The election of Donald Trump to our nation’s highest office has emboldened anti-Semitic extremists in America. Two recent example of this involves the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in the St. Louis, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas.
Last week, vandals damaged dozens of headstones in Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University Park, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. More recently, a similar act of mass vandalism occurred in Philadelphia at Mount Carmel Cemetery. While I don’t believe in God or the afterlife, I view grave desecration as blatant disrespect to the deceased and something that I have zero tolerance for. I thank those who have assisted in repairing the damage done to the cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania, especially to the Muslim community in America, which has raised funds for, and assisted in, repairing the damage done to the Jewish cemeteries.
On a related note, after narrowly losing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair race this weekend, Keith Ellison was picked by new DNC Chairman Tom Perez to be DNC Deputy Chairman. While many on the right, and some on the left, have smeared Ellison by trying to paint him as an anti-Semitic extremist, Ellison’s first act as deputy chair was to condemn the desecration of Jewish graves:
Even before the desecration of Jewish graves in Missouri and Pennsylvania, there have been incidents where American Jews have been threatened since Trump’s election. Prior to Trump’s inauguration, a neo-Nazi website called for an armed march against the Jewish community in Whitefish, Montana. That march was postponed, and a block party in defense of the Jewish community in Whitefish was attended by several hundred people.
I call on Donald Trump to, at his address to Congress tomorrow, strongly condemn threats, intimidation, violence, and vandalism against Jewish people and institutions in America.
It’s been brought to my attention that one of the many Nevada precinct captains in the Nevada Democratic caucuses a couple of days ago said that caucus-goers at his precinct shouldn’t support Bernie Sanders because he’s a socialist Jew:
Now, to be fair, a Bernie supporter was prohibited from talking to undecided voters after making some kind of remark about Hillary’s gender, but bigotry doesn’t justify bigotry. This is the kind of stuff you expect from racist, sexist, and xenophobic Donald Trump supporters, not from supporters of Democratic presidential campaigns.
Much hay has been made about Bernie supporters saying offensive things and being rowdy online, but there are many Hillary supporters who are worse than the most vile of the Bernie supporters. Bernie has condemned bigotry by his supporters. It’s time for Hillary to do the same in regards to her supporters.
In case you missed it, Scott Walker, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin and likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2016 elections, greeted Franklyn Gimbel, a Milwaukee attorney who wanted a menorah, a nine-branched candle tree that is lit during the eight-day Jewish holiday Hanukkah, displayed in the Milwaukee County Courthouse when Walker was the county executive of Wisconsin’s largest county, by saying “Molotov”, refering to improvised incendiary devices consisting of glass bottles filled with flammable material, when he meant to say “Mazel tov”, a common way of congratulating someone in the Hebrew language.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Walker has royally fucked up a holiday greeting.
Walker, who will use virtually anything to raise money for his perpetual political campaign, sent out a fundraising email last year that asked his far-right supporters to not give their kids Christmas gifts and to donate money to his gubernatorial campaign committee instead, as I, Chris “Capper” Liebenthal, and many others in both the blogosphere and the news media reported on last year. That email earned Walker a lot of negative press in Wisconsin, nationally, and even internationally, and deservedly so, since only a narcissistic jackass who is only concerned about his own political ambitions would send out an email like that.
Scott Walker has proven time and time again that he absolutely sucks at holiday greetings. He’s not presidential material, and neither are any of the other Republicans who are either running or considering running for president.
Judging from this CNN article on the new, secret “Comms College” run by the Republican National Committee (RNC) for Republican communication staffers, it’s not going well for the GOP.
For example, RNC communications director Sean Spicer said this about how the GOP planned to reach out to Jewish voters:
…How many Jews? You wanna do a Rosh Hashanah thing or something on Israel? You name it.
Using Rosh Hashanah, a major, two-day Jewish holiday celebrating the new year according to the Jewish calendar, for political grandstanding would be seen as downright offensive by Jewish people. The fact that the same Republican Party that has criticized President Obama and other Democrats for not being big enough shills for Benjamin Netanyahu and his government in Israel thinks that using Rosh Hashanah for political grandstanding is appropriate proves once again that they absolutely suck at campaign messaging.