A shorter version, was published as a letter to the editor in the East Hampton Star, Nov 30, 2017: “Anti-Semitic Stance“
Lee Zeldin is one of only 2 Republican Jews in Congress. As such he should be a strong voice for those suffering religious persecution and anti-semitism in particular.
His latest move, is his alliance with Steve Bannon, who will be headlining a high end fundraiser for Congressman Lee Zeldin in New York City. Bannon is the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, the “platform for the alt right” which has a public anti-Semitic stance and is in lockstep with the neo-Nazi movement.
Mr. Zeldin has cast a blind eye on the rise of anti-semitic hate crimes since the campaign and election of Donald Trump.
The FBI just released 2016 data: There were 6,063 single-bias incidents involving 7,509 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type showed that 58.9 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias; 21.1 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias.
The SLPC has commented on this data from the FBI: The number of hate crimes has reached a five-year high in 2016, taking a noticeable uptick toward the end of the year around Donald Trump’s surprise electoral college victory.
The majority, by far, of these hate crime incidents were anti-jewish, not anti-muslim or anti any other religion!
This flies in the face of an earlier statement by Lee Zeldin that denies a correlation between increase in anti-Semitism and Trump’s election and blames “those who are … looking for any excuse to undermine the Trump presidency,”
Zeldin hasn’t responded to a US vote against condemning Nazism at the United Nations. The resolution called on all U.N. member nations to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations. The Russian-drafted resolution was approved Thursday by the General Assembly’s human rights committee on a vote of 125-2, with 51 abstentions. Only Ukraine joined the United States in voting “no.” Despite U.S. pressure to vote “no,” Israel supported the resolution.
On October 13th, Richard Cohen, President of the SPLC, wrote about the annual “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, featuring a rogue’s gallery of far-right extremists along with President Trump and Steve Bannon! “No one should be fooled. These are people and groups who harbor extreme beliefs that are antithetical to the very foundations of our democracy.”
One of the headliners at the Summit, was Roy Moore – the former Alabama chief justice who suggested in a 2002 judicial opinion that the state would be justified in executing gay men and women to protect children. Moore also wrote in 2006 that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, shouldn’t be allowed to serve because of his faith. As any judge should know, the U.S. Constitution explicitly bars any sort of religious test as a prerequisite to holding federal office.
We’ve twice had Moore removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for thumbing his nose at the Constitution. The first time, in 2003, was after he defied a federal court order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments that he had installed in the state judicial building. The second time was after he ordered state officials to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after the U.S. Supreme Court settled the issue with its landmark ruling in 2015.
Bannon, however, called Moore a “good and righteous man” during his Summit appearance.
Bottom line: When Jews neglect to call out anti-Semitism and intolerance, I am reminded of those Jews that stood by Hitler and lived (or died) to regret it.
It may not be surprising that Trump brought so much racial animus into the 2016 election cycle, given his family history. His father, Fred Trump, was a target of folk singer Woody Guthrie’s lyrics after Guthrie lived for two years in a building owned by Trump père: “I suppose / Old Man Trump knows / Just how much / Racial hate / He stirred up / In the bloodpot of human hearts.” And last fall, a news report from 1927 surfaced on the site Boing Boing, revealing that Fred Trump was arrested that year following a KKK riot in Queens. It’s not clear exactly what the elder Trump was doing there, or what role he may have played in the riot.
This blog has posted numerous past entries on the topic of anti-semitism and religious/ethnic tolerance in the Trump era. They are listed here for reference: