Charlottesville: Rabbi Recounts Parade of Nazis
Rabbi says his Charlottesville synagogue was under siege by armed men and a parade of Nazis: "I never, for a minute, ever thought, in my life, that I would see that on the streets of America."פורסם על ידי NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt ב- יום חמישי, 17 באוגוסט 2017
Jewish organizations and leaders, from the Breman Museum to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, have spoken out to condemn the neo-Nazis, Klansmen and other white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, including laying siege to Congregation Beth Israel.
The following is a selection of those unedited statements, reflecting the deep concern, sorrow and anger in the global Jewish community.
The Breman Museum mourns the loss of life in Charlottesville, Virginia, and stands with the counter-protesters in raising a voice against bigotry and hatred. We echo the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in expressing that Neo-Nazism in any form is antithetical to American values and has no place in American society.
Through the experiences of Holocaust survivors, and the lessons of resilience, resourcefulness and resistance, the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education at The Breman Museum inspires students, educators and citizens worldwide not to be bystanders but to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
Atlanta Interfaith Community
As people of faith, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the events in Charlottesville yesterday.
We cherish our freedoms of speech and assembly and honor those with divergent views who gather and state those positions peaceably. However, when the goal of the gathering is promote racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy, and provoke violence, then we are compelled to take a strong and public stand.
Under no circumstance will we allow this kind of hatred and bigotry to define this country. As Americans of all faiths and backgrounds, we know that our country is at its best when we stand on the side of democracy, equality and justice. That is the sacred responsibility of all Americans.
Together, we pray for healing for the injured, comfort for the bereaved, calmness for those in Charlottesville and peace for all of us.
The violent antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia that we have experienced this week in Charlottesville and its aftermath weighs heavily on our hearts and minds. Over and again we have watched news videos of Americans chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “White lives matter.” To make matters worse, President Trump’s response has only emboldened the white nationalist movement. As a Jewish community, we are appalled to hear equivocation between those who march under a Nazi flag and those who say “never again.”
As Americans, Jews, and human beings, we feel ashamed, scared, and outraged. We don’t have to look only to Charlottesville to witness or experience antisemitism and racism. We have heard that white nationalist rallies may be planned in Atlanta this weekend and in the days to come. We will follow the recommendations of the ADL and other groups who monitor hate activity as to the best course of action for us as a congregation.
The premeditated targeting of civilians for political purposes by white supremacists and anti-Semites is domestic terrorism and has no place in America. If we as a Jewish community stand for anything, if our history matters not just for ourselves but as a beacon of justice for humanity, if we pride ourselves on being a prophetic voice, let us never stand idly by.
As antisemitic and racist activity continues to escalate, we have a moral responsibility to act: name it, condemn it, and do something about it… but don’t stand idly by. We as a people and certainly as a congregation have never stood silent in the face of such moral atrocity.
As we approach this New Year, we as a country must rediscover our sense of horror and dread in the face of wrongdoing; to remember that some things in this world are absolutely and utterly wrong and must be called out.
We are not alone in standing up to hatred and violence. We have each other. And, we are part of our Reform Movement, a network of hundreds of congregations and over a million Jews working together to pursue a better world. We invite you to join the work that we are doing as a movement and here at The Temple. This year, there are several ways to get involved:
- Call and email our elected officials to denounce violence and hatred in Charlottesville and everywhere. Ask them to visibly and consistently act to delegitimize white supremacy, antisemitism, and all forms of racism.
- Become active in the work of the Rothschild Social Justice Institute at The Temple. We know the work does not begin or end with the events of this past week. Join one of our social justice small groups and dedicate your full self to this work, knowing that we need you not just today, but in the coming months. For more information, visit the-temple.org/RSJI
- Attend The Temple’s mayoral debate focused on racial justice on October 24, 2017.
- Get involved with our local Jewish and civic community. Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee have agendas that involve fighting this kind of hate in different ways.
At times like this, as we look at our social media feeds, we may feel overwhelmed and isolated. Let us remember one of our core values at Temple – we need each other. We need each other not only to act, but to listen, to pray, and to offer one another comfort and hope. To that end, we invite you to join us for worship services and other communal gatherings. As always, your clergy are always available offer pastoral counseling and spiritual support.
Please know that we are always security conscious at The Temple. We work every day to make The Temple a safe place through our excellent relationship with and presence of law enforcement, ongoing training and security equipment, and our agency partners.
May we all be comforted at this difficult time. May we use it to realize the blessings we have in our lives to be messengers of God to this world in which we live. Then, indeed, it will be a better world for us, for our children, and for our children’s children.
Rabbi Joshua Heller, Congregation B’nai Torah
The Eclipse came a week earlier than expected. The sun went out during broad daylight, metaphorically speaking, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Members of the “alt-right” held a racist rally which spun off a number of violent assaults on bystanders and counter-protestors, and culminated in an murderous attack which left one dead and many injured.
Many of our leaders have spoken out strongly against the rally and the violence it spawned. Others have equivocated, saying that there are “many sides.” As my colleague, Rabbi Barry Dov Katz wrote “There can be only one side when it comes to racism, hatred, and antisemitism. Against.”
It is true that there are many kinds of hate and violence in the world. My heart grows weary of they daily attacks on the innocent, and the “slacktivism” of Facebook condemnations yields diminishing returns. However, special attention must be paid to those who claim to speak for America, and dress themselves in the garb and the ideals of Nazis and slave masters. Holding a swastika or the “Stars and Bars” in one’s hand should be offensive to all, but it is an even more profound desecration when the American flag is being held in the other hand.
As Jews, we have an obligation to stand up against hate wherever it may arise, but we have specific cause for concern. Even though the alleged provocation of the march was the removal of Confederate memorials, the messaging to rally these groups to the march featured the smashing of a Jewish star as its logo.
In ancient times, eclipses were occasion for panic- was the sun going out forever, or would it return in just a few moments? We would prefer to think that this is an isolated incident- that in a few moments the sun will shine again. The problem is that those who previously thrived and swarmed only in darkness are now stepping out into the light, into new influence. Over the last year, there have been increased incidences of racist and anti-semitic attacks across the country. These are not only large-scale incidents like the ones in Whitefish, Montana, but ones here in local Atlanta high schools that have been kept out of the press.
Some of my friends in the Jewish community assure me that we are safe because the president, though he is reluctant to call out or condemn racist and anti-semitic groups that support him, has Jewish children and grandchildren. Indeed, the White House later offered a revised statement which was more direct in its condemnation. It may indeed be true that he has no animus towards Jews, but simply appreciates support from wherever it may come. However, if these groups are allowed to continue to grow in power and influence, we may not be so lucky with the next.
There will be counterprotests, vigils and rallies, petitions and blog posts and words of condemnation, displays of friendship and unity. They deserve our support and participation. I fear, however, that they will be undertaken, at least primarily, by the “usual suspects,” and that as a result their influence will fade to an faint echo in the insulated corridors of power. That makes the voice of another group all the more important at this moment.
I have friends who view themselves as supporters of the current administration, for any number of reasons, perhaps including concern over a particular litmus-test ideological issue, seeing themselves as beneficiaries of its policies, or simply desiring a change from what had been. It is not for me to change their minds on that support. However, it is these friends who have a particular obligation to speak up and express their concern, to ensure that they do not find themselves standing in coalition with “friends of friends” who would seek to destroy us. Our friends must speak now, when their voices will be heard loudly and clearly, lest the day come when they, too, are silenced. This eclipse is only temporary, but there is a greater darkness of night that may still follow, and if it does, it will fall on all, not just on one place.
Leaders of the Conference of Presidents today strongly condemned the violence and hateful expressions of bigotry by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, and expressed condolences to the families of Heather Heyer and the two Charlottesville police officers whose lives were tragically lost.
Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO said, ”We add our strong condemnation to those leaders in government, religious bodies, the media, civil society and the business community who have clearly and forcefully denounced the white supremacists and neo-Nazi messages of hate which incited murderous violence in Charlottesville, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer and injuries to many others. We send our condolences to the Heyer family and to the families of the police officers.
The overt racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and wanton acts of violence unleashed on the streets of Charlottesville are a chilling example of the damage hate inflicts on our society and a tragic reminder of the responsibility we all have to identify and call out the perpetrators of these vile manifestations.
While eliminating hate or preventing the haters from spewing vile ideas is not possible, we can and must isolate them, ensure they are condemned by our elected leaders and the overwhelming majority of the American people, and urge authorities at all levels to act against them.
We welcome the announcement by Attorney General Sessions that the Justice Department has commenced a full investigation and will be devoting substantial resources of the federal government to the efforts of state and local law enforcement in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) condemns the violent, racist, anti-Semitic, and hate-filled ”Unite the Right” rally by white nationalist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. We urge President Trump to directly denounce, in no uncertain terms and without equivocation, the white nationalist marchers and to make fighting hate a number one priority of his administration. Leadership must begin at the top.
JCPA expresses heartfelt condolences to the three families of those who died needlessly due to this rally.
“In moments like these, it’s critical that our political leaders speak in a clear voice opposing hatred,” stated JCPA Board Chair Cheryl Fishbein. “What our leaders do and say sets the parameters for the rest of the society.”
“There is no comparison between the protestors, who brought hate and violence to the streets of one of the symbolic birth places of American democracy, and the counter protestors,” said David Bernstein, JCPA’s President and CEO. “The Rally was one of the largest showings from a hate group in decades. We stand with people of good will from all walks of life who are speaking out against hate. We must drive it back into the underground and to the margins of society.”
Responding to this state of emergency, our network is standing against hate in their local communities and many participated in the approximately 680 vigils and rallies organized today around the country.
JCPA represents the Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) who work tirelessly to build tolerance, civility, and maintain friendships with diverse partners across the country. We believe that we must continue to work toward a more just and equitable society in which we can all live together. These values are what make America the great country that it is today.
Dear President Trump,
I write to you as the CEO of a non-governmental organization, American Jewish Committee (AJC), which has been an integral part of the American landscape since our founding in 1906.
We are a fiercely non-partisan group – driven by policies, not parties; by issues, not individuals; by values, not votes.
What we witnessed in Charlottesville on Friday and Saturday was nothing short of horrifying.
It was sickening enough to see people drawn together by the siren songs of white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Nazism. But however repugnant their views may be, so long as they conducted themselves peacefully, their freedom of speech is protected in our blessed land.
But it was abundantly clear that at least some of these racists, anti-Semites, and homophobes came to Charlottesville looking for trouble. The result is now well-known. A young woman, with so much to look forward to in her life, was killed, and many others were injured, some in serious condition.
Mr. President, precisely at such moments of national tragedy and, yes, definition, your voice becomes essential. Others cannot substitute for you. You are our leader, you set the tone, and you have an incomparable bully pulpit.
Thus, when you chose to use those three words describing the hatred – “on many sides” – and to repeat them twice, alas, you turned what should have been a unifying moment into a divisive one.
Respectfully, whatever your intention might have been, your remark could be interpreted to suggest a moral equivalence between the bigots and those who stood against them. In our view, that was totally unwarranted and needed quick clarification.
It is late, but not too late, we believe, to set the record straight.
We hope you will make clear that our nation does not countenance the warped views of bigots, as was on display in Charlottesville. Their approach tears at the pluralistic fabric of our great country, just as it has done for centuries, and endangers the notable progress we have made in recent decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
We also urge you to send a strong message to these extremist groups that their endorsement is not welcome. Of course, every political leader seeks support from a range of voters, but, surely, there are limits, and those who preach racial supremacy, religious bigotry, and ethnic division, should be deemed well beyond the pale.
And finally, we count on the Department of Justice, as Attorney General Sessions has indicated, to investigate thoroughly the violence in Charlottesville, and leave no stone unturned in the process.
For us, we can find no other words to describe what happened on Saturday than domestic terrorism – the premediated targeting of civilians for political purposes.
Just as what occurred so tragically in other American places – from Fort Hood to Charleston, from Boston to Oklahoma City, and the list goes on – the full force of the law, coupled with the moral leadership of our elected officials and the coalition of conscience of civil society, must always be our resolute answer.
Thank you for your consideration of this heartfelt plea.
David Harris, AJC executive director
On Aug. 13:
We vehemently condemn the white supremacist and neo-Nazi-backed sentiments and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Va. The disgraceful rally these groups convened was for the express purpose of gathering hate-mongers and extremists to intimidate all people and undermine the very principles of our democracy. Racist and anti-Semitic epithets were on vulgar display by these groups.
This abominable gathering serves as an important reminder that we must unite to stand against hatred and extremism. There are not “many sides” to the type of hate displayed at this rally.
From each individual through neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, states and the nation as a whole, all Americans of good conscious must reject divisiveness and strive to embrace tolerance and unity.
On Aug. 16:
President Trump has returned to an indefensible position on the sickening violence that took place in Charlottesville at the “Unite the Right” rally.
Instead of asserting leadership and forcefully condemning the alt-right, he is once again equivocating.
There is no doubt that the white supremacists and neo-Nazis, with their vulgar messages of violence and exclusion, must be called out in unambiguous terms at the highest level. In the absence of a strong White House statement, the message received by these groups, who feel emboldened, is that their hatred and violence are somehow acceptable. The extremists are encouraged and their views are bolstered in this leadership vacuum.
The president needs to display unquestionable clarity that sets a tone for the standards of tolerance and inclusion that have long defined our democracy.
His message must state unambiguously and forcefully that this hatred is rejected.
Each moment that goes by without moral clarity from the White House is a moment that the extremists gain a greater foothold to undermine our collective values.
On August 11th, an estimated 100 white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia (UVA) campus with their tiki torches full of citronella and their hearts filled with hate. They were recorded shouting racist, anti-Semitic Nazi slogans – such as “Blood and Soil” and “Jews will not replace us”.
The next day, counter protesters showed up to face the over 4,000 white supremacists who were gathered. The situation devolved into one of the saddest days for American democracy. Citizens were beating each other bloody, and the National Guard was ultimately called in after a State of Emergency was enacted in Virginia. While the crowds were dispersing, a white supremacist plowed his car into a group of counter protesters – this terrorist act killed 1 and left injured 19.
This is not America. The United States of America is the land of liberty, and to quote George Bernard Shaw said, “liberty means responsibility – that is why most men dread it.” When people are using hate in your name, you have the responsibility to call them out and tell them this is not what you stand for. When you are a part of one of the worst displays of anarchy in this nation’s recent history, you are responsible for your action or lack thereof.
It is important to remember that this is not the first time America has seen Nazi symbols marching through her streets. In the 1930s, Nazi sympathizers, called Bunds, would proudly hold rallies, assemble youth camps and march through the streets of our nation. The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) were the first to see that this hate has no place in America. We organized over 10,000 members to march through the streets of New York, an event that ended up on the front page of every major newspaper.
After that parade, “Hitler and his cohorts were made to see that America was aroused – that Americans would not stand for atrocities and injustices against any minority people.” Today, the white supremacists must be made to see that there is no place for their hatred in our society.
It is also important to remember that these white supremacists were 4,000 people out 360 million citizens of America, and they are by no means the majority. Even so, JWV remains committed to taking a strong active role against the growing white supremacist movement. JWV members have been in contact with the UVA Hillel, supporting them within our means. We remain vigilant within our own communities, and will help in any way if called upon.
“Today the JWV continues to stand firmly against hatred. We call upon all elected officials at all echelons of government to clearly speak out against White Supremacists, Neo-Nazi’s and their fellow travelers,” stated National Commander Carl Singer.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum mourns the loss of life in Charlottesville, Virginia, and strongly condemns the violence and neo-Nazi, racist, and antisemitic symbols and language used by some of the participants, including reported chants of, “The Jews will not overtake us.” Neo-Nazism in any form is antithetical to American values and has no place in American society.
Holocaust history teaches that the targeting of Jews was central to Nazi racist ideology and that it began with hateful rhetoric. By the end of World War II, the Germans and their collaborators had murdered six million Jews and millions of other innocent civilians, many of whom were also targeted for racial reasons.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on President Donald Trump to follow up his words earlier today with a strong plan of action that will ensure the kind of white supremacist violence and anti-Semitic and racist incitement witnessed in Charlottesville will not happen again.
Earlier today in remarks from the White House, President Trump denounced the haters and white supremacists involved in the violence in Charlottesville, and called out the tragic loss of life that came about as a result of the so-called “Unite the Right” rally. But his statement came two days after the events, and after a disappointing initial reaction from the President that seemed to equate the haters with counter protesters.
“This is a moment when we desperately need leadership,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “But I think we should expect our leader in the highest office in the land to step above the lowest possible bar. Statements are not sufficient at this stage in the game. We need to move from words to action. The threat is not over. The hate groups are feeling emboldened and are already organizing a number of other rallies. The President needs to engage broadly, with leaders in Congress and others in the civil rights community, to execute a plan to stop the threat of further violence.”
Among the displays of hate witnessed during the Charlottesville rally were anti-Semitic chants such as “Jews will not replace us!” and “Sieg Heil”; people bearing torches marching through the town doing “Heil Hitler” salutes; swastikas and confederate flags carried side by side by racists; and chants of “Blood and Soil,” which are ripped directly from Nazi-era slogans.
ADL called on the White House to take the following action steps:
- Directing the Department of Justice and the FBI to ensure all law enforcement is trained on how to deal with hate and extremists.
- Tasking the Department of Education to prioritize anti-bias, anti-hate content in schools across America, and reteach the value of pluralism.
- Engaging the Department of Homeland Security to expand the Counter Violent Extremism grant program, which was originally defunded in the budget, and ensure funds are allocated to fight all forms of extremism.
ADL’s Center on Extremism is currently monitoring additional rallies and other activity by white supremacist and all types of extremists.
A line has been crossed — each one of us must see in Charlottesville an urgent call to action, a time for unity, to stand up and to speak out.
Since the horrors of the Shoah, our community has pledged to never forget, to speak out against hate and prejudice in whatever form it takes, whoever the targets may be.
We cannot stand idly by. Speaking out against hate and white supremacy is staying true to our moral compass. Our leadership must serve the people, working to bring Americans together, to take us closer to the “more perfect union” invoked in the Preamble to the Constitution.
Today, Hadassah joins the long list of organizations and politicians from both parties speaking out against unacceptable moral equivalency. We are grateful to see so many moral compasses line up together, including those in Congress and government who provided an immediate, bipartisan response. We are grateful to all in the Hadassah family who have acted in their communities to build bridges and to everyone working to that end across lines of race, faith and gender.
There is no place for Nazism, anti-Semitism, hate speech, bigotry and racism in the public sphere. Join with others calling for a national plan of action to combat Nazism, white supremacy and all forms of hate, which includes investing funds in countering violent extremism.
Together, we must hold our leaders accountable, and ensure that there is no doubt about the unacceptability of moral equivalency. Please join us in taking a stand.
7 Ways You Can Stand Up Against Hate
- Engage with members of your community and have meaningful conversations about the rise in anti-Semitism, Nazism, white supremacy and bigotry.
- Reach out to organizations of other faiths and backgrounds to build coalitions against hatred in your community.
- Urge your elected officials to condemn violence and hatred, calling out the dangerous Nazi and white supremacist ideologies behind them, and developing a plan of action. Take action via the Hadassah National Action Center.
- Explore and get involved in educational efforts or security briefings in your area through local schools, community centers, houses of worship and other organizations.
- Stay up to date on Hadassah’s advocacy opportunities by registering for Hadassah’s Advocacy Alerts and Updates.
- Speak out on social media. Share Hadassah’s graphics, posts and statements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. #StopTheHate
- Forward this to three friends.
Ellen Hershkin, national president, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America
HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, is horrified by the violence, hatred and loss of life over the weekend in Charlottesville.
In response, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement:
“In the wake of the racist attacks in Charlottesville, we at HIAS are heartbroken. While America has been struggling for over two centuries to live up to its founding ideal of equality for all people, it is clear that we still have a long way to go. Racism, xenophobia and hatred continue to infect this country.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who came to Charlottesville to demonstrate for hatred, resulting in violence and the loss of innocent life. We urge the President of the United States to do the same.
“HIAS stands with the students, activists, citizens, and faith leaders in Charlottesville who put their lives on the line to stand against bigotry. Through our work for refugees and asylum seekers, HIAS will continue to strive for an America that is welcoming to all, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or ethnicity.”
The Jewish Labor Committee joins with all people of good will in our outrage at the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, surrounding the so-called “Unite the Right” rally on August 12, 2017. There is no place in our society for bigotry, prejudice, racism, and anti-Semitism. This language and those people who espouse it must be condemned at every turn.
Our heart goes out to the victims of the neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists who marched shouting hateful slogans against African-Americans and Jews.
They must be condemned, and defeated, in the press, on the streets, in the classrooms, in the workplaces, and in the halls of government, from the highest levels in the White House to every town hall and union hall across the United States.
On Aug. 13:
The Rabbinical Council of America, the leading organization of Orthodox rabbis in North America, strongly condemns the violence and bigotry displayed yesterday at the White supremacist, alt-right, neo-Nazi and pro-Confederate gathering in Charlottesville, VA, and mourns the deaths and injuries that resulted.
“We are appalled by wanton displays of violence and hatred that erupted in Charlottesville on Saturday,” said Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America. “We pray for the injured and express our condolences to the families of those who were killed. We join our voices with all those who embrace the best of our country’s values of respect, tolerance and decency.”
On Aug. 17:
An Open Letter to the Jewish Community of Charlottesville, VA:
As we usher in this Shabbat just one week after the violent and deadly racist and anti-Semitic events in your city, the members of the Rabbinical Council of America reach out to you in solidarity, support, and friendship. Elie Wiesel once said, “Jews alone are vulnerable…but Jews must not be alone.” Know that you are not alone.
While you were on the front-line of ugly manifestations of hatred and bigotry that led to death, intimidation, and fear; while there were calls to burn down your synagogue; and while you were eyewitnesses to the worst expressions of intolerance in our society, we were all under attack. When you are threatened, we are all threatened. When you are hurt, we all hurt. Know that you are not alone.
We add our voices to yours in condemning these manifestations, supporting those in political and religious leadership denouncing them, and call on all leaders and people of good will and faith to name and reject unequivocally and without qualification the views and actions of White Supremacists, neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and their supporters. We mourn with you the victims of this domestic terrorism: Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates.
In fighting these prejudices we must learn an important lesson from the Jewish Shabbat herself:
Shabbat begins with the recitation of Kiddush, the blessing which sanctifies the holy day, and ends with Havdalah, the blessing which distinguishes the holy day that has passed from the weekday ahead. In both cases we are asked to make distinctions, distinctions between the holy and the profane, between light and darkness, and, ultimately, between good and evil. As the beauty and restfulness of this Shabbat descends on your community, we are all asked to raise our voices to distinguish between good and evil, and in so doing make our country more holy, more peaceful, and more godly for all of its people.
Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president
Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued this statement in response to the deadly violence at the white supremacist hate march in Charlottesville, VA:
The vile presence and rhetoric of the neo-Nazis who marched this weekend in Charlottesville is a reminder of the ever-present need for people of good will to stand strong, to speak loudly against hate, and act both to delegitimize those who spread such messages and to mitigate the harm done to the commonweal of our nation and to those that are the targets of hate messages.
Racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views have no place in a society that cherishes freedom and liberty for all. The right to speak and to hold repugnant views is not a right to circumscribe the ability of others to live in peace and security. Torch-lit marches of hate evoke the KKK; the image of a heavily armed “militia” standing among the neo-Nazi protestors should send an alarm to every person of good conscience in our nation.
Once again hate has killed; we mourn the loss of life and those injured in the violence. We call on all, no matter what their views, to eschew violence and condemn in the strongest terms the car attack that killed and injured protestors.
We commend the opening of President Trump’s statement condemning the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” but are deeply troubled by the moral equivalence evident in President Trump’s statement today. White supremacists wielding Nazi flags and spewing racist vitriol need to be specifically condemned, not only violence and hate “on many sides.” If our leaders can’t call out this virulent strand of hate we will surely fail to stop it.
As we bid farewell to the Sabbath, we pray that the week to come will be filled with calm and safety, and that those who have committed crimes will be brought to justice.
In the aftermath of violent demonstrations by white supremacists and their sympathizers in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in 3 deaths and many injuries, the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism issued the following statement:
The Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism are shocked and horrified by the violent demonstrations of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and their sympathizers in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday which resulted directly in the deaths of one civilian and two state police officers and in many other serious injuries. We applaud the swift and effective actions of Mayor Mike Signer of Charlottesville and Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, as well as their appropriate condemnations of the bigotry, antisemitism and hatred that inspired the rally itself. Many leaders have taken the indispensable step of naming the dangerous philosophies and movements that united these demonstrators. These events have been rightly labeled as incidents of domestic terror by both Democrats and Republicans.
We call upon United States officials including President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to condemn neo-Nazi, white supremacist and alt-right movements by name. The repeated failure to do so by top U.S. officials has fueled their growth and poses an imminent threat to all Americans as Saturday’s violent rallies showed. History has demonstrated that where a country’s leaders fail to condemn these philosophies, violence and hatred can quickly and exponentially consume the fabric of civil society. Our leaders must act now. Let us continue to pray for and to work for the day when all shall “sit under his/her vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid.”
Rabbi Philip Scheim, president, the Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, CEO, the Rabbinical Assembly
Margo Gold, president, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO, USCJ
Following the violence and protests in Charlottesville, VA, including the death of one person after a car drove into a crowd, Bend the Arc Jewish Action Chief Strategy Officer Jonathan Lipman released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events of the protests in Charlottesville today and our sympathies go out to the families of those injured and killed. The events of the last two days are the inevitable result of the bigotry and hatred that Donald Trump has been championing since he began his campaign.
“This is what it looks like for the President of the United States to support white nationalism. He has brought in white nationalists like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller to serve at the highest levels of his administration. He has openly called for violence at his rallies, encouraged police to rough up suspects, and claimed that unauthorized immigrants were subhuman and not to be treated kindly. And he has still failed to acknowledge and commit to ending the increase in hate crimes that began with his election. This unmistakable pattern of the president’s support for and endorsement of white nationalism, combined with his outrageous failure to explicitly and forcefully condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis responsible for today’s violence, make his calls for unity disingenuous.
“American Jews recognize these dangerous and escalating patterns. We’ve seen this before. This hatred must stop. And the way Trump and his Administration can help stop it is through actions, not only words. If he truly believes we must love and respect one another, he must fire the white nationalists in his office. He must renounce the use of violence against any human being. And he must forcefully condemn people like David Duke, who said today’s events were the fulfillment of the president’s campaign promises. Failure to take these steps will be further evidence that he has chosen to align himself with white supremacy and against the safety and values of the American people. Those in his Administration who remain silent are also complicit.”
30 Years After is appalled by this weekend’s display of violence, racism and anti-Semitism at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. We join the chorus of voices across the United States in speaking out against the senseless hatred of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the Ku Klux Klan. This rally crossed the line from repugnant speech protected by our cherished Constitution, to bigoted slogans and libels that incited violence.
As Jews and as Iranians, we have experienced firsthand Edmund Burke’s truism: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Today, we embrace our freedoms and responsibilities as Americans to not stand idly by and call on our community to do the same. The best ideals of our tradition also compel us to honor the memories of Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who tragically perished in the mayhem of this past weekend.
We demand that President Trump and all elected leaders denounce any moral equivalence between the bigots and those who stood against them, and to take swift action to re-affirm our nation’s commitment to tolerance, pluralism, and democracy.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Saturday harshly condemned the violent Neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., that left dozens wounded and one dead.
“The World Jewish Congress unequivocally condemns the inconceivable violence exhibited at the neo-Nazi demonstration today in Charlottesville. Our prayers are with the victims of this violence and their families.
“It is utterly distressing and repugnant that such hatred and bigotry still run rampant in parts of this country. There is no place in our democratic society for such violence and intolerance. We must be vigilant and united in our opposition to such abhorrence.
“We commend the Charlottesville authorities and local government for their quick action in quelling these protests and restoring calm, and sincerely hope that this will serve as a deterrent for future demonstrations of violence.”
The International March of the Living strongly condemns the vicious acts and words of antisemitism, Hitler-glorification and racism which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia.
America, the Land of the Free, must not tolerate acts of hatred, intolerance and bigotry of any kind or nature.
The International March of the Living is dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and is committed to educating its participants on the need to stand against social injustice and acts of antisemitism whenever and wherever they occur.
Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, president
Shmuel Rosenman, chairman
Francis Kalifat, the president of the Counseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France, sent the following letter to Council of Presidents Executive Vice Chairman Malcom Hoenlein:
After the difficult events which happened in Charlottesville, I am writing to express my support and solidarity, and that of the French Jewish community, to you to the Jews of the United States of America.
The vision of Nazi flags, the very symbol of anti-Semitism, flowing freely in your country, which has been the symbol of Democracy and to the fight against Nazism, is just unconceivable and inacceptable.
We have seen a resurgence of anti-Semitism all over the world over the past few years, especially in France and Europe. In face of such evil, you have always shown concern and solidarity. It is now my turn to reciprocate.
As always, we will stand together as one People with one Heart.
Together, we will face these challenges and together, we will combat anti-Semitism in our democracies, in our streets and on Internet.
We stand with you to combat the hate of Jews wherever it spreads, and express to our political representatives, our determination to eradicate anti-Semitism and hate from our democratic societies.
The chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, has issued the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned by the expressions of antisemitism and other forms of racism and hatred exhibited at the neo-Nazi rally this past weekend in Charlottesville, and I am horrified by the death of a protester at the hands of one of the marchers. These is no place for such hate speech or violence in any democratic society, and I am confident that American authorities will do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice. No student, Jewish or otherwise, should feel threatened at his or her university, and Jewish students at the University of Virginia should know that the local Hillel staff is available to them at all times, as is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at UVA.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven Rivlin this evening (Wednesday), sent a letter to Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein, asking him to convey his support and solidarity for the American Jewish community.
The president wrote, “At this difficult time I want to express my support and solidarity, and that of all the Israeli people, with you and your communities, and ask that you kindly convey this message on my behalf to the Jewish communities across the U.S.”
He noted: “The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag – perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism – paraded in the streets of the world’s greatest democracy, and Israel’s most cherished and greatest ally is almost beyond belief.
“We have seen manifestations of anti-Semitism again and again arise across the world; in Europe and the Middle East. In the face of such evil, we stand now as we did then. With faith. With faith in humanity, with faith in democracy, and with faith in justice. I know that the great nation of the United States of America and its leaders will know how to face this difficult challenge, and prove to the world the robustness and strength of democracy and freedom.”
Rivlin concluded, “As we say Chazak, Chazak, ve’Nitchazek. Be strong, be strong, and we will be strong.”