I would like to respond to publisher Brett Freeman’s column titled, “Hate groups ignored for eight years,” as both an American Jew and a veteran of the Yom Kippur War (1973).
I especially take umbrage with the author’s conclusion, and I quote, “Perhaps we owe Trump the benefit of the doubt in the same way Americans did for President Obama.”
If you look back in history, it is precisely when we did give the benefit of the doubt to national leaders, Jews were either expelled from their homes or exterminated. To compare the small number of anti-Semites within the Occupy Wall Street protest to the 100-plus white supremacist conference (in Washington, D.C.) where allegiance to was pledged to Trump with a Nazi solute is more than a stretch, it is hurtful to the millions of Jews and Arabs (they are Semites, too) in this country. More importantly, those at the conference, I believe, were there to celebrate the increased level of hate crimes and anti-Semitic acts (Nazi symbols on cupcakes, really!) that have been reported since Trump has been elected. In other words, they feel they and their hatred are now part of the American fabric.
I doubt that Obama or NancyPelosi, minority leader of the House of Representatives, were condoning the anti-Semitic sentiment of anyone in Occupy Wall Street, but rather were supporting the First Amendment. I would compare Trump’s reaction to the nightly protest of marchers in front of his tower.
Most importantly I wonder how the current level of anti-Semitism and racism could have been avoided if our president-elect would have conducted himself civilly (not PC) and denounced these hate groups before, during and immediately after the election. I also wonder what if Trump apologized to our current president for five years of undermining his very citizenship. I wonder if the language used during the election, founded on perpetual lies about American citizens and immigrants (I am an immigrant from Israel), was different, and if the election was about not obfuscating the truth but appealing to voters on positive change founded on our Constitution. Just wondering…
In reading your opinion, I saw that you took the time to search for quotes that supported your argument, as well as caveat the reasonableness of your argument.
Nevertheless, you were comparing two leaders and their response to hate.
I would argue that Obama, who was the receiver of Trump’s racism (birther movement), knows well that words matter, and words can also delude so that people act irrationally, regardless of past history and facts.