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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Jews and Trump

I am the son of a child refugee from Nazi Germany who was thrown out of his school as a Jewish student while my grandfather’s shoe store was boycotted in the mid 1930s by the Nazis. I am horrified that today over 85 years since the Nazis came to power in Germany the same hateful tropes are being used to take away people’s dignity and accuse them of being rapists and deny them access to their children.
My family were fortunate that the UK took them in, while the US refused to accept many of those Jews who later died in the death camps, including Anne Frank and her family. My grandfather also initially tried to immigrate to the US, but was refused entry.
The death camps came at the end of a long process of dehumanization and the normalization of discrimination and hatred. I am not suggesting Trump has mass murder in mind, but tearing mothers from their infant children was also a method Hitler used and it leads people to see those parents and children as not fully human or deserving of the same rights “we" deserve for our own children.
The duelling demonstrations in Detroit last night at the Holocaust Museum were very informative. The Republicans stood shoulder to shoulder with the Proud Boys (no friends of the Jews) and claimed they would never allow an anti-semite to stay in their party. Have they never heard of Steve King the republican representative from Iowa who is a proud white supremacist?
Whatever your view of the current fault lines in America there can be no doubt that my grandparents would find the behaviour of the racists and white supremacists chanting “The jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville very familiar especially given the proud Nazis marching with swastikas and torches in a replay of the terror they inflected on Jews in Germany prior to the Holocaust.
If my father was alive today he would be appalled at the situation we find ourselves in. I fully expect that the great majority of American Jews will help vote Mr Trump out of office next year. Most Jews are just not that dumb as to vote for a would-be dictator and vapid racist
Robert Oppenheimer, Canada

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