A Lancaster County rabbi addresses the antisemitic and racist ‘great replacement theory’ [column] – LNP | LancasterOnline

Posted By on June 6, 2022

There is an illness in our country today.

Actually, theres nothing new about it. It seems to be part of American life, always just below the surface until someone or some event allows it to bubble to the top. It has gone by a variety of names and taken a variety of forms.

For the likes of Charles Lindbergh, in the early 1940s, it was the America First movement, which warned against getting entangled in European alliances in other words, in the effort to beat back Adolf Hitlers military advances.

Perhaps trying to sound more sophisticated, some are now calling it replacement theory, or even the great replacement theory. Referring to it as a theory makes it sound almost scientific, like the theory of relativity or the theory of evolution. Great replacement theory sounds as scholarly as Albert Einsteins unified field theory.

Lets please start calling this exactly what it is Nazism. It is everything our country fought against from 1941-1945 at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives.

Replacement theory is a form of hatred that says there is a master race and a master narrative and anyone who doesnt fit that profile is less than. Its the belief that immigrants, refugees and Americans of color in a plot allegedly devised by Jews are out to rob America of its true character by displacing the white majority through immigration, intermarriage and violence. It is a view that was embraced, authorities said, by the Buffalo supermarket shooter who killed 10 African Americans on May 14. And it has gained prominence through the likes of Fox host Tucker Carlson.

Let me remind you of Charlottesville, Virginia, on two August days in 2017. Bearing torches and chanting, Jews will not replace us, white supremacist hate groups first marched on the University of Virginia campus. The next day, at a planned Unite the Right rally, riots broke out between the white supremacists and counterprotesters, and counterprotester Heather Heyer was murdered when a neo-Nazi intentionally drove his car into the crowd. The white supremacist extremists were upset that a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was to be taken down, despite the fact that Lee was a traitor against the United States who waged war against the Union at the cost of thousands upon thousands of lives in part to defend slavery.

In an interview concerning the event, President Donald Trump said, You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. No sir, former President Trump. Ill accept that there were evil people on both sides, but there were no fine people threatening Black and Jewish Americans. White supremacy and antisemitism have no place in America.

I am the grandchild of immigrants. I was raised just 30 miles from the Statue of Liberty, a site that was part of my growing up, a site at which I still marvel today. It is one of our national shrines. On its base is the poem, The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, which says in part:

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she

With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

It seems that some who call themselves patriots mock and despise this great American symbol.

My grandparents were the huddled masses. They didnt find the U.S. streets paved with gold, but they did find a land with freedoms that Jews hadnt known in centuries. As Eastern European Jewish immigrants, they were barely tolerable. They didnt have the Northern European pedigree that fit the standard of being desirable. White supremacist groups in America are still preaching this brand of discrimination today, but even more vocally against Black, Latino and Asian people who seek safety in our country.

I know what these people want America to be, but what do we want it to be?

Is it the false destructive narrative of those who would join the white nationalist likes of the Proud Boys, whose members allegedly played a pivotal role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, or Patriot Front, which is recruiting members in Pennsylvania?

Or was it best stated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in addressing an assembly of the Daughters of the American Revolution? He is quoted as having opened his speech with the words My fellow immigrants."

Is it the people of our community who make Lancaster County the place it has long been as a haven for refugees and immigrants? Or those of the National Justice Party, which announced its creation at an August 2020 rally at a Lancaster Township barn and declared, as LNP | LancasterOnline reported, the white race to be under attack and the enemy to be capitalism, Zionism and the international Jewish oligarchy, saying These are the people that are oppressing us?

Lancaster County: Theres an old Yiddish expression that translated says: You cant dance at two weddings with one derriere. Which is the Lancaster County you want to see? Which is the Lancaster County youre willing to fight for?

Jack Paskoff is rabbi at Congregation Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster. Email: jpaskoff@shaarai.org.

Success! An email has been sent with a link to confirm list signup.

Error! There was an error processing your request.

Original post:

A Lancaster County rabbi addresses the antisemitic and racist 'great replacement theory' [column] - LNP | LancasterOnline

Related Post


Comments are closed.