Israeli Political Leaders Slam Trump, Reject Claim of Two Sides to Virginia Hate March
Israeli politicians slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for equivocating on neo-Nazi and white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, with left-wing anti-fascist activists rejecting his assertion that there were two sides to the story.
Trump equated neo-Nazi and white supremacists with left-leaning anti-fascist marchers during a press conference in New York on Tuesday.
“There aren’t two sides,” Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, said in a statement earlier today. “When neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville and scream slogans against Jews and in support of white supremacy, the condemnation has to be unambiguous. They represent hate and evil. Anyone who believes in the human spirit must stand against them without fear.”
After initially offering a tepid condemnation of the neo_Nazi marchers, Trump doubled down on his earlier statement over the weekend that equated the two sides of protesters, asserting that “both sides were to blame” for the resulting violence and death.
“You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he said.
Tzipi Livni, a former justice minister, rejected Trump’s assertion and said in a statement Wednesday that “when it comes to racism, anti-Semitism, and Nazism, there are never two equal sides. It is good, and it is evil. Period.”
Other Isreali politicians were also quick to come out against Trump.
Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the anti-hate watchdog Anti-Defamation League, also slammed Trump pattern of equivocating on prejudice.
“The entire Unite the Right rally was built on racial and conspiratorial anti-Semitism. Marchers threw Nazi salutes as they waved swastika flags, proudly wore swastika pins and shirts, and shouted ‘Sieg Heil!’ A sign carried by rally-goers warned that the ‘Jewish media is going down’; another declared that ‘Jews are Satan’s children.’” Greenblatt said.
Naftali Bennett, the Israeli Education Minister who was the first major Israeli politician to speak out against the neo-Nazis asked US leaders to denounce its “displays of anti-Semitism.”
On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke his silence tweeting that he was “outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred.”
“The unhindered waving of Nazi flags and symbols in the US is not only offensive towards the Jewish community and other minorities, but it also disrespects the millions of American soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the US and the entire world from the Nazis,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Ayelet Shaked the Jewish Home colleague and Justice Minister joined the group and urged that the neo-Nazis be made to face prosecution.
“The neo-Nazis in the United States should be prosecuted,” she said Tuesday. Allowing them to march violently through American streets “was not the intention of the American Constitution. A democratic state does not have to tolerate such phenomena,” Shaked said.
Trump’s comments blaming both sides met with praise from former KKK leader and Trump supporter David Duke who tweeted: “Thank you, President Trump, for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”
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