Dan Rather has been there for us throughout Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency, and he’s the first one to call Trump out for his lies. Now Rather is hitting out against anti-Semitism, and calling out Trump for not addressing the issue.
Many on the right state that Trump can’t be anti-Semitic, because his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are Jewish. This is obviously not true. Steve Bannon is a racist. We have seen it over and over again.
As we head into a Friday evening, the Jewish sabbath, I find myself thinking about anti-Semitism. This centuries-old pernicious hatred is something we will always have to guard against, but I never believed I would see it raise its ugliness with such volume in today’s America. And I never thought I would see such indifference if not denial from a President of the United States.
I am sickened by reports of bomb threats to Jewish organizations, desecration of graves, and the proliferation of swastika graffiti in communities across the country – in schools, in parks, in places where we should all feel safe. There are few symbols more evil than that of the swastika. It is like a hissing voice that whispers to you in the dead of night….three words that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up…. ‘hate lives everywhere.”
I worry that too many today do not understand the sheer terror of this symbol. It is far more than the backdrop to old newsreels. It is the banner under which millions were marched to their death – Jews and others.
The very sight of a swastika should create a vocal protest, not just in the Jewish community but for all of us. I cannot understand why President Trump has not been more forceful in speaking out against this surge of hatred. His relative silence speaks volumes. From the highest office in the land, the message should be loud and clear: Not here. Not anywhere. Hate begets hate. For Jews, for Muslims, for immigrants, for the other. Hate is a dangerous force of destruction in a democracy. I have seen where this leads, in small ways and large.
To be complacent or silent is to cast your lot with hate. As Elie Wiesel once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”