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Texas A&M Jews Cheer Their Rabbi for Standing Up to White Nationalist Richard Spencer

Following white nationalist Richard Spencer’s Tuesday night address on their campus, Jewish students and faculty at Texas A&M are pleased with the response of their school community.

“We are really proud of him for standing up for all of us,” senior Dan Rosenfield told the Forward, praising Texas A&M Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, who organized a silent demonstration against the event and confronted the “alt-right” leader at a press conference held before the speech.

Rosenberg got some criticism on social media for that exchange, in which the rabbi didn’t respond when Spencer compared Zionism to white nationalism.

“It’s a tough circumstance. I’m very proud of him for speaking up and being able to say anything at all,” college senior Aaron Blasband said. “Richard Spencer had a witty comeback, but Matt did a great job.”

Rosenfield and Blasband both said they attended the “Aggies United” event that university officials put on in the campus stadium in response to Spencer’s appearance. The event featured a range of speakers and acts, including the octogenarian Holocaust survivor Max Glauben.

Blasband said the event had a “very good vibe.” According to Ha’aretz, Glauben’s granddaughter, a senior at the university, was present in the stadium as he spoke.

She recalled a visit with her grandfather to the concentration camp in which he was imprisoned: “I remember sitting in the gas chamber with him and he kept saying, ‘Life must go on.’ You have to pull yourself up. Goodness wins. I just never thought we’d have to deal with this.”

Dianne Kraft, a dean at the university’s medical college, told Ha’aretz that she saw cause for optimism in the campus response to Spencer. “I’ve never seen such a huge outcry here,” she said to the paper. “My father was in the U.S. Air Force, so I grew up all over. I was a teenager in Germany and visited Dachau with my mother in 1966, before it was fixed up. I remember seeing the claw marks on the wall. And there was still this stench. That’s as much of a sense of the Holocaust any of us should have to take.”

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

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