Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

No, Mr. POTUS, no guns at houses of worship

Donald J. Trump calls the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., an “assault on humanity.”

The president is right. We need to treat this hideous tragedy as a hate crime. Eleven people were killed because they were Jewish. They were gathering at Tree of Life to celebrate Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath.

What does the president suggest as a possible response? He thinks putting “armed security guards” at houses of worship would stop this kind of carnage. Really? No sir. That is the wrong idea.

If we armed guards at the doors of sanctuaries where people go to worship whatever deity they choose to worship, where do we stop? Where do we draw the line on places that attract groups of people, sometimes large crowds of people?

Shopping malls? Grocery stores? Athletic events? Schools? Public parks?

The president suggests an armed society would deter those who commit evil acts.

I don’t accept that. The solution has to be more nuanced. It must require us to talk candidly and openly to each other. It must include a serious lowering of the volume and the temperature — and that volume and temperature adjustment must come from the top of the political food chain.

Armed guards won’t cut it.

Pittsburgh mayor speaks out

How could it get worse than bombs in the mail? It just did

My heart is broken. My head is spinning. I am about to scream at the top of my lungs.

The nation has just witnessed a serial domestic terrorist mailing pipe bombs to political figures and a major media outlet. Law enforcement arrested him and he stands accused of multiple counts of terrorism-related felonies.

Then an explosion of violence erupted today in a Pittsburgh, Pa., synagogue. Eleven people are dead. The suspect is known to hold anti-Semitic views. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, called it a crime “against humanity.” Yes, it most certainly is.

The Justice Department is planning to file hate crime charges against the monster who opened fire on the congregants who were worshiping in a Shabbat ceremony commemorating the Jewish holy day.

This latest example of sickening, heartbreaking violence defies any form of logic. It boggles the mind. It pushes everything else — perhaps even including the pipe bomb suspect and the terror he brought to the nation — to the back of our consciences, if only for a brief period.

I heard reports during the day about how the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where the massacred occurred, is known to be a “beautiful” and “peaceful” place. It contains an eclectic blend of people of varying faiths, ethnic background, races.

Think, too, of the tragic irony that the massacre took place in a synagogue named The Tree of Life.

It will take a long time to get past this latest spasm of violence.

What’s with the ‘shekels’ reference, Eric?

I feel a need to weigh in briefly on a strange reference uttered by Eric Trump, the second son of the president of the United States.

Is it an anti-Semitic reference? Gosh, I just don’t know. It is weird, nonetheless.

Trump was talking about Bob Woodward’s newly released book, “Fear,” and — naturally — he criticized its conclusions about Donald Trump’s administration. You’ve heard about the book, yes? It’s been in all the papers.

According to MSN.com: “Don’t you think people look through the fact that you can write a sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president,” Eric Trump said on Wednesday’s “Fox and Friends,” the network’s morning show, when asked about Woodward’s book.

“It will mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels,” Eric Trump added. “Is that really where we are? I think people see through this.”

Three extra “shekels”? Huh? What’s up with that?

Shekel is the currency used in Israel. Why would Eric make that particular reference? Why not just say, “Make a little extra money”? Or, “three extra bucks”?

Some critics have suggested the shekels reference is intentionally anti-Semitic. I don’t know if it is or it isn’t.

However, it does reveal a curiously inarticulate, clumsy and bizarre use of the English language by a member of the Trump family. Now that I think about it, such rhetorical goofiness does seem to run in the family.

What about anti-Semitism, Mr. President?

An Israeli reporter today posed what I thought was a direct question for Donald Trump.

How would the president deal with increases in anti-Semitic rhetoric in the United States since his election? That’s the crux of the question directed at Trump.

The president’s response? Suffice to say it was way off the mark. He began by boasting about his electoral victory.

The answer made no sense.

He mentioned something about his son-in-law, who is Jewish, as is his daughter. He talked about all the “love” he is going to produce and said he intends to stop racism.

The president didn’t condemn anti-Semitism, which drew a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League.

I am still shaking my head.

‘Alt-right’ becomes part of the political lexicon

trump-alt-right-supporter

What we used to call “white nationalism” now has a new name.

It’s called “alt-right.”

We all began hearing this term kicked around a few weeks ago. Its use is most commonly heard among progressive politicians, journalists, online news services. It’s being used to define the politics being championed these days by Republican Party presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

I sincerely doubt we’ll hear right-wing pols and pundits toss this term around.

The term jarred me when I first heard it. It sounded oddly foreign — which is a bit of an ironic feeling, when you think about it.

I’m not yet sure if I’m going to adopt the term for regular use on this blog.

The bit of research of I’ve done on this term has revealed that it doesn’t define an ideology per se. It’s become something of a euphemism to describe those who adhere to white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, nativism.

It’s an umbrella term meant to include a multitude of, um, ideas … I reckon.

I’ll likely stick with the real deal.

If I hear someone utter an anti-Semitic epithet, or suggest that immigrants are spoiling the “American culture,” or that white folks are superior to people of other races, I’ll call it what it is.

I’m wondering, though, if those on the right are going to come up with a name for the more progressive politicians and pundits out there.

Does “alt-left” do anything for you?

If so, what principles or policy statements do you suppose it would include?

Mean streak is showing itself

don trump

Nicholas Kristof and I have one thing in common.

We both hail from Oregon. He’s a self-proclaimed farm boy who was reared in the rainy western region of the state; I grew up in the big city of Portland.

He writes opinion pieces for the New York Times. I write for myself.

OK, we have one more thing in common: Neither of us wants Donald J. Trump to be elected president of the United States.

Kristof wrote a column today in which he states that Trump is appealing to the nation’s collective mean streak. It’s there, buried deep beneath the decency of the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans.

Here’s Kristof’s column. Take a few minutes to read it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-is-making-america-meaner.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

Kristof’s column includes this passage, which I want to bring to your attention.

“I wrote a column recently exploring whether Trump is a racist, and a result was anti-Semitic vitriol from Trump followers, one of whom suggested I should be sent to the ovens for writing ‘a typical Jewish hit piece.’ In fact, I’m Armenian and Christian, not Jewish, but the responses underscored that the Trump campaign is enveloped by a cloud of racial, ethnic and religious animosity — much of it poorly informed.”

It is frightening, indeed, to believe that some folks who are backing a major-party presidential nominee would say such a thing to a member of the media — or to any human being, for that matter.

This, though, is part of the political environment with which we must deal as Election Day draws near.

This has become a sad, sorry campaign for the most powerful public office on Planet Earth.

Hate crime brings emotion to full boil

A known Ku Klux Klan leader stands accused of killing three people in Overland Park, Kan.

The term “hate crime” has returned to the national discussion.

http://www.connectamarillo.com/news/story.aspx?id=1030997#.U0yg8lJOWt8

Frazier Glenn Cross is now 73 years of age. Police arrested him after a gunman shot a teenager and his grandfather to death at the Jewish Community Center. The gunman shot a woman later at a retirement community a few blocks away.

Police took Cross into custody and while he was being driven away, the suspect shouted “Heil Hitler!”

Let’s see. Do you think police have the gunman in custody?

I don’t want to prejudge this case, but Cross’s outburst suggests guilt far more than innocence.

One cruel aspect of this case is that none of the victims is Jewish, even though Cross is know to hold deep anti-Semitic views. That’s really beside the point.

Police and prosecutors have decided to file hate-crime charges against Cross. The crime to be prosecuted is going to receive attention that it might not get had it not been labeled a hate crime.

Well, it should receive the nation’s attention. The suspect who’s charged with this hideous act is an unrepentant hater. If he’s convicted of this hideous act, how can a court show mercy for someone like that?