It is a depressing state of affairs when the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its two Museums of Tolerance spend more time attacking me on The Huffington Post than the hate speech, racism, sexism, violence and neo-fascism of the Donald Trump campaign.
Quick Background: The SWC/MOT is a 400,000 member-strong human rights NGO whose own mission statement is fighting "hate" while "promoting human rights and dignity." The SWC and its Museums of Tolerance wield enormous moral and political clout. They have publicly and forcefully condemned bigots ranging from Jean Marie Le Penn and Geert Wilders to even Ted Nugent!
As for Donald Trump, not so much.
I recently published an open letter on The Huffington Post pleading for the SWC/MOT to take a strong public stand and condemn the demagogic hate-filled Trump campaign.
Here is their reply; a defensive array of denial, fiction and remarkably even a personal attack on me!
The SWC/MOT writes: "In the long history of the Center, we have never failed to criticize both Democrats and Republicans as far back as Jesse Jackson's 'Hymie Town' comment and Ronald Reagan for his Bitburg visit."
This is all the more reason for the SWC/MOT to forcefully condemn the endless bigoted venom spewing from the Trump campaign. Yet they continue to remain silent.
The SWC/MOT writes: "Mr. Goldstein has refused to accept our explanation that the Center, as well as other human rights organizations, can't be in a position where we are responding to every remark made by a politician every single day."
Completely disingenuous. The SWC/ MOT has had eight long months to deal with the entirety of the hate-filled prejudice and filth of the Trump campaign. Yet the SWC/MOT has yet to utter a single condemnation about the Trump campaign's xenophobia, its attacks on African Americans, its demeaning of women, its calls for and encouragement of violence, its mocking of the handicapped, even its defining Mexicans as rapists. (Note: they did offer a scant two-line condemnation of the infamous Muslim ban. But that's it, in eight months of hate speech this and only this on their webpage.)
The SWC/MOT writes: "We are disappointed that Mr. Goldstein, who has done fine work for the Center in the past, singled us out to create the impression that we support a particular candidate. Nothing can be further from the truth and Mr. Goldstein knows it."
Huh!!!! This a whole-cloth fabrication. There is not single mention, insinuation or anything in my Open Letter suggesting this. "Support a candidate"? What are they talking about?
The SWC/MOT writes: "We are left to wonder whether his attack has more to do with the fact that he is angry that we have not engaged his services for our new projects."
This redefines chutzpah, no, make that hubris.
Its been eight years (2008) since I have had any contact with the SWC/MOT. I have never even called to say hello, let alone desire or inquire about a job "for their new projects." This is a shabby tactic better suited as coming from Frank Underwood than a Rabbi heading a Museum of Tolerance! I know and respect the good works Rabbi Cooper has done in the past. Rabb, you are a better person than this.
Lastly, in an article that appeared in Haaretz, the SWC/MOT protests being singled out by me.
Well, guilty as charged. So, why am directing my pleas to them?
For these reasons and more:
Because the SWC and its Museum of Tolerance wield immense political power and can have enormous positive impact.
Because it's one of only a few organizations whose avowed purpose is the fight against bigotry and hate speech.
Because if a powerful organization whose mission is to fight hate won't condemn the Trump campaign's bigotry, then who will?
For me, the following single line best sums up my plea to the SWC/MOT to take a moral and political stand against the Trump campaign.
"For Evil To Flourish It Only Requires Good Men To Do Nothing."
It was written by Simon Wiesenthal.