OPINION: Why It’s Right to Condemn Violence From the Far-Right and Far-Left
Less than three months ago, President Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one of holiest sites in Judaism.
Wearing a black yarmulke, Trump laid his hand on the wall, closed his eyes, and prayed “for wisdom from God.”
On the trip, he was accompanied by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, and daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism in 2009.
Three months later, in the aftermath of deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, media organizations, pundits, and politicians are claiming that the president is empowering neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Let that sink in.
A man who has shown such respect and openness to Judaism is accused of supporting the very ideology that saw an estimated 6 million Jews brutally murdered in the Holocaust.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at Trump Tower, the president condemned neo-Nazis three times and white nationalists twice.
“They should be condemned totally,” the president said.
Just a day before, the president gave a statement in which he said that “racism is evil” and that “those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Trump’s firm stance against racism is not surprising, as he is a firm believer in the very documents that founded this nation. By definition, the Declaration of Independence opposed any divisions between men, as it stated that all men were created equally by God.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. These are the words immortalized in the Declaration.
Toward the end of his inaugural address in January, Trump echoed the Declaration’s principle of divinely created equality when he said, “And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.”
In his remarks on Aug. 15, the president also marked the tragic death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car driven by someone believed to be a neo-Nazi drove into left-wing protesters. Trump described Heyer as “an incredible young woman.”
In his remarks, however, Trump did not stop at condemning neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and their depraved ideology. He also said that there was blame on the other side.
He said that the other side had also acted violently and had come “violently attacking the other group,” while not having a permit to protest.
The president specifically called out the far-left Antifa extremist group, saying, “You see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats.”
The outrage that ensued was deafening. How could Trump blame both sides for the violence?
Racism and fascism are repugnant ideologies that should be condemned and have no place in America or any place in the world. So what about “the other side” that Trump referred to?
The Antifa extremist group has its roots in 1920s Germany, where it was part of a Soviet front group with the goal of installing communist dictatorship in Germany.
Following the successful revolution in Russia, the communists believed Germany would see the next revolution, as it had the second-largest communist party after Russia.
The Antifa group was the violent wing of Germany’s KPD, the Communist Party of Germany, and operated under the umbrella of being against fascists.
In reality, the group labelled everyone who opposed its communist ideology as fascists. Ironically, the first fascist movement itself was founded by Benito Mussolini in Italy, a Marxist and Socialist who had been expelled from Italy’s Socialist Party in 1914 for his support for World War I.
In the United States, the group has been involved in a number of violent protests this year. While it is true that Antifa opposes white nationalists, it also seeks to silence anyone it does not agree with. In February, the University of California–Berkeley was forced to cancel a speech by controversial right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos after members of the group, dressed in all black, set fires and smashed university buildings. In April, conservative author Ann Coulter was forced to cancel a speech at the university following threats of violence by Antifa and other left-wing groups.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín in April called out both alt-right and Antifa extremists following scuffles in his city.
“We absolutely oppose the use of violence in any way. And I think both sides are responsible. I hold as much frustration and blame for Antifa as I do for some of the right-wing groups,” Arreguín told Mother Jones at the time.
Antifa is overtly anti-police, does not recognize the authority of the law, and frequently burns American flags.
The very ideology it was founded on—communism—has been responsible for the deaths of at least 100 million people around the world, according to “The Black Book of Communism,” published by Harvard University Press. Other estimates peg the number of deaths to be much higher.
Just like fascism, communism is a destructive ideology that leads to intolerance, violence, and death.
To this day, communism continues to oppress more than a billion people around the world. In the world’s most populous nation, China, more than 1.3 billion people live day in and day out under communist rule. Religious believers continue to be persecuted and tortured for their beliefs. Horrendous actions that recall Nazi practices, such as the harvesting and selling of organs from live prisoners of conscience, continue to take place to this day.
In pointing to the violence perpetrated by both sides, Trump stood up against both radical right- and radical left-wing ideologies—both of which should be condemned and have no place in America, or any place in the world.