Arizona’s commitment to this hideous execution method should shock the conscience of all Americans. It is particularly appalling to me as the board chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Phoenix, and to my broader community. Earlier this year, we sued the state of Arizona to stop it from using this barbaric execution tool, infamous as the primary chemical deployed in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.
This is the first time the JCRC has ever been a litigant. We hope it is the last.
The killing of another human being through a practice known to cause pain and suffering undermines everything the Jewish people stand for. Judaism introduced to the world the idea that every life is imbued with infinite value. Long before the constitutions of Arizona or the United States banned cruel and unusual penal punishments, the Jewish people opposed them, as they diminish the humanity and dignity of everyone involved, the punished and those who inflict the punishment alike.
Read JCRC Board Chair Tim Eckstein’s blog for the ACLU on the ongoing fight against Zyklon B in Arizona.