This weekend, self-identifying white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis marched on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville and violently protested in the town, ending with the death of at least one person and leaving dozens more injured. People across the country condemned the events. In addition to the horror of watching those hateful humans march in broad daylight without fearing any consequences, I found it disturbing that many people, including liberals and progressives, didn’t acknowledge the hateful anti-Semitic comments made by these Nazis. In some cases, they tried to argue that they didn’t happen.
Think of those who believe the protesters from Unite the Right weren’t saying “ Jew will not replace us,” but “ You will not replace us.” Actress Olivia Wilde posted an Instagram on behalf of her mother, a candidate for the House of Representatives, that talked about Nazism and Nazi language, but made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism. Bernie Sanders mentioned neo-Nazis in a tweet but didn’t talk of Jews or anti-Semitism.
This strange in-between of calling out Nazis without directly acknowledging their hate towards Jews made me heave a very, very long sigh.
As a Jew who grew up in the South, I’m all too familiar with how little is known about Jewish culture and faith, not to mention Jewish history. Most people know that Nazis tortured and murdered millions of Jews in the Holocaust, and we are told to never forget those events. That includes not forgetting the nuances as well: Jews weren’t specifically targeted just for their religion, but also because Nazis believed they were a different and inferior race that needed to be ethnically cleansed.
While narratives try to say otherwise, America also has a long, violent, and discriminatory history with Jews. Ever heard of the …read more