I don’t usually write about politics and I almost always write about LGBTQ issues. I, like many others, was stunned, appalled and frightened by what happened in Charlotsville last week. I’m a baby boomer. I didn’t live through WWII. I didn’t witness anything having to do with the Holocaust. I’ve seen documentaries and watched movies about that time. I’m Jewish. I’ve always been Jewish and always will be. It’s an essential part of my identity. I like being Jewish. I’ve never been afraid because I’m Jewish and I’ve never been discriminated against (that I know of) because I’m Jewish. The only incident of antisemitism I encountered was in grade school where another child called me a dirty Jew.
Watching the KKK and neo-Nazis and White Supremacists marching down the street with torches and chanting “We won’t let the Jews replace us.” sent chills down my spine and I felt fear I’d not experienced before. And these same men, all the while chanting that, were carry the Israeli flag.
The response to the horrible incidents of violence were both disgusting and heartening. To see the man who is supposed to represent the entire country refuse to condemn the acts of violence and those who committed them disgusted me. To see the Prime Minister of Israel, the country founded so Jews wouldn’t ever have to experience another Holocaust, refuse to condemn the antisemitism also disgusted me. Politics above what is right on the part of both men.
On the other side, the thousands and thousands who came out to protest in the days following gave me hope. The many people in the public eye who spoke out against the hate and antisemitism give me hope. It’s time for us to take a stand against hate. I totally believe in free speech but even free speech has it’s limits. You can’t yell fire in a crowd and call it free speech. How different is what the marchers were shouting?
Two stands against this hate really touched me this week. The first was Billy Joel who take a stand against hate by wearing a yellow Star of David like the Jews in Hitler’s Germany wore sewn to his suit jacket.
The second was a dance routine on So You Think You Can Dance, choreographed by Travis Wall to Nina Simone’s Strange Fruit. If you don’t know what that song is about, click her name to read about it. Watch this video. It is beautiful and haunting.