Jewish leaders on the failed white nationalist DC march

A Couple Dozen Neo-Nazis Got The Red Carpet Treatment From DC Law Enforcement — by Jessica Schulberg, Travis Waldron, and Doha Madani: “When the small band of neo-Nazis approached a park in front of the White House, there were several hundred counterprotesters awaiting them. In some ways, the scene was a victory for anti-racist organizers. Unlike last year, when racists overwhelmed the city of Charlottesville, white supremacist organizer Jason Kessler could scarcely pull together enough racists this year to fill a train car.” [HuffPost]

— “Kessler had tried to book former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and neo-Nazi Patrick Little as speakers, but they didn’t come.” [DailyBeast]

Ron Halber, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, tell us… “The big lesson of [yesterday] was that hate didn’t win. I think people should take comfort in that. The white supremacists failed miserably. They were dwarfed by the counter-protesters. But even more important were the over 200 congregations, representing over a dozen faiths, that signed a declaration of unity. The protesters came here to inspire hate and they only became the stimulus to love, unity and for equality. This is a wonderful day of rejecting hate in America, and it makes it even more significant because that rejection took place in our nation’s capital.”

“But this cannot be the end,” Halber continued. “I would hope that the bringing together of people might translate into a lowering of the rhetoric in U.S. political discourse on both sides. Our elected officials, in general, have to do a better job in setting a tone of bipartisanship and compromise, and not hurling political bombs at each other. There must be constant vigilance in all sectors of society — and I don’t mean just the White House. I mean Governors and members of Congress, clergy, community leaders, business and labor leaders — to reject polarization. We need to bring back civil discourse that used to be a hallmark of American politics. We used to able to disagree without being disagreeable. Today, we disagree and are disagreeable. And there clearly has to be immediate and unequivocal condemnation of racism, bigotry against any group by both sides of the aisle whenever it rears its ugly head.”

Rabbi Aaron Alexander of Adas Israel, who spoke at the United to Love rally on the National Mall yesterday, emails us… “I sounded the shofar — just feet from the Capitol Building — for a large and diverse crowd of faith leaders and followers, those who united to share how the power of expansive love brings joy and light in God’s world. That potency of sight and sound reaffirmed for me the narrative of this great country that is one of its core value—we are in this together—all of us. It is because of our diversity that we generate opportunities for human thriving, not despite them.”

“At the same time, just blocks away from us a small group of Neo-Nazi White Supremacists tried to rally around their wholly dark message of hate and division. And there, too, they were drowned out by love (and rain!).

“But their small numbers don’t reflect the entire reality of where we are. Their message of anti-everything-not-white resonates with far too many Americans. Our unique role as communities of faith is to both lift up and protect those who are targets of these voices, and also proclaim our Divine message of love and unity as loudly as we can, and with as diverse a coalition of people as we can.”

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