Donald Trump released a brief statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day a couple of weeks ago. However, his statement was missing one key word: Jews. Many people realized this upon the statement’s release, and a lot of complaints started to flood in as a result. However, despite the complaints, Trump and his administration doubled down on their statement. They later explained that Jews had been purposely left out of the statement because there were other victims who suffered during the Holocaust. This is extremely problematic for several reasons.
First of all, leaving the Jews out of the statement because other groups suffered during the Holocaust is completely ridiculous. Yes, it is true that Roma, homosexuals, and people with disabilities were also targeted. However, there were not 6 million of those people who were killed. The ultimate goal of the Nazis was to exterminate the Jews. Getting rid of them was the “Final Solution”. It was the driving force behind all the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust. The fact that the Trump administration did not acknowledge this in their statement is outrageous. Senator Tim Kaine called it, “Holocaust denial.”
The statement also highlights some glaring issues about the men Trump has surrounding him in the White House. His right-hand man, Steve Bannon is a known anti-Semite. He is the former head of the alt-right publication Breitbart News. During his reign over the publication, they ran several stories with directly anti-semitic messages. He has also openly said that he doesn’t want his children going to school with Jews. Bannon is now in a position of great power as Trump’s go-to guy. This makes me really nervous.
By now, the majority of people realize that the Trump administration is oblivious to the feelings and struggles of minorities in our country. Over the next four years, it is a definite possibility that African-Americans, Muslims, Latino immigrants, women, and members of the LBGTQ community across our country will have their feelings and struggles ignored. I am fearful that because Steve Bannon now has such a large role in our government, the rights and feelings of my people, the Jews, could easily be ignored as well.
Bannon is not the only one who is guilty of anti-Semitism in the Trump administration. Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. both showed flashes of anti-Semitism during their presidential campaign. For example, Trump tweeted an image with the star of David and Hillary Clinton cropped over a pile of money that was created by white supremacists. It was quickly deleted. Additionally, his son publicly used the term, “warming up the gas chambers,” when responding to criticism. Both of these are clearly acts of anti-Semitism.
Yet another issue I have with the White House’s Holocaust statement is what it could lead to. A lot of people in our country will feel empowered by the anti-semitic message of the statement. With a message like this from the White House, there could be a major spike in hate crimes against Jewish people and other minorities in the United States. On December 6, 2016, it was reported that there had been an 115% increase in hate crimes in New York since Trump was elected. Jews were the targets of the majority of these hate crimes. As a Jew, this chills me to the bone. I don’t want to live in a country where my people have to fear being harmed or harassed every time they leave the house, solely because of their religious beliefs. As a country, we have made a decent amount of progress towards equality for minorities over the past couple of years. I don’t want all of that to just wash away with the snap of a white guy’s fingers. I don’t want to travel 50 years backwards.
Ultimately, the Trump administration’s Holocaust statement scares me. It is more blatant evidence of anti-Semitism from the new president and the people he has surrounding. It emphasizes how little Trump thinks about the struggles of minorities in the US. It could result in an even bigger increase in hate crimes across our country. All of these are clear reasons as to why the statement troubles me so deeply.
IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS