In the Aftermath of Charlottesville & Extremism
After the fallout of the Lakewood public assistance crisis the VAAD decided to reinvent themselves. They hired a public relations agency to polish their image. On a daily basis magazine articles were now being published making the VAAD seem relevant and caring. VAAD members on Hatzola were interviewed. The benefits of VAAD related businesses such as CHEMED were mentioned. The historical significance of the leaders of the VAAD and their integral bond with Lakewood history was discussed. These articles were meant to be read by all local residents as well as the orthodox community to remind everyone of the benefits and accomplishments of the VAAD.
A few weeks later the country became obsessed with the events of an Alt Right wing march in Charlottesville to protest the removal of confederate statues . Many of the participants chanted old Nazi slogans such as "Blood and Soil" and "Jews will not replace us".
The response from Donald Trump was tepid and seemed to defend some of those marching with the Neo Nazis. Alternate speeches were given, only to once again be wiped away with the next days questionable speech. Jewish media responded by either condemning or defending the President's response. Pundits squared off all over social media, and the overall orthodox response was still supportive of the President. The Lakewood VAAD felt that they should speak up as well and decided to condemn the Presidential response to the Charlottesville protest.
They were obviously trying to seem relevant as leaders of the Lakewood community. Their PR firm must have told them that showing concern about Anti Semitism would put them in a positive light. As leaders they should show their outrage .
Many people in the Lakewood Orthodox community guffawed at the statement. They never saw a VAAD statement about any presidential actions before. Some people in the Orthodox community were outraged that the VAAD would antagonize the President. Many are still very supportive of Trump and feel we need to show our support . Whatever one may think of the VAAD position on Donald Trump's reaction to Charlottesville, one thing is abundantly clear. This statement is the most disingenuous, hypocritical statement the VAAD ever made.
Sincerely Hershel Hershkowitz