Dear Mr. Goldstein,
In some ways this is the most ironic letter I’ve written to date. Here I am, the son of Dutch Holocaust survivors and a critic of Donald Trump, writing a letter of opposition to the Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in response to his criticism of President Trump. It must be clear from my background and personal introduction that despite my disagreement with you on the subject I am about to discuss, you and I are unquestionably on the same side.
My issue is with the following statement you made regarding the President’s comments made earlier today on the increase in anti-Semitic activity, threats and rhetoric.
“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Antisemitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.”
Although both you and I agree that more needs to be done, I also believe there is a time and place for everything. I agree the president’s words mean nothing without action, but that does not negate the positive step taken today. Your statement focuses more on what hasn’t been done before today rather than what actually was done today. If we are to demand our leaders take action, it is my belief that the time to criticize them is not immediately after their acknowledgment of the problem. As we have seen time and time again, the words of the President of the United States are more than just words, they are instruments of action. Furthermore, if you look back at what I have written you will see that I not only am not an apologist for Donald Trump, I am a vocal critic. But I also try to be fair and reasonable. It is my contention that as I sit here today, the President of the United States did today what he needed to do today. That does not mean he will do the right thing tomorrow or the day after. If he doesn’t do what is needed in the coming days, that will be the time to criticize him for lack of action. Today I find it far more reasonable to be pleased he is acknowledging the problem.
As the son of Holocaust survivors I have never backed away from attacking those I feel to be enemies of the Jewish people. I heard the stories from my parents, read the history and know of the death and suffering of my relatives and the relatives of so many others. I subsequently feel it is crucial to go after those who declare their hate towards us before we go after those who at least say words of support for our well-being and safety. Although I wholeheartedly agree that we must hold the President of the United States accountable for his actions and what happens moving forward, today he at least verbally declared he is on our side, and for that I am far more likely to thank him than criticize him.
As I have said in previous writings, I am not yet convinced this President will be anything close to what I want him to be, but regarding the issue of anti-Semitism, as a Jewish American, today he was what I needed him to be. I believe we have more to gain by acknowledging that than criticizing it. It would appear that is where you and I disagree.