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Trump inauguration rabbi attacked with antisemitic hate speech

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January 22, 2017 14:12

“Obviously a lot of people who don’t like Jews had a tough time seeing a Jew stand up proudly before the world."

Rabbi Marvin Hier

Rabbi Marvin Hier . (photo credit:REUTERS)

He continued: “Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs, ‘By the rivers of Babylon, we wept as we remember Zion... If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.’” (Psalm 137) His participation in the ceremony was questioned and opposed in a change.org petition posted by a Los Angeles businesswoman, Myra Stark. The petition read: “Hier is the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named for the heroic Nazi-hunter, and the Museum of Tolerance – normalizing Trump with his participation will turn these organizations into a mockery and be a shame on the Jewish name forever. Apparently, Hier thinks it is acceptable to legitimize and collaborate with a political figure who the KKK is literally marching in the streets to celebrate.”

Hier told the Los Angeles radio station KPCC that the Inaugural Committee contacted him about his participation and that he said, “It would be my honor to do so.”



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Ariane Mandell and JTA contributed to this report.The Anti-Defamation League was “outraged and saddened by the antisemitism leveled at Rabbi Marvin Hier” after the blessing he delivered at the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on Friday.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism. He was the target of hundreds of antisemitic messages posted on social media during and following his recitation, including antisemitic caricatures of him and hate speech from white supremacists.
Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America.

“For Jew-haters, it was a perfect storm,” Wiesenthal Center associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, noting that the IT staff working for his center alone had removed hundreds of antisemitic messages.


“Obviously a lot of people who don’t like Jews had a tough time seeing a Jew stand up proudly before the world,” Cooper said. “To have a Jew wearing a kippa on an international stage and a declared and well-known Zionist – from the far Left to the far Right, a lot of people were very angry.


“It’s the world we live in today in which social media allows anyone to make such verbal attacks... we can expect to see more of this, and not just against Jews,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of Hier, who was on a flight, Cooper highlighted that people of all origins, faiths and backgrounds approached Hier face-to-face to thank him and encourage him.

“There’s the real world and there’s the virtual world and overall it was quite a moment. It was a very special moment, a very proud moment,” he said. “I’m absolutely certain it’s the first time that Pirkei Avot [Ethics of the Fathers] was referred to at an inauguration.”

Hier was the first Orthodox rabbi to give a benediction at an American president’s inauguration and the first rabbi to do so since 1985, when Reform Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin gave a blessing at Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration.

Hier opened his speech by saying, “Eternal God, bless President Donald J. Trump and America, our great nation.

Guide us to remember the words of the Psalmist: ‘Who will dwell on your holy mountain, one who does what is right, and speaks the truth. Who knows that when you eat the labor of your hands you are praiseworthy. That he who sews in tears, shall reap in joy. Because the freedoms we enjoy are not granted in perpetuity, but must be reclaimed by each generation.’”


He continued: “Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs, ‘By the rivers of Babylon, we wept as we remember Zion... If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.’” (Psalm 137) His participation in the ceremony was questioned and opposed in a change.org petition posted by a Los Angeles businesswoman, Myra Stark. The petition read: “Hier is the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named for the heroic Nazi-hunter, and the Museum of Tolerance – normalizing Trump with his participation will turn these organizations into a mockery and be a shame on the Jewish name forever. Apparently, Hier thinks it is acceptable to legitimize and collaborate with a political figure who the KKK is literally marching in the streets to celebrate.”

Hier told the Los Angeles radio station KPCC that the Inaugural Committee contacted him about his participation and that he said, “It would be my honor to do so.”

Ariane Mandell and JTA contributed to this report.

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  • Anti-Semitism
  • nationalism and anti-semitism
  • anti-defamation league
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