Nazis Verboten

With all the hostility that Donald Trump’s candidacy, election and presidency has unleashed to scourge the American landscape, sane Americans must keep a vigilant watch over those Trump-plugging Nazis who came out of the sewers to release their pent up hatred. This call for watchfulness doesn’t apply only to those who voted against Trump. It applies also to those who, for reasons other than unabashed racism and anti-Semitism, voted for him.

This is one axiom that most Americans can agree on in these divisive times: There is nothing more un-American than Nazi fascism and racial hatred.

Hate crimes committed by US-resident Nazis and their natural allies in the Ku Klux Klan and various white supremacist and skinhead groups is nothing new, with reports of 5,818 “single-bias” offenses that took place in 2015 according to the most recent statistics released by the FBI. These assaults were motivated by prejudice against race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and gender, i.e. vast populations which Donald Trump and some of his frenzied supporters have a problem with.

As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I was sickened by reports of Nazi-made anti-Semitic graffiti on a New York City subway. As a Jew who grew up in New York, I was heartened by the response of subway commuters who spontaneously reached into their bags for tissues and hand sanitizer to erase the offensive swastikas and hate slogans. And as an American ex-pat living in Israel, I applaud the action taken by caring New Yorkers who refuse to be silent when confronted with the dark forces of Trump’s America.

The message these subway commuters sent out to the world is just as plain as Trump-speak, though considerably more pro-human than anti-human: Nazis verboten, forbidden, unwanted; in New York, and wherever decent Americans cherish the ideals that made America great long before Trump.

Oftentimes, we Jews are so careful not to minimize the Holocaust that we forget our foremost obligation, to the six million and to those, like my father, who survived: to prevent the next holocaust from happening.

American Jews and non-Jews who sense the danger must take whatever small steps are feasible and necessary to beat all expressions of Nazism back into the sewer where it came from. As a writer, I am using poetic license by dropping the fashionable “neo” from Nazi. Indeed, the “neo” part smacks of whitewashing. With prejudice against all Nazis, I find nothing neo, nuevo or new about those fiends from hell who emulate what their heroes did in Nazi Germany. Present-day Nazis who are now swaggering in Trump’s America are every bit as threatening as that Austrian corporal with the mustache who no one took seriously until it was too late.

But to keep things in proportion, let’s not blame Donald Trump for this. After all, he’s no Nazi, he’s just a Republican. The longshot candidate who said the election was rigged needed all that Nazi white trash and their KKK friends who voted for him. But in fairness, that’s not Trump’s fault. It’s just his incredible good luck, and America’s misfortune.

On balance, and in the very best spirit of American justice, I propose we grant Donald Trump a provisional verdict: “Innocent until proven Nazi.”

So, he wrote a few executive orders, and the earth rattled. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, and the world was never the same.

So, he failed to mention the Jewish victims of Nazism on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and didn’t even bother to apologize. So, all those religious-nationalist Jewish Israelis who thought Trump was nothing short of the Messiah are starting to wonder about his Holocaust denial. That doesn’t make him a Nazi either. Anti-Semitic, maybe. But he can always count on some of his strong Jewish supporters to help him patch things over.

So, he declared war on the female gender, offended Mexico, banned Muslims, threatened Iran, winked at Putin and said it was okay to spread nuclear weapons all in his first month in office. Does that make him a Nazi? More like a one-man blitzkrieg who follows no clear ideology and dances to his own tune.

In truth, we must refrain from calling the new American president a Nazi; for now, just calling him Donald Trump is bad enough. But things move fast in the Trump administration, and who knows what his second month in office has in store for America, for humanity. If he and Putin form an axis at the expense of NATO, leaving Europe defenseless, than maybe the comparisons with Nazis already voiced by some Trump critics will be taken seriously. And if he issues an executive order forcing gender-benders, handicapped welfare recipients, women who had abortions, Jewish liberals and Muslims with green cards to scrub the sidewalks then we’ll all be screaming Nazi.

But in the meantime, I suggest we keep our vigilance reserved for self-proclaimed Nazis and lay off the president. Not my president, for sure, but the guy who somehow got elected. Trump’s supporters, who can’t understand what all the protests are about, have been saying that we should all “give him a chance.” The American electoral system has handed Trump a four-year term. That should cut him plenty of slack. By all indications, though, so far Trump has turned that slack into so much rope to hang himself.

About the Author
Avi Shamir is a freelance writer, editor, translator and the author of "Saving the Game," a novel about baseball. A Brooklyn College graduate with a BA in English, Avi has contributed to the Jerusalem Post, The Nation, Israel Scene, In English and The World Zionist Press Service.