Robert wrote:Why was there a need to protest this deluded small radical group? Ignoring them takes all their power away. if no one is getting all worked up, they loose their power and quiet their voice. Look at all the publicity they have gotten now.
This same group marched Friday night yelling very crude things about Jews. No one was hurt, and no property was damaged. No one really knew much about it. Why? Almost no one was there to pay attention. What they said Friday night was just as wrong and insulting as Saturday. They were all carrying torches Friday night. Yet, no fires were started. No one was harmed. Not because this group was so peaceful or controlled, but it is hard to hit something that is not there.
I'm not sure how to respond to this. I don't agree that since there wasn't physical damage that there wasn't harm done by the Friday night march. Historically, both the KKK and Nazi Party used torchlight parades as a way to intimidate their enemies.
From Forbes:https://www.forbes.com/sites/drsarahbon ... imidation/
If we look to modern history to understand how torches became a symbol of not only intimidation but specifically racial intimidation, we must look both to America in the aftermath of the Civil War and to Nazi Germany of the 1930s and 40s. In response to the rights given to African-Americans following the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan formed in Pulaski, Tennessee in the late 1860s. The group took their nomenclature from the Greek word κύκλος, which means "circle"; a word often used in antiquity to refer to how hunters encircled their game. Torches became a consistently described part of the Klan's early parades and use of visual intimidation. They would continue to be a terrifying feature of the organization when it reemerged in the early 20th century.
From Alan Zimmerman, president of Congregation Israel Beth El in Charlottesville:http://reformjudaism.org/blog/2017/08/1 ... =Zimmerman
On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. (Even the police department’s limited promise of an observer near our building was not kept — and note, we did not ask for protection of our property, only our people as they worshipped).
Forty congregants were inside. Here’s what I witnessed during that time.
For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them. Perhaps their presence was just a coincidence, and I’m paranoid. I don’t know.
Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, “There's the synagogue!” followed by chants of “Seig Heil” and other anti-Semitic language. 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 as the man who kept walking by our synagogue; apparently it’s the uniform of a white supremacist group. Even now, that gives me a chill.
When services ended, my heart broke as I advised congregants that it would be safer to leave the temple through the back entrance rather than through the front, and to please go in groups.
Soon, we learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn our synagogue. I sat with one of our rabbis and wondered whether we should go back to the temple to protect the building. What could I do if I were there? Fortunately, it was just talk – but we had already deemed such an attack within the realm of possibilities, taking the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises.
The precautionary removal of the Torah from a synagogue is a really, really big deal.
At the end of the day, we felt we had no choice but to cancel a Havdalah service at a congregant’s home. It had been announced on a public Facebook page, and we were fearful that Nazi elements might be aware of the event. Again, we sought police protection – not a battalion of police, just a single officer – but we were told simply to cancel the event.
What bothers me about your post is that you're not a target of the KKK and the Neo-Nazis. We're not the people who white supremacists are threatening or trying to intimidate. We're not its victims. How can any of us declare that no harm was done? How can you know that?