There are no statues of Adolph Hitler in Germany.
Now if you think like Trump, which is to say not at all, there should be. After all, Hitler played an important role in German history, is a reflection of German culture, is a historical figure, maybe was on the wrong side of a war but was a big part of that war.
We are a very divided country, to the point we don’t really understand each other, do feel the need to viciously denounce those who don’t see things as we do.
I’ve encountered that truth in several ways recently. One was an email in response to my column blasting Trump for equating neo Nazis and those opposed to neo Nazis. After all, sayeth Trump, there are “fine people” on both sides. I wrote how morally repugnant that was, and so got an email from someone who began his attack on me by noting that all leftists, all liberals, are anti-Semitic, meaning that I am anti-Semitic.
Okay. I already told you about the wacky Dr. Ira who left me two voicemails to say I am not a journalist, not a writer and shouldn’t be allowed to have a column in this paper. See, right wingers like him believe in free speech, as long as it’s speech they totally agree with. This week, I got a voicemail from someone saying I can’t possibly be a reader because if I ever read anything I would realize how wrong and ignorant I am. So one tells me I’m not a writer, the other tells me I’m not a reader. I’ll spare others out there the trouble of leaving me a voicemail, by admitting I am not good at math.
And then there was my encounter with an acquaintance who I ran into on the street one night. He, of course, told me how great Trump is and how terrible Obama and Hillary were. And so I asked him what makes Trump so great and what made Obama and Hillary so horrible. I noted how Trump has not moved the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as he promised to do, noted he didn’t mention Jews in his statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, noted that by withdrawing American troops aiding the rebels in Syria, he has allowed Russia and Iran to move forces close to Israel’s border on the Golan Heights, noted how he has over and over refused to condemn anti-Semitism, and of course noted the recent episode where Trump let us know that neo Nazis carrying flags with swastikas on them and shouting “Jews will not replace us” are really not bad people.
I further noted how Obama signed an agreement to provide $36 billion in aid to Israel, how he defeated an effort at the UN to recognize a state of Palestine, how he provided Israel with the Iron Dome missile defense system. My friend was absolutely stunned. He simply took it as a matter of faith that Trump good, Obama bad. And I must admit I was absolutely stunned that there are still so many Jews who are firmly in Trump’s camp, think he’s the best thing to happen to the Jews since sliced bagels.
We really don’t understand each other these days. And so I can’t understand those who think the idea of keeping statues of Confederate leaders in place is a good thing. Doing so would be exactly like Germany having statues of Hitler and Goering and Goebbels spread throughout the Deutschland.
Trump, who called statues commemorating the Confederacy as things of “beauty” that will be “greatly missed,” says if we take down statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson then why not do the same for statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The difference is, of course, that Washington and Jefferson did so much to create this country and Lee and Jackson did so much to destroy it, that Washington and Jefferson were patriots and Lee and Jackson were traitors, that Washington and Jefferson wrote about all men being created equal and created a system designed to promote that, while Lee and Jackson fought for the right of some men to keep other men and women as slaves.
This is one of those issues that while not Jewish is very Jewish. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of anyone who is offended by those Confederate statues, who see them as celebrating their oppression, who understand many of the Confederate statues and monuments, as University of North Carolina historian Karen L. Cox wrote, were built between 1895 and World War I at the behest of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, just as Jim Crow laws were being established, and that many others were put up in the 1950s, during a period of Southern resistance to the civil rights movement.
“They were part of a campaign to paint the Southern cause in the Civil War as just and slavery as a benevolent institution,” Cox wrote, “and their installation came against a backdrop of Jim Crow violence and oppression of African Americans. The monuments were put up as explicit symbols of white supremacy.”
As Jews, how would we feel if there were statues of Hitler in Berlin, statues of those who wrote the Nuremberg laws in Nuremberg, statues of Rommel and other Nazi generals in Munich? Too often Jews figure if it’s not about us, there’s no need for us to feel what those who are offended or pained are feeling. It’s why it is to Israel’s everlasting shame that it was one of the few countries on earth that had diplomatic relations with apartheid South Africa, the justification being that Israel at that time had so few friends in the world it couldn’t afford to reject any country that would have diplomatic relations with it. Not understanding or being sensitive to the fact that to the black community, apartheid was to them like the Holocaust is to us, the South African regime like the Third Reich.
And so as far as Confederate statues, as Jon Levine wrote on mediatite.com, “if Jewish people demanded the condemnation and ostracism of everyone in history who held anti-Semitic views, we’d scarcely be able to leave the house. When I look at that statue of Robert E. Lee, I see a slave holder, but first and foremost, I see a man who aided in –even led — the slaughter of more than 600,000 Americans. He didn’t just own slaves, he killed his own people to maintain that institution… To celebrate the treason of Lee and his friends with public monuments is a grievous insult to the patriotic Americans who died to save our nation.”
Speaking of grievous insults, many commentators noted that when Trump had his insane press conference in Trump Tower in which he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, said both sides had fine people in them, how horrible it must have been for the two Jews standing right at his side, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and head of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn.
What, many wondered, must it have been like for those two Jews to have to stand there and listen as neo Nazis were being made excuse for, to listen as neo Nazis who marched giving the Nazi salute, were said to include fine people.
I personally found it hard to have much sympathy for Mnuchin and Cohn first because like so many Jews around Trump they have sold their Jewish souls for power. Any self-respecting Jew would have surely quit the next day after that press conference. But Cohn wants to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve and Mnuchin wants to keep spending taxpayers’ money to show everyone what a big shot he is.
Which brings me to the second reason I have no sympathy for Mnuchin and Cohn and which leads me to ask a question. How is it that almost all the Jews in Trump world are such creeps? You have ignorant, arrogant Jared who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and who always seems to be on a skiing trip whenever things get hot and who can never remember meeting with any Russian; you have Steve Miller who actually looks like a Nazi and who is leading the anti-immigrant movement in Trump world, who has written all of Trump’s darkest speeches, who mocked a CNN reporter and who once said on national TV that the president’s decisions “must not be questioned.” And you have Trump’s creepy lawyer Jay Sekulow, a Brooklyn born Jew who is a member of Jews for Jesus; and you have Trump’s personal creepy lawyer Michael Cohen who threatens violence against people and posts pictures of his daughter half naked on the internet.
There is a whole bunch of other loathsome Jews around Trump and not one decent Jew around him. But let’s focus on Mnuchin and Cohn, the poor saps who stood there and listened to their boss stand up for neo Nazis.
Cohn used to be the number two guy at Goldman Sachs. When the number one guy, another Jew, Lloyd Blankfein, was diagnosed with cancer, Cohn, with his Yiddishe neshama, decided that Lloyd out for cancer treatment would be the perfect time to try for a coup and so he went to the company’s chairman of the board to suggest that he take over Blankfein’s job. And yes now I understand why he’s in Trump world.
But when it comes to creeps Mnuchin takes the cake. He’s a guy who made his millions kicking people out of their homes, foreclosing on them the minute he could find an excuse to do so. But besides his business creepiness, there’s a lot of personal creepiness. Mnuchin is on his third wife. Indeed he got married just a few months ago for the third time, the wedding, of course, at Trump’s hotel in Washington.
His new bride was in the news this week for showing that Steve found his perfect match in terms of creepiness. Seems that the bride, whose name is Linda Linton, recently accompanied Steve on a day trip to Fort Knox in Kentucky. They both flew on a government jet. Now it’s rare for Cabinet members to use a government plane when traveling inside the country, and unheard of for them to bring their wife along. Steve did both.
Linton, wanting to show how powerful and privileged she is, posted a picture on Instagram showing her and Steve getting off the plane, which included a caption bearing a series of hashtags of the brands she wore: “#rolandmouret, #hermesscarf, #tomford and #valentino.” When one Instagram user commented “Glad we could pay for your little getaway,” Linton unleashed a tirade in which she accused the user of not paying as much in taxes as her and loaded husband Steve. “Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self-sacrifice to your country?” Linton wrote. Marie Antoinette call your office.
Steve Mnuchin, who is to the Jewish community what a statue of Robert E. Lee is to civil rights.