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.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the former Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.
After Richard Spencer Event, Texas A&M Jews Cheer Their Community and Rabbi Matt Rosenberg