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In the past several days, a number of groups have renewed their calls for Trump to fire Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, in part based on Bannon’s role in heading Breitbart, which he called a “platform for the alt-right.” To people like Greenblatt, these are all signs that, at best, the White House does not take anti-Semitism seriously enough.
At worst, the Trump administration indulges bigotry so as not to alienate some supporters.
The Skokie march was also widely and vigorously condemned by political leaders.
“That strong, clear commitment to certain values of inclusion from our political leaders is not present in the same way,” Nirenberg said.
So why did the demonstrators chant anti-Semitic lines like “Jews will not replace us”?
In 1978, for example, a Nazi group pushed to demonstrate in Skokie, Illinois, deliberately selecting an area densely populated by Holocaust survivors.
The proposed march caused a national uproar, and the American Civil Liberties Union famously defended the group’s First Amendment rights in court.
The University of Chicago historian David Nirenberg has spent his career studying anti-Jewish movements and beliefs.
Recently, he spoke to a group of students about anti-Semitism on college campuses. talk, I said, ‘I wouldn’t rush from all this material to thinking that this anti-Semitism is as dangerous as its early 20th-century predecessor,’” he told me.