Skip To Content

Israeli Trump Backer: Both Sides At Fault In Charlottesville

As the “Republican Leader” cited by your paper, I strongly protest your use of the August 14, 2017 headline “Israeli Trump Backer Suggests ‘Leftists’ Set Up Deadly Charlottesville Car-Ramming.” This is journalism at its yellowist, and a gross misrepresentation of the thrust of my comments. You should be embarrassed. First, I shouldn’t have to clarify this for any publication, but since you don’t seem to have understood this: I condemn Nazism; I condemn white supremacy; I condemn murder; I condemn political violence. Period.

That said, I gave in good faith some fairly developed and nuanced answers to a Haaretz reporter about the very serious events in Charlottesville. First, I dispelled the notion [suggested by the Haaretz reporter] that the violence was somehow the fault of President Trump. I then gave a detailed accounting of the factors that went into the violence — not just the white supremacists, but the thugs from the “antifa” left who showed up looking for a fight, the ensuing brawls, and the failure of the local government and police to maintain order and keep the factions away from each other, even though aware of the combustible mix developing. I also mentioned that the ostensible source of the entire march was an ill-conceived leftist-devised removal of a statue of one of the most highly regarded Americans in history — and a U.S. military hero long before the Civil War — Robert E. Lee. (Barracks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were named in Lee’s honor even 100 years after the Civil War).

However, the original Haaretz headline, “Republican Leader in Israel Hails Robert E. Lee as ‘Great Man,’ Blames ‘Leftist Thugs’ for Charlottesville Violence,” ridiculously distilled the essence of my comments as hailing Robert E. Lee, absent any context, and blaming leftist thugs for the Charlottesville violence. Furthermore, you hid my actual comments behind a paywall — most people saw only the misleading inflammatory headline. Such “journalism” is malevolent enough under ordinary circumstances; but here, where the political situation is already inflamed, such sensationalist stunts are outright dangerous, and beneath contempt. Using such bad-faith tactics to score cheap political points against those you see as your ideological opponents, especially under these circumstances, is reprehensible.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.