I do not know if Donald Trump is personally an anti-Semite; his daughter and son-in law’s religion is well-known. But for many Jews, notwithstanding his belated claims, he has been branded an FOTR, a Friend of the Third Reich. (see John Oliver’s comprehensive expose)
This is an existential crisis for American Jews, and some in Israel too. And it is time to reckon up friends and foes.
On the positive side, some Republicans have spoken out, clearly and nobly. John McCain wrote, “White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special.” Chuck Grassley, a staunch Republican conservative, tweeted, “What ‘White Nationalist’ are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can't be tolerated anymore than what any extremist does.” Best of all, Orrin Hatch declared, “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.” On the local level, I am Facebook friends with a wide variety of folk, some of them quite conservative from my airsoft days. It is striking how many are condemning the alt-right, including some who have never expressed much, if anything political before.
But, far too many of our countrymen are silent or supportive. Think of what should America do. Link the rally to other hate attacks, on Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans. Pass laws criminalizing domestic terrorism as we do the foreign brand. Pass a resolution condemning the delayed response, or at least, one calling for national unity around shared values. Yet none of these have even been proposed at the national level, let alone voted on.
Worst of all, when the Anti-Defamation League condemned Trump’s tweets and remarks, the Republican Jewish Coalition broke ranks with fellow Jews and attacked the ADL.
It is time to call these silent legislators and citizens what they are, collaborators. That is a highly-charged term, taken from the darkest days. It has come to apply. As Dana Janine Diamond, writing in the Times of Israel put it, “You need to own up to what you’ve done. You aligned yourself with the hateful. Your support of Trump, your false read, your shifting of blame, unleashed this Neo-Nazi terrorism. Sure, we all prayed it wouldn’t come to this. But here we are. We are all in Charlottesville now. Whose side are you on?”