An Open Letter From An American Jew To The President

Dear Mr. President,

Since your election there has been a significant increase in the incidence of hate crimes and hate speech throughout our country.  While I abhor all forms of bigotry, and condemn any action that is the result of the xenophobia that has seemed to grip many in our nation, I am particularly concerned with the blatant Anti-Semitism that has shown its ugly head of late.  Dozens of Jewish Community Centers, Jewish Day Schools and other Jewish institutions and organizations have received bomb threats, while two Jewish cemeteries  have been desecrated.    To deny that this sudden increase in anti-Semitic activity is related to the current environment of hate that has existed since your election is to ask us to stretch credulity beyond reason.

While the dramatic increase in anti-Semitism is shocking, what is equally shocking is your lack of response.  Your unconvincing whisper of condemnation is tantamount to silence.  It is as if you are saying to the many haters among your supporters, ” I needed to say something, but don’t worry I really don’t mean it”.   Through your tepid action you have not only failed in your role as moral leader, but have provided permission for the continued acts of hatred that have occurred.  As an American who has a right to expect that my president will provide moral leadership and utilize every tool at his disposal to provide for my security, I am disgusted by your silence and inaction.

However, what concerns me even more than the lack of moral courage you have displayed is your motivation.  Listening to your words throughout the campaign I, along with many of my family and friends, were shocked by the xenophobia you displayed and seemed to support. It caused us to be concerned that you were giving voice to and validating the hatred that has existed for many years on the outer boundaries of our society.  While there was a time when these sentiments were more openly prevalent, in recent years their acceptance had receded beneath the rocks where they belong. You, Mr. President, through the bluster in your voice, took a bulldozer to those rocks and released the toxic growth that had been there for so long.  It is your action that has unleashed the hatred and bigotry that is now growing like a cancer throughout our country.  This behavior causes me to give pause as I ponder your motivations.  I fear your vision for our country.

Mr. President, your manipulation of the truth to fit your truth is of great concern.  Your efforts to delegitimize the press and the judiciary are most troubling.  Your talk of “America First” and your militaristic priorities as you surround yourself with generals and an avowed white supremacist with anti-Semitic sentiments speaks of a troubling vision.  Your statement that we now have to start winning wars, not losing them makes me wonder who you plan to fight.  Your attitudes towards immigration and your heavy-handed methods with existing undocumented immigrants are illustrative of a pragmatism that lacks heart.  I note all of this because it is related to your reaction to the many anti-Semitic acts that have occurred.  You even inferred, when meeting with state attorneys general from around the nation, that many of these acts may have been perpetrated by Jews. Blaming the victim? Really?  It is striking that you find your voice when threatening those who are weak, but fall virtually silent when those you value little are threatened.  It is all part and parcel of the same package.

Mr. President, we have all seen where this leads before and what happens when good and decent people remain silent. Fortunately  for us, we live in a system of checks and balances.  We can only hope and demand from those who represent us that they will force you to alter your present course.   However, be assured of this.  I and millions like me will refuse to remain silent and will do everything in our power to stop you in your tracks should you attempt to corrupt our democracy with your vision of “America First”.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                                                                                        Howard Parmet


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