Let’s be clear and unambiguous: The KKK, Nazis, white supremacists and their ilk are vile, evil, ignorant and despicable people. And those are their good qualities.
Although constitutionally protected, they must bear much of the blame for the violence in Charlottesville, just by the fact that they got a permit and spoke/marched to inflame, intimidate, outrage and provoke others.
Deliberately driving a vehicle into a crowd, killing one and injuring many, is murder. This terrorist must face the full weight of the law.
Although a subject for another day, where were the police? Aren’t they supposed to protect the peace and keep hostile factions apart? When they were ordered to stand down and withdraw, it was all too obvious that violence would occur.
All that said, there are other issues and facts at play. Many of the counterdemonstrators came prepared with clubs, concrete-filled soda cans and other implements to cause harm. Just because they appear at many anti-Trump rallies, let’s not close our eyes and pretend they are choir boys and girls. They too must share some of the blame.
New York Times reporter Sheryl Stolberg, tweeting live Aug. 12, wrote: “The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park.”
Despite the media meltdown in faux disbelief, President Trump was right when he said blame falls “on both sides.” Not a moral equivalency nor equal sharing of the blame, but bearing some responsibility. That is undeniably true.
Who in their right mind would attend a rally organized by fringe evil haters knowing full well the possibility for violence is high? Black Lives Matter, Antifa and anarchists came armed and ready to rumble. They did not initiate the event but were willing participants in the mayhem.
BLM and Antifa, outgrowths of Code Pink and Occupy Wall Street, are intolerant, violent haters too. These leftists and anarchists have a common thread of being virulently anti-Semitic and pro-Palestinian and encouraging the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Many of their events and rallies use a “critical of Israel” litmus test for inclusion.
In June at the Chicago Dyke March, Jewish women who carried rainbow pride flags with Stars of David were ejected, according to LGBTQ newspaper The Windy City Times. They were told that the flag “made people feel unsafe” and that the parade had a “pro-Palestinian” and “anti-Zionist” perspective. To top this off, award-winning Windy City Times reporter Gretchen Rachel Hammond was fired for outing this anti-Semitism by publishing such a story.
The far left, in my opinion, is more dangerous than the far right. Why? Across the political spectrum, everyone condemns the Klan, Nazis and supremacists, as we should. However, BLM and similar groups are embraced by much of the Democratic establishment and media. They were welcomed (probably out of fear) by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and have almost become mainstream.
In Atlanta at the Netroots Nation convention the same day as the Charlottesville violence, a Democratic candidate for governor was shouted down and prevented from giving her speech. Not an outlier. It happens on college campuses every day when speakers are black Republicans, gay Republicans, conservatives or pro-Israel. Often these speeches are canceled as administration officials cite the difficulty in guaranteeing the peace. It is freedom of speech only if you agree with them.
An Israeli summed it up: “To put things in perspective. I’m a Jew. I’m an Israeli. The neo-Nazi scums in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past.
“Their breed is dying out; however, the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”
As Jews and Americans, we must be ever vigilant against evil and those who seek to do harm. We must acknowledge those on the extreme right AND left are no friend to Jews, minorities and peace-loving people.
Charlottesville is a reminder that we must never let our guard down in exposing evil wherever and whenever it exists. Often it comes from the usual suspects, but increasingly and unfortunately new mutations of this disease are appearing from unlikely and politically opposite factions. The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend.
East Cobb resident Mitchell Kaye served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives.