Honoring the Wrong Heroes

The only thing worse than having a president like Donald Trump is honoring him with street names and towns. Nothing says you support his presidency more than to believe that he is a hero to his people although nothing could be further from the truth. Would Israel name a roadway after Adolph Hitler? Will a new moshav in the Golan be created in honor of Adolph Eichmann? If Benjamin Netanyahu thinks Donald Trump is his idol, he should keep it to himself. The man deserves only our opprobrium, not our unfettered support.

Under Donald Trump, anti-Semitism has flourished well beyond an alarming trend. Jews have been massacred in their shul in Pittsburgh, had their synagogues and temples defaced and damaged and their cemeteries violated, and all by right-wing extremists and dedicated Trump supporters. Minority civilians have been killed for no other reason than trying to live their lives. What makes all of this so egregious is that everything is being controlled and encouraged by Donald Trump. He has decided that his mortal enemy is the rule of law, so he installed his hand-selected Attorney General as the highest legal authority in the land. He has been waging war on the law ever since he showed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Bill Barr, six blocks down the street from him has been doing exactly what Trump tells him to do, thus destroying the wall so perfectly created by Congress to thwart such activities. The only thing standing between us and total chaos into totalitarianism is our system of courts.

Into our current maelström steps Netanyahu, who fancies himself as a Donald Trump in the making. He believes that merely because the U.S. moved her Israeli embassy and tacitly supported Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, that this means Americans were behind the move. This notion is controversial to say the least, and just plain wrong. Donald Trump is no lover of Israel or Jews, despite his daughter having married one which is another myth that needs to be addressed. Jared Kushner has his own ugly past and present encounters with the law. He is no role model for his children or anyone else for that matter. As apples don’t fall far from their trees, Jared’s father wasn’t jailed for being a great role model, but for illegal activities.

Sadly, Bibi seems blithely unaware that Donald Trump has now killed over 117,000 Americans, including those who had traveled to Israel in the past four months. No, he didn’t line Americans up and shoot them, ala Mussolini. Instead, he refused to address a worldwide pandemic early on, despite his being told one was approaching, refused to listen to his medical advisors, refused to call out the Federal government with all her resources to bring to bear and ignored it believing it would be bad for business and his own pocket. I doubt anything is worse for America’s bottom line than having over 40 million citizens jobless, but that is precisely what has happened under Donald Trump’s brand of “leadership.” And this person is whom Netanyahu thinks is worthy of streets and towns being named in his honor? Do we Jews, with our thousands of years of history, have no heroes worthy of a statue? Did Israel suddenly run out of brave souls who gave their lives in order to save her that she could honor?

If America truly decides to be formed into “a more perfect union” that was envisioned by her founders, then it is high time to tear down their symbols of oppression, including violators of the Constitution, such as those who fought a bloody four-year war against the United States and rename and rededicate monuments to the American ideal. Netanyahu should do no less. He believes that by blindly accepting any and everything Donald Trump says and does he will make him a friend for life. I truly doubt they will become pen pals once Trump leaves office and is sitting in a Federal correctional institution.

Statues and monuments are meant to honor those who sacrificed everything in order to bring about everything from social change and dignity to the oppressed to honoring what we want to preserve. They are historical markers of who we are. New Orleans should tear down their Civil War era statues and instead, create one honoring Lieutenant General Russel Honoré who saved her during a hurricane. Ronald Reagan went to Germany and instructed her people to “tear down this wall.” We should do the same to monuments honoring the wrong people. And then we should ask ourselves what is it about a politician’s behavior that makes him or her emulate someone who truly belongs in prison?

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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