Wednesday, December 7th | 13 Kislev 5783

August 23, 2017 2:47 pm

What Elie Wiesel Would Have Told Trump

avatar by David Baron


The late Professor Elie Wiesel, speaking at the Algemeiner’s 40th anniversary gala, on April 22, 2013. Photo: Sarah Rogers / Algemeiner.

The late Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel stood up to Ronald Reagan when the 40th president visited the graves of Nazi war criminals in Bitburg, Germany in May 1985.

Wiesel told the president that he should not be visiting the graves of German perpetrators of the Holocaust, but should be standing with the brave American GIs who liberated Europe and the concentration camps.

But Reagan’s error did not compare to the one made by Donald Trump last week.

The choice in Charlottesville was clear, and there was no moral equivalency.  As Wiesel told Reagan, “The issue here is not politics, but good and evil, and we must never confuse them.”

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President Trump must stand against racism — even if he believes that the racists’ numbers are small, and that a majority of white Americans are decent people who twice elected an African American as president. Even if those who protested the neo-Nazis openly detest Trump and his agenda, Trump still has the obligation to stand with them against the racists, bigots and antisemites who marched in Charlottesville.

As Jews, we know from bitter experience that the Nazis were, at first, few in number — yet they thrived because of all those silent “good folks” who looked the other way.

Many ordinary Germans did not participate in the brutality, but through their apathy, fear and indifference, they enabled the Nazi pedagogy of poison and racial hatred to become the accepted norm.

Where were the leaders of society — the educators, the physicians, the philosophers, the workers, the clergy, etc.?  Had they taken a stand, perhaps the ugliest chapter in human history might have ended differently.

The American people have made their voices heard — they stand united in opposition to the fanatical few who choose hate as their message.

President Trump must stand for inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.

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