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‘We knew this day was coming’: Jews react to storming of Capitol building

They compared the scene at the Capitol to the violent regimes their parents fled.

They condemned President Trump’s half-hearted response as his supporters stormed congressional offices.

They posted jarring photographs of Confederate flags flying in the halls of America’s most important government building, concluding grimly that “the Civil War isn’t over.”

Jewish leaders, writers and members of Congress reacted in real time as a pro-Trump mob beat back police and stormed the Capitol today.

The protestors disrupted the certification of President-Elect Joseph Biden’s victory. As senators and members of the House evacuated their chambers and pictures emerged of Trump supporters lounging in the offices of political leaders like Nancy Pelosi, social media lit up with alarm.

Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, called the protests “staggering” and called on Twitter to suspend President Trump’s account.

Simone Zimmerman, a co-founder of the anti-occupation activist group IfNotNow, contrasted the election of Georgia’s first Black senator with violence from those who “oppose multiracial democracy.”

Rabbinical leaders called the protests an attack on democracy.

Alexander Vindman, who testified against the Trump administration during impeachment hearings, urged Department of Defense leaders to contain the protests.

Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for President George W. Bush, suggested that Democrats were reaping what they sowed — but then walked the sentiment back with a tweet calling on President Trump to condemn the violence

Ivanka Trump posted, and then deleted, a tweet calling the protesters “American patriots” and urging them to “be peaceful.”

Many blamed President Trump, who addressed protestors this morning and later condemned Vice President Pence via Twitter for refusing to block the certification of Biden’s victory, for stoking the violence.

Others saw the protests as the logical consequence of an increasingly embittered political sphere.

Many contrasted aggressive tactics used against anti-racism protestors over the summer with the Capitol police’s seemingly less forceful response to the far-right, largely white group.

On Twitter, Jewish organizations across the ideological spectrum issued statements condemning the unrest.

Above all, the day’s events had terrifying historical echoes.

Irene Katz Connelly is a staff writer at the Forward. You can contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @katz_conn.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].


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