I’ve read so much about the Holocaust, looked at Nazi propaganda, and wondered how educated people could look at us and then decide that because we are Jewish, we are, ipso facto, subhuman. Why are there people for whom our existence is an insult?
No matter how much I try, no matter what I read, I remain utterly clueless as to how it is possible for a person to plan methodically, and then carry out, a mass murder against people who have committed no crime, whose only “sin” is to be of a different color and/or religion.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Omar Ilhan, her statements that some see as antisemitic at most, and at least, insensitive to Jewish interests and historical trigger words. But I’m not worried about her comments. She’s a first-year representative; we’ll see how she does and the extent to which she’s interested in Jewish concerns. No, she’s not seeking to inspire a race war; she’s not glorifying mass murder.
What worries me, what keeps me up at night is white nationalism and the twisted ideology that fuels it. A hodgepodge of ugly, ignorant thinking riles people up who feel disenfranchised, left behind in a multi-ethnic future. These deluded people – mostly men – are motivated—at least in part—by the fear that whites are in the process of being demographically outnumbered and replaced. Hence the chants in Charlottesville, Virginia, of “Jews will not replace us! Blacks will not replace us! Immigrants will not replace us!”
You may have noticed that, when it comes to white supremacists, we Jews are not considered white at all. For the men who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, we are an enemy, a historical relic that must be destroyed, because we are Jews. For the shooter in New Zealand, for Dylan Roof, and some of the other sickos engaged in this despicable behavior, the Jewish people are no different than the folks sitting in the mosque, praying to Allah.
Now more than ever, we must acknowledge that we are a part of an alliance comprised of Moslems and people of color. We are in the same circle as Honduran refugees, eager to find safety. We share a real vulnerability to this kind of hatred and rage.
The phrase “white genocide,” a mythological conspiracy created by white supremacists – contends that people of color – and that includes us – are plotting to destroy the white race. Get used to hearing this absurd, stupid claim. It is the clarion call of the alt-right. It’s used all the time now.
We know white nationalist violence is here to stay. The real question is whether the United States and other governments will treat it with the seriousness it deserves and work together to counter this growing international scourge.
In the meantime, we stay vigilant. We monitor the hate groups and support organizations that get us accurate information. We extend ourselves to our allies and our friends, to all who, like us, are under threat from a small group of deluded and insecure men who work out their insecurities in violent, anarchic acts of murder and mayhem.
And of course, we send our condolences to the families of the victims in New Zealand. We pray with them and promise to do what we can to stand against these foul racists and murderers and their supporters.