Earlier this month, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying graffiti was found on the wall of the Temple De Hirsch Sinai, a Seattle synagogue.
On one wall, as can be seen in the image below, the message “Holocaust is fake history” was spray-painted, with the letter “S” in each word turned into a dollar sign.
In response to the graffiti, Daniel Weiner, the senior rabbi at the Temple De Hirsch Sinai, said:
‘The vast majority of Americans need to stand up to stand up and resist this type of intolerance and to demonstrate in no uncertain terms, that it is not acceptable and not permissible.’
Weiner spoke further about the graffiti, and his belief that it is a symptom of a much larger issue, in an op-ed that was published on Saturday by The Seattle Times.
In his editorial, Weiner pointed out the fact that the term “fake,” which was used to describe the holocaust in the graffiti discussed above, has also been used judiciously by President Trump, a correlation that cannot be ignored.
‘Though employed by both sides of the political divide, the stigmatic label “fake” has become most associated with our current Commander-in-Chief…I saw a correlation, not causation. Yet that correlation evokes grave concerns that transcend who actually had their finger on the spray can.’
Weiner went on to explain that it is hard to ignore the “intersections between Trump associates and the ‘alt-right,'” which he described as a “cleansing euphemism for white supremacy.”
‘The president has, unsurprisingly, garnered the support of the anti-Semitic fringe by speaking in the codes and memes most closely associated with their base ideology.’
The rabbi then addressed Trump’s use of the word “fake” to describe “all credible journalism that does not support his position or probes suspicious ties to foreign adversaries.” According to Weiner, this behavior “is the hallmark of authoritarian regimes that have, among their many crimes, persecuted Jews.”
With this fact in mind, Weiner argues that it is not a “seismic leap” for him to draw a connection between President Trump and the bigoted individuals who vandalized his synagogue.
Towards the end of his piece, Weiner was careful to note that he was “not blaming the president for directly inspiring the sick, the bigoted and the hateful to unleash their perversions of reality to intimidate.” However, he also pointed out that Trump does hold some responsibility.
‘Yet I do not exonerate him for some responsibility in creating a climate that empowers and gives license to those who feel their time has come in a newly reclaimed, whitened America.’
Weiner ended his piece by expressing his hope that, in the future, the nation will “transcend the cycles of cynicism, tribalism, and division.”
‘In time, these words of hate will fade beneath the painter’s brush, as we turn again to what lies ahead, perhaps a bit more chastened by this violation in the heart of azure Seattle, but fortified by the love of the larger community and the promise of a nation that will transcend the cycles of cynicism, tribalism and division that currently afflict us.’
Read Weiner’s full op-ed here.
Featured image via Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto via Getty Images.