An open letter to America about antisemitism.

Words matter.


An open letter from the Western States Center has been signed by more than 300 policy makers, activists and advocates. After the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh last weekend, the threat of anti-semitic violence has suddenly been thrust into the national spotlight. But it’s not a new issue – it’s one that has become all the more sadly relevant in America and around the globe.

But there are also things average Americans can do to take a stand against the complacency and tolerance for the hatred that gives religious and racial violence the space it needs. The full letter is excerpted below. You can read a full list of the signees here.

And most importantly, you can add your own name here to pledge to support candidates who stand-up against antisemitism. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a call out to stand up against the forces of hate and for the forces of decency.


The massacre at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh on October 27th stands as an assault on the lives and inherent human dignity of every American. It is a direct assault on American values to target people because of who they are and what they believe.

This mass shooting is a tragedy, but it was not indiscriminate. It is the direct result of rhetoric that demonizes Jews and celebrates political violence.

The shooter’s profile on the Gab social network is rife with anti-Semitic images and messages posted as recently as the morning of the shooting. Two days before the shooting he posted, “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.” The shooter reportedly entered the synagogue and shouted, “All Jews must die.

Antisemitism today is not always as overt as the Tree of Life Congregation shooter’s social media posts, but it is rampant, and it has been embraced by President Donald Trump and others with influential positions in our country.

The shooting came after a week of attempted bombings of the homes and offices of American leaders and news organizations across the country. The first person targeted in this spree was philanthropist George Soros, a Holocaust survivor who has become the focus of countless conspiracy theories that frame him as a shadowy enemy plotting to subvert what white nationalists view as “Western civilization.”

Just one day before the shooting, President Trump attacked “globalists” in a speech ostensibly meant to call for unity following the bomb attempts. Audience members yelled out “George Soros!” followed by chants of “lock him up!” President Trump reinforced the message, echoing the phrase ‘lock him up’ from the podium.

Earlier in the week, the National Republican Congressional Committee released an ad claiming a Minnesota House candidate was “owned” by shadowy forces including George Soros. The ad was launched on Wednesday, just two days after a bomb was delivered to Soros’ home.

Earlier this month amidst the Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Associate Justice, Rudy Giuliani retweeted the message, “Follow the money. I think Soros is the anti-Christ! He must go! Freeze his assets & I bet the protests stop.”

These phrases and catch words used to vilify George Soros are in many cases pulled from the age old tropes used to demonize Jews for centuries and are anti-Semitic through and through. They can’t be overlooked nor hidden by claims of legitimate political disagreements.

We know that it is not only the Jewish community that is at risk from unchecked antisemitism, but also other communities that white nationalists target. The Pittsburgh shooter’s social media posts indicate he was motivated by hateful anti-refugee rhetoric often promoted by fear-mongering elected officials. And, Wednesday’s murder of two African Americans in Kentucky is another example of white nationalists’ continued assault on diverse communities. The shooter attempted to enter a predominantly African American church before committing the fatal shootings, and this act of violence is being investigated as a hate crime. We mourn for these victims as well.

Make no mistake. Too many politicians are lending a loudspeaker to antisemitism, and it is dangerous. This shooting wasn’t the beginning stage of anti-Semitic hate; it was its logical evolution. This weekend it motivated a man to gun down worshippers for no other reason than that they were Jews. We can’t bring them back, but we can speak out against the antisemitism that led to their deaths.

We can pledge to raise our voices against any politician who campaigns on antisemitism. We can commit to vote against antisemitism on November 6th.

Any candidate’s notion of a path to victory on November 6th that rests on white nationalist anti-Semitic hate must become a strategy they will come to long regret. It’s on us to ensure that they do.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less