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.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Israeli Trump Backer: Both Sides At Fault In Charlottesville

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