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Racist Uniformity

It was evening

and it was morning.

We learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn our synagogue.

A frail, elderly woman approached me as I stood on the steps in front of our sanctuary, crying, to tell me that while she was Roman Catholic, she wanted to stay and watch over the synagogue with us. At one point, she asked, “Why do they hate you?” I had no answer.

I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer. John Aguilar, a 30-year Navy veteran, took it upon himself to stand watch along with our armed guard. He just felt he should.

Here is what I witnessed:

For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, “There’s the synagogue!” followed by chants of “Seig Heil.” Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols. A guy in a white polo shirt walked by the synagogue a few times, arousing suspicion. Was he casing the building, or trying to build up courage to commit a crime? We didn’t know.

Later, I noticed that the man accused in the automobile terror attack wore the same polo shirt; apparently it’s the uniform of a white supremacist group. Even now, that gives me a chill.

Alan Zimmerman, President, Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA

(all words by Alan Zimmerman, edited by David Sanders)

Comments 4

  1. I was on the board at Iliff School of theology. I met Dr George Tinker,the chief of the Osage nation at the university, and I started attending Native American ceremonies on Sundays at the Four winds church in Denver. Here I got a very different narrative of how the west was LOST….a tale of the Native american GENOCIDE. An raw Indian take of the American romance of how the west was WON. The history of Native displacement was not a pleasant history,a horrific story of 500 years of the natives being treated as the Canaanites of old, to be removed from their lands,as it is the promised land for the NEW CHOSEN ONES. It made it possible for good christian folk, to kill other folk and steal their land. Native Americans got safely parked on reservations, so far away from urban centers, where they could be ignored in their poverty, except for the CASINO Indians. In the Pine Ridge reservation, the unemployment rate is at 87%-90%. The Nazi rhetoric is one of violence. Unless America begins to own its history of violence, none of us will be healthy, as we will continue to denigrate our environment, continue to pursue a militarized foreign policy, to use violence or the threat of violence to get our way in the world…If we told our stories as TRAGEDIES, rather than romances…may be we would be more open to learn about our selves with greater transparency. God did not send any body to the continent to kill any of our ancestors. The history of christianity in the modern world has gone hand in hand with colonialism, and the object was conquest. From the early 15th century to now.1900 European nations controlled 84% of the land mass on the planet. We have to own this tragic history of violence and do some thing right. The Nazi symbols, go hand in hand, with the belief, that god is gracious to this special group of people who landed on Plymouth Rock, and the enemy is handed to them to destroy. This is the under side of the story that got swept under the rug. The Nazi’s chanted…”You will not replace us”…Really…Whose story of replacement are they projecting????
    We vote our first black president into office and there is a back lash so deep and illogocal. Next I hear of the killings at the synagogue…It challenges us to stir up the mud from the bottom of the pot. We don’t get to transform the world by making disciples for Christ,nor white supremacy. The birthing pangs of America, were carried on the broken backs of Blacks and Native Americans. We have to own this tragic history of violence and do some thing right. Let us start by living with harmony with all our relatives…the buffalo, eagles,mountains,jewish believers, non believers, blacks,brown…It is not about who gets the most riches out of this world, by making sure some others get less… We have to live in harmony and balance again…and look at the past…What keeps TRAUMA rearing its ugly head in the complex interplay of past and present?…How do we put our haunting memories to rest? as we all carry culpability…I felt this raw fear when Trump got elected…My PTSD and trauma went up a HUGE notch, when Charlottesville buried lady grace a year ago. My deepest fears for my jewish friends came to pass in the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. Our pain and love for each other are two sides of the coin. The coin can’t be flipped to chance any more,as much too much has been lost already…

  2. One cockemamie idea of the Nazi’s is that JEWS OWN THE INTERNATIONAL BANKING SPHERES…They don’t understand the real cause and effect policies that disenfranchised so many people as a result of globalism. You have to understand what neoliberalism is to get a hold of the policy changes that have contributed to tribalism on a global scale. JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE IS is a wrong analysis of a deep seated problem, that haunts us.
    What is Neoliberalism?

    A Brief Definition for Activists
    Publisher Name:
    National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
    Article Author:
    Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia

    “Neo-liberalism” is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.

    “Liberalism” can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Rightwing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate “liberals” — meaning the political type — have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.

    “Neo” means we are talking about a new kind of liberalism. So what was the old kind? The liberal school of economics became famous in Europe when Adam Smith, an Scottish economist, published a book in 1776 called THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. He and others advocated the abolition of government intervention in economic matters. No restrictions on manufacturing, no barriers to commerce, no tariffs, he said; free trade was the best way for a nation’s economy to develop. Such ideas were “liberal” in the sense of no controls. This application of individualism encouraged “free” enterprise,” “free” competition — which came to mean, free for the capitalists to make huge profits as they wished.

    Economic liberalism prevailed in the United States through the 1800s and early 1900s. Then the Great Depression of the 1930s led an economist named John Maynard Keynes to a theory that challenged liberalism as the best policy for capitalists. He said, in essence, that full employment is necessary for capitalism to grow and it can be achieved only if governments and central banks intervene to increase employment. These ideas had much influence on President Roosevelt’s New Deal — which did improve life for many people. The belief that government should advance the common good became widely accepted.

    But the capitalist crisis over the last 25 years, with its shrinking
    profit rates, inspired the corporate elite to revive economic liberalism. That’s what makes it “neo” or new. Now, with the rapid globalization of the capitalist economy, we are seeing neo-liberalism on a global scale.

    A memorable definition of this process came from Subcomandante Marcos at the Zapatista-sponsored Encuentro Intercontinental por la Humanidad y contra el Neo-liberalismo (Inter-continental Encounter for Humanity and Against Neo-liberalism) of August 1996 in Chiapas when he said: “what the Right offers is to turn the world into one big mall where they can buy Indians here, women there ….” and he might have added, children, immigrants, workers or even a whole country like Mexico.”

    The main points of neo-liberalism include:

    THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.

    CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.

    DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environmentand safety on the job.

    PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.

    ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy.”

    Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. It is raging all over Latin America. The first clear example of neo-liberalism at work came in Chile (with thanks to University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman), after the CIA-supported coup against the popularly elected Allende regime in 1973. Other countries followed, with some of the worst effects in Mexico where wages declined 40 to 50% in the first year of NAFTA while the cost of living rose by 80%. Over 20,000 small and medium businesses have failed and more than 1,000 state-owned enterprises have been privatized in Mexico. As one scholar said, “Neoliberalism means the neo-colonization of Latin America.”

    In the United States neo-liberalism is destroying welfare programs;
    attacking the rights of labor (including all immigrant workers); and
    cutbacking social programs. The Republican “Contract” on America is pure
    neo-liberalism. Its supporters are working hard to deny protection to
    children, youth, women, the planet itself — and trying to trick us into
    acceptance by saying this will “get government off my back.” The
    beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world’s people. For
    the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before: suffering
    without the small, hard-won gains of the last 60 years, suffering without
    end.

    Elizabeth Martinez is a longtime civil rights activist and author of several books, including “500 Years of Chicano History in Photographs.”

    Arnoldo Garcia is a member of the Oakland-based Comite Emiliano Zapata, affiliated to the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico.

    Both writers attended the Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and against Neoliberalism, held July 27 – August 3,1996, in La Realidad, Chiapas.

  3. “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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