The deadly violence in Charlottesville over the weekend ignited by an alt-right, white supremacist and neo-Nazi “Unite The Right” rally is already having repercussions far from Virginia.
In Boston, one of six monuments with nine-foot-tall, glass casing enclosed New England Holocaust Memorial has been attacked and badly damaged, and it is fair to believe there is a direct connection to the hate Trump has engendered in the U.S.
This was the second attack on the Holocaust Memorial this summer, after 22 years of its peaceful existence. It was also attacked and the glass was broken on June 28. Last month the broken glass was replaced, and it was once again inscribed with the numbers Nazi’s assigned to those it murdered in Concentration Camps.
It was repaired and rededicated, only to be attacked again today. Once again one person has been arrested.
— Christine McCarthy (@ChristineMNews) August 14, 2017
What is the connection?
The real question is, “What has Trump wrought?”
While the poisonous rally in Charlottesville was a protest over the plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and sought to terrorize African Americans and immigrants, the rally also carried strong anti-Semitic overtones.
On Friday night near the University of Virginia, white nationalist carrying torches chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans, and proudly displayed giant swastikas. Many wore shirts with quotes from Adolph Hitler. One banner read “Jews are Satan’s children.”
The chants, according to a report in the Washington Post, included “blood and soil,” which is an English-language version of the Nazi “blut und boden,” or “Jews will not replace us.”
It was “all crafted to cast Jews as foreign interlopers who need to be expunged,” wrote Yair Rosenberg, a senior writer at Tablet Magazine, in an opinion article in the Washington Post.
Rosenberg reports that the former KKK grand wizard David Duke told a large crowd at the Charlottesville rally, “the American media, and the American political system, and the American Federal Reserve, is dominated by a tiny minority; the Jewish Zionist cause.”
Alt-right racist pundit Richard Spencer openly mocked Charlottesville’s mayor for being Jewish, and the crowd responded by chanting “Jew, Jew, Jew.”
Rosenberg writes that in TV interviews “attendees were not shy about their anti-Semitism.”
The face of American terrorism.
James Alex Fields, Jr.
A murderer radicalized by the American President. He worships Trump. pic.twitter.com/uvpbclNwGb
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 13, 2017
James Fields Jr., who has been charged with second degree murder and other crimes, after he rammed his car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, killing one innocent young woman and sending 19 others to the hospital, is known to have idolized Adolph Hitler, and to belong to a group dedicated to fighting “the international Jews.”
“None of this should surprise us,” writes Rosenberg. “The United States’ white nationalists have made no secret of their special hate for Jews, particularly during the 2016 campaign and its aftermath.”
“Throughout the presidential campaign,” adds Rosenberg, “Trump’s alt-right supporters barraged Jewish journalists with online abuse, including CNN’s Jake Tapper, the Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe and me, photoshopping us into gas chambers and concentration camps.”
“This conduct is not incidental to the white nationalist program,” he notes. “It is essential.”
Scholar and activist Erik Ward of the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote on Political Research Associates web site this past June about the connection between racism and anti-Semitism in the U.S., and the roots go deep – all the way to the 1960s civil rights movements.
“The successes of the civil rights movement created a terrible problem for white supremacist ideology,” explains Ward.
When black-led movements toppled the white political regimes that had long dominated in the south, racists refused to believe African Americans could have done it themselves
“Some secret cabal,” writes Ward, “some mythological power, must be manipulating the social order behind the scenes. This diabolical evil must control television, banking, entertainment, education and even Washington, D.C. it must be brainwashing white people, rendering them racially unconscious.”
“What is this arch-nemesis of the white race,” continues Ward, “whose machinations have prevented the natural and inevitable imposition of white supremacy? It is, of course, the Jews. Jews function for today’s white nationalists as they often have for anti-Semites through the centuries: as the demons stirring an otherwise changing and hetrogeneous pot of lesser evils.”
“For this reason,” Ward explains, “Jews are the only ‘white people’ obsessively targeted by white supremacists.”
The shattering of the glass on the New England Holocaust Memorial carries great symbolism. In November 1938, German civilians sympathetic to Hitler and para-military units of the Nazi party attacked Jews and destroyed Jewish businesses, places of worship and homes, breaking glass windows all over Germany. The authorities watched but did not interfere.
Around 100 Jews were murdered as a pogrom was begun (terror attacks on innocent Jews). It was a forerunner to the Holocaust where six million Jews would die.
It has been remembered as Kristallnacht and is referred to as the Night of Broken Glass.
The Holocaust Memorial is located near Boston’s Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path which passes several sites with historical significance to America. The memorial erected in 1995 by a Holocaust survivor is meant to signify that freedom of religion is one of the liberties that are central to all Americans.
In the era of Trump, there is a regression to an earlier time when force and hate were used to keep minorities and those who are different down so that the original white settlers were able to be dominant over every other race.
We want to believe that era of hate, bullying, and muscle being used to keep down intelligent, hard working, peace-loving people is behind us. But the events since Trump entered the campaign, and the terror in Charlottesville, show us that if you scratch the surface, the ugly reminders of the bitter, hateful people who look to blame others for their own failings quickly rises to the surface.
Under Obama it was forced to remain at least in the shadows. With Trump’s rise, this plague on our land and people has come out into the open, and a new era of hatred, fear and violence has become the new normal, as frightening as that is for the majority of us.
Trump is never going to admit what he has wrought, nor is racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or white nationalist Steve Bannon, or any of their ilk. It is up to the American people to recognize the danger that is being stirred up between races, religions and different nationl origins. It will not be an easy fight, or pretty to watch.
However, the stakes are huge. If America is to be the great melting pot that we believe it to be, where anyone with intelligence, skills, education and dedication who is willing to work hard and play fairly can achieve the American dream, then Trump and his sick followers must be put back into the crypt where they hid for so many years.
Otherwise, the terror of Charlottesville is just the beginning of a nightmare that may never end, and one which may take the American Republic down into the sewer with it.