White supremacist Richard Spencer, who is credited with coining the term 'alt-right,' defended the neo-Nazi and white supremacist protest which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.
Speaking with Israel's Channel 2 News, Spencer questioned the very notion of hate crimes. "What is a hate crime? It's just a concept designed to suppress freedom of speech. It's not illegal in the United States to criticize groups of people."
While it is true, as several commentators have written, that the rightists had a permit for the rally whihle the leftists did not, and both sides had violent protestors at the scene, Spencer did not refer to that, saying instead that the governor and mayor should be investigated for allowing chaos to reign at the rally.
He repeated the classic anti-Semitic trope of Jews having too much power. "The fact is that Jews have been disproportionately represented in the left over the course of history,are over-represented in the left today, and are over-represented in the Ivy League, and so-called higher education institutions."
Spenser then accused Jews of being the people who really make decisons while the white people are dispossessed from their country.
When the interviewer reminded him that he was talking to an Israeli audience, he claimed that Israeli citizens should understand his position. "As people who understand your own identity, that you have a sense of nationality and a sense of peoplehood, from the history and experience of the Jewish people, you have to respect a person like me who has a similar feeling for the white man. [What I want] we have a safe homeland for us just as you want a safe homeland in Israel. "
Israel does not declare that the Jewish state is only for Jews and has a large Arab minority, as well as Druze, Christians and others, all of whom have the same rights before the law. America, as well, was founded on the principle that it welcomes all freedom-loving people.
He spoke about the car ramming attack in Charlottesville which left a woman dead and 19 people injured. "We do not know yet if it was murder. If this incident was a result of malice, then I completely condemn it and I will try to get rid of all those who would take part in such abominable actions in the future. All I demand is fair trial, but I will not jump to conclusions."
US President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the deadly car ramming attack but excoriated both the left and the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville
“Racism is evil," Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
"The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others," the president declared. "To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered."
Yesterday the president said that "both sides," including the alt-right and the alt-left, were to blame for the violence at the rally.
Reports have indicated that there was violence on both sides, but Jews were most upset by the anti-Semitism and pro-Nazi sentiments evidenced by some of the white supremacists.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told the New York Times that police were told to stand down because the marchers were better armed than the police force.
"They had better equipment than the police did," McAuliffe said. "You saw the 'militia' walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army."
"Over 80% of them had automatic weapons."
Jewish worshippers in a local synagogue reported being harassed by armed Nazis who singled out their synagogue during Shabbat prayers.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein, asking him to convey his solidarity with the American Jewish community following the Neo-Nazi rally.
He noted, "The very idea that in our time we see a Nazi flag - perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism - paraded in the streets of the world's greatest democracy, and Israel's most cherished and greatest ally, is almost beyond belief."
"We have seen manifestations of anti-Semitism arise across the world again and again, in Europe and the Middle East. In the face of such evil, we stand strong as we did then. With faith. With faith in humanity, with faith in democracy, and with faith in justice. I know that the great nation of the United States of America and its leaders will know how to face this difficult challenge, and prove to the world the robustness and strength of democracy and freedom."