(JNS.org) Jewish leaders and an Israeli government minister urged the Trump administration to condemn the violence and use of Nazi symbols by white supremacists during a violent rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett was the first Israeli politician to condemn the rally, where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 were injured when Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr., 20, rammed his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters.
“Flags and symbols that go unobstructed in the United States not only harm the Jewish community and other minorities, but humiliate the millions of American soldiers who paid with their lives to protect the U.S. and the entire world from the Nazis,” Bennett said Sunday. “It is on the leaders of the U.S. to condemn and denounce manifestations of anti-Semitism that we have seen in recent days.”
Following the violence in Charlottesville, President Donald Trump denounced “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” but was criticized for omitting an explicit condemnation of the white supremacist groups.
“The vile presence and rhetoric of the neo-Nazis who marched this weekend in Charlottesville is a reminder of the ever-present need for people of good will to stand strong, to speak loudly against hate,” said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.
“There is no place in our democratic society for such violence and intolerance,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said, “There is no rationalizing white supremacy and no room for this vile bigotry. It is un-American and it needs to be condemned without hesitation.”
On Monday, President Trump ordered the Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into the deadly incident. He also specifically called the perpetrators "white supremacists" and "neo-Nazis," saying that "justice will be delivered."