We said it wouldn’t and couldn’t happen here. They said it could. Guess what? It did. This past weekend.
Charlottesville, Virginia saw the rise of Nazi Regime once again. The so-called “alt-right”, a rag-tag group of people who believe that white makes right. A group of people that contain a group of so-called “Neo-Nazi’s”. In other words, Hitler will rise again.
Somehow, they are the master race and want “their” country back. They feel they are inherently and genetically superior to everyone else. This past weekend they made their feelings known. In public, marching in the streets. Just like the Germans did in the 1930’s.
Make no mistake, these people have around for years. But for the last 60 years or so they remained on the fringes of society, meeting in back woods and people’s houses. Now, they have no problem not only being seen, but proclaiming their message of hate for all to see.
We all saw them come out to protest the deconstruction of a statue of General Lee, a man touted as a Civil War hero, who was defending their way of life. Their way of life involves keeping people of African descent oppressed. Their way of life means that they are always in control, on top, having all the wealth and power.
And who is the obstacle to this utopia? We Jews. These groups marched in the streets, just like the Nazi’s did in the 1930’s, chanting “Jews will not replace us”. There were also parades of these Nazi’s chanting, “Seig Heil”.
During the Saturday of the protests, Jews in Charlottesville were attending Shabbat morning services. Alan Zimmerman, the president of the congregation, looked out across the street and saw three men—dressed in fatigues, carrying semi-automatic weapons, obvious part of this alt-right movement—standing there watching. One of their neighbors, a non-active Marine, offered to stand guard, after the police refused to post men there.
Mr. Zimmerman recommended that his congregants leave the synagogue by the back door to avoid a confrontation.
We all heard the President’s response. He minimized these people saying the they weren’t all bad, some of the counter-protesters started some of the violence that ensued and there was a lot of blame to go around. No reaction to David Duke, a former leader of the KKK, saying that they were proud of their president. Many are criticizing the President for his lax stance, including a lot of members of his own party.
But here’s the real problem: the President has surrounded himself with more Jews than probably any other President in recent history. Where were their voices? Where was their outrage? Many Jews have supported him, ostensibly for his tough stance on Israel. But that is now starting to fade. His Business Advisory Council has disbanded because these business leaders did not want to continue to be associated with him after his callous remarks this weekend.
Yet his lackies and sycophants still stay close to him. Some had thought that Gary Cohn, his top White House economic leader and key liaison to the US business community might join the rest of the business leaders and resign. At this point, he is still on the job.
David Shulkin, US Secretary for Veterans Affairs and Jewish, told reporters that while he was “outraged” and felt compelled to speak out against those hate groups. He also defended his boss’ response and approach. He said he feels the President made it clear how he feels.
Likewise from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and top economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are both Jewish, no comments. They were right there with their President during the press conference. Advise to the President’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, also Jewish: Fire your client. Sheldon Adelson, business mogul and billionaire, major contributor to Trump and big supporter of Israel—no comment or censure.
This criticism even went as far as Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu who has remained in office as Prime Minister many years because Israeli’s see him as standing up for Israel and defending his country and Jewish people against the Palestinians and rest of the world, was silent at first. After three days of silence and pressure from his own people, he finally took a stand.
Finally, and this is the worst of it, are the President’s own flesh and blood. His daughter, now an Orthodox Jew, has said nothing to criticize what went on in Charlottesville. Worst of all is the President’s son-in-law and most intimate advisor, Jared Kushner. This man was born an Orthodox and has remained true to his roots all his life. Until now. Silence. Nothing. No statement, no criticism.
We can go on about Jews who sympathized with Nazi’s so that they would get privileges, including the privilege to live. Maybe these people are more concerned with their own comfort, wealth and power than standing up for their own people. Perhaps they are rationalizing the watered-down reaction to save their own skins.
But the Torah is very specific. We say this twice a day: “You will love your G-d with all your heart, will all your soul and with all your might”. It’s very clear. You do what is right, and be willing to give up your comfort, your wealth, and your life. These people have clearly ignored that.