Trump in Florida, and the German Jews Who Voted for Hitler
This is what I’ve come to know: Any Jew who votes for Donald Trump is voting for an anti-Semite. The next time he asks you to raise your right hand, America, just say Never Again.
By BRADLEY BURSTON
I’m not a person who is easily scared. But I am terrified for the America I love.
I’m not at all used to feeling this way. I am used to Americans, Jews in particular, worrying about the safety and future of people who live where I do. But now I find myself thinking about what is about to happen to my loved ones in America. About what may happen to minorities and other people who may be rendered vulnerable by their faiths or their opinions, Jews certainly among them.
Here in Israel it’s the middle of the night. The television’s on. I’m watching Jews in Florida talk about why they’re supporting Donald Trump. And I’m thinking about the German Jews who voted for Adolf Hitler.
I’ve never felt comfortable about equating present-day political figures to Hitler. I always felt that it represented a form of Holocaust denial. My discomfort has only grown over the years, as the epithet Nazi has been thrown around so often and so loosely, by so many sides to so many conflicts.
But this time is different. Because this time, the echoes are getting much too close.
Now Trump has an hour to himself on Fox News, with sympathetic anchor Sean Hannity and a wildly admiring studio audience. He is talking about other Republican presidential candidates. But his tone suggests that he may be talking about something broader in scope. From the Fox News transcript:
“Everybody that’s attacked me is gone. Do you ever notice that? Wouldn’t that be nice for our country? Everybody…”
“(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)”
When I was small, my favorite aunt, who was a concentration camp survivor, told me that there had been Jews in Germany who, when Hitler was just starting his rise to power, supported him.
But now we all know better, other relatives were quick to add. Something like that won’t happen again. We wouldn’t let it.
I figured they were right. Until this week. Until I began to hear reminders of the observations of the Jews who’d once placed hopes in Hitler. How a leader like that could bring stability, restore a broken country to greatness. How you shouldn’t pay too much heed to what he says – it’s just what politicians need to do to get elected.
Trump is only speaking the way he is in order to win office, but once in power he will dial back, Trump supporter Chaim Bitterman said at Trump’s mass campaign rally Sunday in Boca Raton, Florida.
“There’s a difference between a presidential race and actually being president,” Bitterman observed.