After 11 Jews were massacred by a white nationalist in Pittsburgh on October 27, two Israeli officials attempted to exploit the tragedy so as to demonize Palestinian solidarity — ambassador Ron Dermer and education minister Naftali Bennett. Now here’s another offender; last week, Dani Dayan, the Israeli consul general in New York, spoke at a vigil for Pittsburgh organized by the American Jewish Committee and used the occasion to smear Jeremy Corbyn as an “anti-Semite” and to call Iran a “genocidal regime.”
The Netanyahu administration is once again showing contempt for American Jews. Dayan completely avoided the topic of Donald Trump’s nationalist and racist rhetoric — even though three out of four American Jews hold Trump responsible for the massacre.
Dayan did say some healing words — that he had flown to Pittsburgh on the night of the massacre and gone to the Tree of Life synagogue after midnight to say prayers and commune with the spirits of the dead. But he then launched into the political lessons of the massacre, and located neo-Nazi demons in Jeremy Corbyn of Britain and the Iranian government, without saying a word against Donald Trump’s racist comments.
In a few weeks at the international Holocaust remembrance day, we will all together pledge, Never again. My friends, Never is now. Never is now in Europe, never is now in the United States of America. Never is now in other parts of the globe. We have to give substance to that pledge, not to make it a shallow cliche . . .
My friends we are not in Germany of 1938, no. We are not even in Russia in the previous turn of the century, no. But we will never let the situation get there. This time we are more experienced, and we know as Jews, that we have to stop this horror. That we have to put an end to these calamities much earlier than we did previously.
And this time we have the strength to do that, and we will do that. We will not accept the situation and we will call it out when the leader of the opposition of a P5 country is an anti-Semite. We will not be silent when a genocidal regime in Teheran is embraced into the family of nations. And we will not be silent when Nazis march in the streets of Charlottesville with impunity.
Polling shows that 2/3 of American Jews are against the withdrawal from the Iran deal and 3/4 of them hold Trump at least “somewhat responsible” for the deadly attack in Pittsburgh. Dayan of course never mentioned Trump. Though he did finger Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader in the UK, who has stood up for Palestinian rights again and again. As if Corbyn had anything to do with the murder of 11 Jews while praying in a synagogue.
Dayan went on to call on the U.S. to change its laws on free speech. He said that Israeli and European democracies “cannot understand how marching in Charlottesville with Nazi flags is not a crime in this country, with all due respect to the First Amendment . . .”
We cannot understand how a leader, not just a person that writes posts on Facebook, a leader in some communities of this country, can call the Jews “termites” with impunity. This must change in this country. There are things that inevitably conduce to this [gesturing at faces of the dead], and this must be stopped by the authorities of this country, in the federal, and the state and the city level right now. That is the meaning of Never again.
Notice that white nationalism seems to be an afterthought for Dayan, and he of course dredges up the hateful “termites” comment by Louis Farrakhan, a marginal figure in America who remains marginal. Older Americans may have been surprised to learn that Farrakhan is still alive, while younger people have never heard of him.