The Posnack Pulse

We Killed Heather Heyer

Jakob L., Editor

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The Charlottesville attack and the previous night’s neo-Nazi march on the University of Virginia’s campus occurred on Shabbat. Because of this, the global Jewish community did not find out how damaging these events were until after Shabbat. But it would not have mattered: the global Jewish community has failed to properly condemn the Nazi terror attack, and too many have remained silent when it comes to confronting anti-Semitism in America.

As Jews we are responsible -as bystanders to be clear- for the death of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman brutally murdered by a white supremacist while she was protesting Nazism and white supremacism. Prominent since America’s birth, white nationalism is woven into the fabric of American society. Make no mistake, the election of Donald J. Trump has energized the nationalist wing of American society. Trump’s statements and silence, have given white supremacism a voice in Washington. The unwavering support of some Jews for Trump enables this type of hatred to spread exponentially.

 

Three of the most influential people within Trump’s administration: son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and chief economic advisor Gary Cohn all have one common characteristic: they are Jewish. Steve Mnuchin defended Trump’s inability to unequivocally condemn the terror attack in Charlottesville, or the previous night’s Nazi march, while Jared Kushner has remained silent. Gary Cohn and John Kelly even viewed Trump’s press conference the following Tuesday with obvious discomfort.   

 

According to reports from various news networks, a letter of resignation drafted by Gary Cohn after Trump’s press conference was never delivered to the President. After calls from the Jewish community for Gary Cohn to resign and condemn Trump’s response, he stated that Trump “can and must do better” in condemning white supremacy, adding that the comments caused him “distress.”

 

Even Israel remained silent and has not condemned Trump’s handling of the attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted THREE days after the attack that he was

“outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred.” Only the Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett condemns the handling of the situation. A day after the attack he stated that “the leaders of the US must condemn and denounce the displays of anti-Semitism seen over the past few days.”

 

Jared Kushner, Steven Mnuchin, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s lack of action are prime examples of the Jewish community’s response to Trump’s comments. Many in the Jewish community have either remained silent or defended his actions, many times deflecting that he is looking out for Jews because his daughter is Jewish. These actions directly contradict what those in other sects of Judaism have done -like Gary Cohn and Naftali Bennett- by condemning his comments, and directly contradict the Jewish value of watching out for other Jews “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh B’Zeh”. We as Jews must speak out and take action to condemn hate in all its ugly forms and to condemn anyone that enables it. We must ensure that there is no other Heather Heyer, that there is no other Charlottesville. We must guarantee that Never Again isn’t a motto we say just on Yom Hashoah, but a cardinal value that we live our lives by. If we fail to do so, we as Jews will lose our moral conscious and stray from our most sacred values, tarnishing the memory of those murdered by the same ideology.

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