWED US, HATEFUL WORDS WILL INEVITABLY LEAD TO HATEFUL DEEDS.

THAT'S CLEAR IN THIS CAMPAIGN.

IT STARTED WITH HATEFUL WORDS BUT THAT MADE ME THINK, THE GERMANS THAT SUPPORTED THE NAZIS DIDN'T JUST WAKE UP ONE DAY AND START SPOUTING HATEFUL WORDS.

WHAT LED TO THE WORDS?

OR IS THAT TOO BIG A QUESTION?

WELL, IF WE KNEW THE ANSWER, WHAT CAUSES HATE, WE'D HAVE TO ANECDOTE.

IT DOES START WITH WORDS.

THE GAS CHAMBER, NOBODY WOKE UP AND SAID, WE NEED DO GAS CHAMBERS.

THEY SAID, IF THERE'S PEOPLE YOU HATE AND NEED TO EXTERMINATE YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO DO IT.

IT DOES START WITH WORDS.

IDEOLOGY.

THAT'S THE WAY TO PREJUDICE.

ON THE OTHER HAND I WOULD SAY WHILE WORDS ARE THE BEGINNING, DEEDS ARE WHAT'S WORSE.

BUT THERE'S ALSO FOR ME ANOTHER MESSAGE FROM THE HOLOCAUST, AND I GUESS IT'S A VERY PERSONAL MESSAGE.

I'M SITTING HERE TONIGHT WITH YOU BECAUSE 75, 80 YEARS AGO THERE WAS A WOMAN WHO COULD BARELY READ, WRITE, WHO STOOD UP AND SAY NO.

SHE DIDN'T ARTICULATE NO TO ANTI-S ANTI-SEMITISM, SHE STOOD UP TO SAVE ANOTHER LIFE.

THAT'S ANOTHER MESSAGE OF THE HOLOCAUST.

I DID A LOT OF STUDYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I SURVIVED, AND WHAT I LEARN SECOND DOWN WHEREVER AND WHENEVER, AND HOWEVER GOOD PEOPLE STOOD UP TO SAY NO, JEWS LIVED, GYPSIES LIVED, GAYS LIVED, CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP LIVED.

THERE WAS ONE OSCAR SCHINDLER WHO SAVED 1,000 JEWS.

RECALL OLIVER SAVED 100,000 JEWS.

BULGARIA, ALBANIA -- WE MADE FUN OF THE BALL KINS, BUT THEY WROTE A MAGNIFICENT CHAPTER.

THE BULGBULGARIANS SAVED ALL TH YEW YOUS BECAUSE THEY STOOD UP AND SAID NO.

OUR COUNTRY WOULDN'T PERMIT ST. LOUIS TO DOCK WITH ITS JEWISH REFUGEES.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SAID, YES, WE'LL TAKE 40,000.

THERE IS ANOTHER LESSON, NOT ONLY ABOUT BIGOTRY AND HATE, BUT PEOPLE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, A DIFFERENCE THAT CAN SAVE LIVES.

GIDEON, CONCRETELY, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS CAMPAIGN?

IF THE MESSAGE THAT APE JUST SENT OUT IS WHAT THIS CAMPAIGN ACCOMPLISHES, BOY, THAT'S A BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT.

I THINK WHAT WE WANT IS PEOPLE TO STOP AND THINK, JUST TO THINK.

TO PAUSE IN ALL THEIR FLURRY OF INFORMATION, OF ALL THE MATERIAL THAT COMES AND OF ALL THE KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS AND ALL OF THE FACTS, JUST TO STOP AND THINK ABOUT, HOW DOES IT START?

AND HOW CAN THESE THINGS BEGIN?

AND WE WOULD HOPE THAT THAT WILL ENABLE PEOPLE TO DRAW A LINE, DRAW A LINK BETWEEN WHAT IS BEING SAID AND THEY ARE SAYING AND HAS BEEN SAID AROUND US AND WHAT CAN HAPPEN.

IF IT GIVES PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PAUSE AND SAY, I HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT THAT, AND THIS IS SOMETHING I HADN'T REALLY GIVEN THOUGHT TO, THEN I THINK WE'LL HAVE SUCCEEDED.

SO GIDEON, GOING BACK TO THAT SURVEY THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION CONDUCTED OF ALL 50 STATES LAST FALL OF HOLOCAUST KNOWLEDGE AMONG YOUNG AMERICANS, MOSTLY MILLENNIALS AND GENERATION Z, WHAT WAS THE MOST SURPRISING OR DISTURBING THING THAT CAME OUT OF THAT SURVEY FOR YOU?

I THINK FOR ME IT WAS THAT ABOUT HALF OF THE MILLENNIALS COULD NOT NAME ONE CONCENTRATION CAMP OR GHETTO.

YOU KNOW, FOR MY GENERATION, AND I THINK FOR ALL OUR GENERATIONS, THE NAME AUSCHWITZ SYMBOLIZES THE ULTIMATE HUMAN DEPRAVITY.

IT'S AN ICON OF HATRED AND OF HORROR, AND THE NAME AUSCHWITZ WAS PART OF THE COMMON DISCOURSE THAT EVERYONE UNDERSTOOD WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT AUSCHWITZ WHAT THAT MEANT.

WE'RE NOW IN A WORLD, WHAT THIS SURVEY SAID TO US WAS, WE'RE NOW IN A WORLD WHERE THE WORD AUSCHWITZ FOR A GENERATION, HALF OF THAT YOUNGER GENERATION, IT DOESN'T WING A BELL, IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING TO THEM.

THEY DON'T RELATE TO IT.

IF THAT'S WHAT IT IS TODAY, THEN IN TEN YEARS, FIVE YEARS' TIME, HOW MUCH IS THAT SYMBOL GOING TO BE THERE?

IT'S IMPORTANT.

IF WE DON'T HAVE A COMMON WAY OF IDENTIFYING EVIL, UNDERSTANDING IT, AND REPRESENTATIONS OF IT, IT'S VERY HARD TO COMBAT IT.

SO I THINK THAT'S WHY INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT AND AWARENESS IS IMPORTANT, AND THE COMPANION TO THAT IS UNDERSTANDING WHY -- THE WHAT AND THE WHY.

THIS CAMPAIGN TALKS A LITTLE ABOUT THE WHAT, BUT A LOT ABOUT THE WHY.

THAT'S WHAT THIS LEADS US TO.

ABE, WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT.

I'D LIKE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST, AND WHAT CAN WE DO TO REVERSE THE IGNORANCE?

WE HAVE NO ANTI-DOTE, SO THE ONLY THING WE HAVE IS EDUCATION AND AWARENESS.

AND WE HOPE, AS I SAID EARLIER, THAT THE ABILITY TO STAND UP AND SAY NO TO THE BULLY, TO BIGOTRY, WILL LEAD TO ACTIONS AND STAND UP.

AND PEOPLE STAND UP, HOPEFULLY IT WILL PREVENT OTHER PEOPLE FROM ACTING OUT AND HOPEFULLY WILL CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE.

WE HAVE TO REBUILD A CONSENSUS OF CIVILITY IN THIS COUNTRY AND WORLDWIDE.

THIS IS A BEGINNING.

YOU BEGIN WITH WORDS.

IF UNDERSTAND THAT WORDS HAVE SUCH POWER, SUCH POWER, THEN HOPEFULLY YOU'LL ACT ON IT AND STAND UP AND SAY NO.

GIDEON, IN 15 SECONDS, ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC?

WE HAVE NO CHOICE.

WE HAVE TO BE OPTIMISTIC AND, YOU KNOW, TO HAVE PEOPLE LIKE ABE TO INSPIRE US, THAT GIVES ME OPTIMISM.

ALL RIGHT, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO END IT THERE, GENTLEMAN.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S A GREAT CAMPAIGN, AND THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN IT AND PARTICIPATING IN TODAY'S PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

BYE-BYE.

>'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY --

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