Prominent NYC Rabbi Slams Trump Over Charlottesville Comments
Prominent New York Rabbi Haskel Lookstein criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the violent white supremacist and Neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, Va, two weeks ago
Rabbi Lookstein, who oversaw the conversion to Judaism of the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, weighed in on the issue Wednesday along with other rabbis at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a prominent modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan.
“We are appalled by this resurgence of bigotry and anti-Semitism, and the renewed vigor of the neo-Nazis, KKK, and alt-right,” the rabbis wrote in a letter to members of the synagogue and its affiliated Ramaz School. “While we avoid politics, we are deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered in his response to this act of violence.
“We pray that our country heeds the voices of tolerance, and stays true to its vision of human rights and civil rights.”
Far-right protestors converged on Charlottesville in defense of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and brawled with counter protestors. Some of the protestors carried Nazi and Confederate flags, gave Nazi salutes and expressed anti-Semitic and racist views.
After police broke up the rally, a white supremacist, James Fields, rammed his car into a crowd of the counter protesters, killing one woman and injuring at least 19. Two police officers also died when their helicopter crashed while monitoring the rally.
US President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the deadly car ramming attack but excoriated both the left and the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville
“Racism is evil," Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
"The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others," the president declared. "To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered."
However, on Tuesday the president said that "both sides," including the alt-right and the alt-left, were to blame for the violence at the rally.
Trump’s comments were widely criticized, including by
Republicans and Jewish groups.
Trump denied equating the white supremacist and neo-Nazi demonstrators with the victim of the ramming attack Thursday.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's son Yair, as well as Republicans Overseas Israel Chairman Marc Zell, noted that both sides were violent and deserved to be condemned.
In a widely viewed Vice documentary about the events in Charlottesville that aired on HBO Tuesday, Christopher Cantwell, a vocal white supremacist, expressed disgust with Donald Trump because he “gave his daughter to a Jew.”
Cantwell asked Vice News’ reporter Elspeth Reeve, “Do you think you could feel about race like I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl?”
Prominent New York Rabbi Haskel Lookstein (pictured above) criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the violent white supremacist and Neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, Va, two weeks ago