Charlottesville Police Refused to Protect Synagogue From …

Posted By on October 15, 2017

The Jewish community in Charlottesvillehired armed security to protectits synagogue for the first timeafterlocal police declined to provide a guard for the site despite hundreds of white supremacists congregating on the town over the weekend fora rally that resulted in the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer.

Alan Zimmerman, president of the Congregation Beth Israel in the Virginia town, wrote a blog postpublished on Monday evening following the violent scenes on Saturday that resulted in a car-ramming attackthat took place just 200 feet from the place of worship.

He described the fearhe felt in the presence of white supremacists, who rallied aroundanti-Semitic slogans, as 40 members of the community prayed in the synagogue, withoutsupport from the local authorities.

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The police departmentpromised to provide an observer near the building but Zimmerman says it was not kept by the force, leaving the congregation vulnerable to assault as they worshipped.

For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple, he wrote. Had they tried to enter, I dont know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldnt take my eyes off them, either.

Not only did armed protesters stand across from the synagogue, but neo-Nazis paraded past the building, shouting anti-Semitic slogans, a horrible reminder ofNazi Germanys persecution and mass slaughterof European Jews.

Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, 'There's the synagogue!'followed by chants of 'Sieg Heil'and other anti-Semitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols, Zimmerman wrote.

This was before James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into protesters in the town, leaving a scene of carnage that has sparked outrage across the United States, and the wider western world.

The Jewish community has faced more incidents of hate crimes since the ascension of Donald Trump to the Oval Office. Jewish community centers have received bomb threatsmany of which turned out to be from a Jewish man based in IsraelJewish cemeteries have been desecrated and Trump himself has failed on several occasions to single out the white supremacists for censure, blaming violence on both sides, in reference to anti-racist protesters trying to stop Saturday'swhite supremacist march.

Zimmerman saidthe threat was not only on the ground, but online too. He learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn the synagogue after which the communityleaders took the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises.

Zimmerman told the Jewish worshippersthat it would be better if they exited the synagogue by the back entrance, and to go in groups to protect each other.

This is 2017 in the United States of America, he wrote.

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Charlottesville Police Refused to Protect Synagogue From ...

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