Josef Olmert

No ‘both sides’ where there are swastikas

Charlottesville may or may not turn out to be a defining event in modern political American history, but it surely should be one
in the annals of the American Jewish community, in fact of the entire Jewish people. This is the first time, when a sitting American president insisted on a moral equivalency between those raising the swastikas and yelling ”kill the Jews”, and those who oppose them. Let it be made clear-there are no both or many sides where and when swastikas are raised. There is only one,and this is the side of evil, of murderous hatred to Jews.The initial statement by Trump was about both sides, then came a prepared , written statement singling out the Nazis -late, but better late than never, then came the horror of Trump press conference, when he doubled down on his initial statement.He did it spontaneously, in a way which obliges us to believe, that this is what he thinks. To see and hear it, is to believe it, and here it was not a case of one casual word, rather a long and repetitive tirade. Is Trump anti-Semite? I do not believe it, I do not think so, but I am sure that he has unleashed demonic forces in American society, he let the gene out of the bottle, and while he is not the first to do it, then he is the president, the voice of America. He failed tragically and he created a new reality. Ronald Reagan visited the German military cemetery in Bitburg , in May 1985, in which Wermacht soldiers were buried, and aroused a great deal of controversy. This was a mistake on his part, a one time sad mistake, but here it is different, as we deal with a pattern, not a slip of the tongue.

Let also this be made clear-Left Wing anti Zionism is sheer, blatant anti-Semitism, whether coming from Linda Sarsour, Keith Ellison, BLM,Antifa, Jimmy Carter or anyone else. They are our mortal enemies, and they should be resisted by us , all within the framework of the law and the democratic process. However, they , while being present in Charlottesville, did not raise the swastikas and did not yell ”kill the Jews”.Moreover, while many of them will be happy to see 6 million Jews dead in Israel, the Nazis were those who actually murdered already 6 million Jews, and hundreds of Americans, were marching in Charlottesville, celebrating the killing of Jews , and among them, many who support Trump and take pride in it. Is he afraid of them?. Is he under the impression, that they constitute a much bigger base of support for him, than the numbers showing up in Charlottesville? I do not know, but I tend to believe, that his anti-establishment rhetoric and beliefs know no bounds, and somehow, whether wittingly or not, he seems to feel at ease in the company of people like Richard Spencer and David Duke. It is such a serious situation, that I prefer not to resort to the conventions of sayings like ”tell me who support you, and I will tell you who you are,’, but beyond the trivia, there is an alarming new situation whereby a president bends over backwards to understand , justify and put in context a Nazi march.

It was not about Robert E Lee and the confederacy, which is in itself a subject to be discussed in a serious way, beyond and above cliches. It started a night before with torch -carrying Nazis marching and yelling their anti-Semitic slurs.I was not alive on 30 January 1933[not so old….], but I saw the pictures of that night, when Hitler came to power, and the only difference was the number of people participating. Clearly, many will consider this comparison to be alarmist, exaggerated, politically-motivated by being anti Trump. Let us put the record straight here-Democracy should not wait for people like the Nazis of today to grow in numbers, democracies should defend themselves already when the seeds of the danger are on such a display, and yes, to shoot the beast down before the beast will try to shoot us all down. In a democracy, the leader should be the one to signal the way, to guide and lead-in this case, in the US of 2017, the leader does the opposite. Trump is the President, and he has to be the one to lead and not to be led, and for my Trumpist readers a clarification is in place here-I would have written exactly the same if the current sitting president was a Democrat.

Et Zara leYaacov….Bad times to the Jewish people. The monster reared its ugly head in the most dramatic way, and the trouble is, that it is almost impossible to think of who we can join forces with to fight against the monster-Surely not most of the Left, and sadly, as it seems clearer by the day, not also the President of the US. Who would have believed it possible?

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina