Jews Chant 'We've Seen This Before' as Protest Campaign Against Donald Trump Kicks Off

Forward
June 22, 2016
Veronika Bondarenko

Bend the Arc Jewish Action joined other faith groups to speak out against Trump.

More than 40 Jewish Americans gathered in front of the Trump Tower in protest on Tuesday.

Brought together by the Bend the Arc social justice organization, the ralliers stood outside Trump Tower on June 21 in order to draw attention to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Similar rallies took place in San Diego, Austin and other cities throughout the US.

“We Jews know the consequences of silence,” said Rabbi Rachel Timoner as the crowd picked up and echoed her words. “So when we see the early signs of fascism, we must speak.”

The protesters lit candles to commemorate Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, three civil rights activists who were killed on the same day in 1964. At the time of their death, they were working on promoting voter registration among African American communities in Mississippi.

“We’re here to galvanize our community and others to reject Donald Trump and do everything that we possibly can so he is never elected president of the United States,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc.

Martha Ackelsberg said that Trump’s comments about profiling Latinos and Muslim people reminded her of the ways that Jews were targeted throughout Europe in the 1930s.

“The targeting of Muslims and Latinos is too reminiscent of the targeting of Jews earlier in the last century. It didn’t have a place then and it doesn’t have a place now,” she said.

Throughout the rally, Trump supporters would occasionally come up to the group and taunt them with boos and “God save Trump” cheers. The protesters later marched from Fifth Avenue to Marriott Marquis in Time Square, where they joined a group of people from all faiths speaking out against Trump.

“I think it’s important to speak out not only because our tradition tells us to, but also because we know what Donald Trump’s rhetoric leads to as Jewish people and as a minority,” said Jacob Levkowisz, who came out to the rally as a form of solidarity with the groups that Trump has targeted in his campaign.

Protester Solomon Hoffman also said that it was great to see young people coming together in the street and taking a political stance outside of social media.

“Right now there is a lot on social media, people are speaking out and sharing their feelings, which is great, but I think there’s also an importance of physical presence and coming together in the same space,” said Hoffman.