Israel: liberal US Jews say Trump fueling white nationalism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

After El Paso massacre, liberal US Jews say Trump fueling white nationalism

Reform leader accuses president of emboldening mass shooters by ‘demonizing asylum seekers and immigrants’

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting August  3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

WASHINGTON — Liberal American Jewish leaders, fuming at another mass shooting allegedly carried out by a white supremacist, took US President Donald Trump to task on Sunday, saying he had fueled xenophobia and division in the country for three years, while failing to press for stricter gun laws.

Their condemnations came after a 21-year-old gunman, armed with a powerful rifle, walked into a crowded Walmart on Saturday in El Paso, Texas — a majority Hispanic city on the border with Mexico — and opened fire. Authorities identified the assailant as Patrick Crusius from Dallas, who stalked shoppers in the aisles of the retail giant as he riddled them with bullets, leaving at least 20 people dead and another 26 wounded.

Crusius is suspected of being the author of a manifesto posted online before the attack, in which he said was responding to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in a statement that the shooter was reciting language frequently used by Trump — a sign that his influence was evident in the motivation for the attack.

“The El Paso killer was a white supremacist who wrote a ‘send them back’ manifesto, echoing the words of President Trump,” Soifer said. “Trump is responsible for fueling a fire of xenophobia and hatred in our country, and Republicans are responsible for allowing it to occur.”

Pallbearers carry the casket of Poway synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye during a graveside service on April 29, 2019, in San Diego, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

Over the past year, two other mass shootings by white supremacists were preceded by similar manifestos — one written by John Earnest before the Poway synagogue shooting in April, and one authored by Brenton Tarrant before he opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand in March, killing 50 people.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that the release of a manifesto before Saturday’s attack fit the same pattern.

“We have documented a rise in extremist activity, both online and in our communities,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “As with too many of these incidents, our experts have again been reviewing the apparent manifesto of an alleged shooter, as well as other elements of his online footprint, to evaluate potential extremist ties.”

Greenblatt went on to say that, if police confirm the manifesto’s authenticity, it will make the El Paso attack one of the deadliest acts of domestic terrorism in modern American history.

“If the suspect is the author of the manifesto, this latest act of domestic terrorism will be, according to the ADL’s Center on Extremism’s records, the third deadliest act of violence by a domestic extremist in over 50 years, and the second deadliest act of violence by a right-wing extremist in the same span, second only to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,” he added.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on August 1, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump has been frequently criticized for his tacit welcoming of support from white nationalists. During the 2016 campaign, he refused to immediately reject the support of David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

As president, he likewise refused to immediately condemn neo-Nazis and Klan members who marched in Charlottesville in August 2017, saying that “very fine people” were marching alongside them.

Most recently, he told four freshmen congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from. All four are American citizens, and three of them were born in the United States.

He has also implemented immigration policies that have been broadly condemned as inhumane — including the family separation policy of splitting up parents from their children at the border — to deter immigrants and asylum seekers from entering the country.

After the El Paso attack, Rick Jacobs, who heads the Union for Reform Judaism, lamented the inaction of politicians to effectuate stronger gun-safety measures.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressing delegates at its 2017 Biennial in Boston, December 7, 2017. (Courtesy of the Union for Reform Judaism/via JTA)

“It is not enough for elected officials to muster their ‘thoughts and prayers,’” he said in a statement Saturday. “Like millions of Americans I’m sick of the pathetic excuses offered by too many lawmakers for not passing strong and effective common sense gun laws.”

He then directed his indignation toward Trump. “And if we are to call on the leaders of our nation to address this epidemic of hate, a goal that, hopefully, almost all Americans cherish, we must ask: When will this president stop demonizing asylum seekers and immigrants, which serves to embolden those like today’s shooter?”

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White supremacists crash Arkansas Holocaust memorial event

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

White supremacists crash Arkansas Holocaust memorial event

Protesters in Russellville carry anti-Semitic signs, including one calling Shoah a hoax, in demonstration ostensibly aimed against ADL

White Supremacists protesting a Holocaust memorial in Russellville, Arkansas, May 5, 2019.  (screen capture: YouTube)

White Supremacists protesting a Holocaust memorial in Russellville, Arkansas, May 5, 2019. (screen capture: YouTube)

A Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Russellville, Arkansas, Sunday was interrupted by protesters bearing anti-Semitic signs, including one that read “The Holocaust didn’t happen, but it should have.”

Bearing crosses, a large portrait of Jesus and Christian and Nazi flags, the protester’s anti-Semitic signs also included one reading “YHWH has the oven preheated.”

Joyce Griffis, who organized the event, told KSFM that the demonstrators “were talking to us like we were pieces of nothing.”

Among those at the event were Sir Beryl Wolfson, 96, who shared his story of witnessing the liberation of Holocaust concentration camps while wearing a World War II Veteran cap and Star of David belt buckle.

The demonstrators were affiliated with Shieldwall, a local white supremacist group, and ostensibly were protesting the Anti-Defamation League, Shieldwall spokesman Billy Roper told KSFM.

The son and grandson of Klansmen, Roper is “a nonsectarian hater” affiliated with many white nationalist groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In April, the ADL criticized Arkansas Tech University for naming a scholarship in honor of Dr. Michael Link, whom the ADL wrote “repeatedly espoused Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism to his students and in his writing.”

Arkansas Tech said it has found no evidence of these claims.

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ADL blasts Rabbis for diatribes supporting racism, Hitler’s Worldview

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

ADL blasts rabbis for diatribes supporting racism, Hitler’s worldview

Jewish group calls West Bank school leaders’ remarks unconscionable, disgraceful, especially for teachers ‘educating the next generation’

Students at the Bnei David pre-army academy learn in the study hall. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Students at the Bnei David pre-army academy learn in the study hall. (Screen capture/YouTube)

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday castigated rabbis from a West Bank religious academy for making derogatory and racist comments about Arabs, defending Adolf Hitler’s worldview, and openly promoting Jewish supremacy.

In a series of undated recordings published by Channel 13 news on Monday, Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David pre-military academy in the settlement of Eli, can be heard calling for the enslavement of the “stupid and violent” non-Jews due to their genetic inferiority. In another clip from the Bnei David Yeshiva, Rabbi Giora Redler can be heard praising Hitler’s ideology during a lesson about the Holocaust.

“We harshly condemn statements made by rabbis teaching at the Bnei David Yeshiva in the community of Eli. Rabbi Redler’s attempt to ascribe reason — not to say justification — to atrocities perpetrated by Hitler against the Jewish people is unconscionable,” the ADL said in a statement.

“Statements made by Rabbi Kashtiel regarding non-Jews, specifically Arabs, suggesting they are genetically inferior are disgraceful. Such words are especially grave coming from senior rabbis educating the next generation. We urge them to apologize without delay,” the statement said.

Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the pre-military academy in the West Bank settlement of Eli. (screen capture: Channel 13)

In one sermon released by Channel 13, Kashtiel called for enslaving non-Jews.

“The gentiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves,” he told a class. “Instead of just walking the streets and being stupid and violent and harming each other, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape.”

“All around us, we are surrounded by peoples with genetic problems. Ask a simple Arab ‘where do you want to be?’ He wants to be under the occupation. Why? Because they have genetic problems, they don’t know how to run a country, they don’t know how to do anything. Look at them,” Kashtiel said.

In the lecture, Kashtiel went on to embrace racism against non-Jews.

“Yes, we’re racists. We believe in racism… There are races in the world and peoples have genetic traits, and that requires us to try to help them,” he said. “The Jews are a more successful race.”

In another clip from the Bnei David Yeshiva, Redler can be heard praising Hilter’s ideology during a lesson about the Holocaust.

Rabbi Giora Redler, a teacher at the Bnei David Yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Eli. (screen capture: Channel 13)

“Let’s just start with whether Hitler was right or not,” he told students. “He was the most correct person there ever was, and was correct in every word he said… he was just on the wrong side.”

Redler goes on to say that pluralism is the “real” genocide being perpetrated against the Jewish people, not Nazi Germany’s Final Solution, a plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II.

“The real Holocaust was not when they murdered the Jews, that’s not it. All these excuses — that it was ideological or systematic — are nonsense,” he said. “Humanism, and the secular culture of ‘We believe in man,’ that’s the Holocaust.”

The comments drew wide condemnation from opposition lawmakers who called for pulling all state funding to the Eli-based academy over the remarks.

Rabbis teaching at the Eli academy — a darling of the national religious camp for funneling of thousands of religious officers into senior combat positions in the Israel Defense Forces — have a history of making controversial and illiberal remarks.

After the footage was aired on Monday, Kashtiel and Redler, in a statement to Channel 13, acknowledged making the remarks but claimed the comments were taken out of context.

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