Sat, May

Silence in the Face of Evil: An Open Letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center


DO SOMETHNG, I BEG YOU--As the writer, producer, and director of many of the Human Rights exhibits at the Museum of Tolerance in NY and LA (including one on the poisonous impact of hate speech) the silence of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the face of the bigotry and intolerance sweeping our nation is both unconscionable and deplorable.


Donald Trump is the most vulgar and dangerous bigot to surface in the American body politic since the ugliness of demagogue Huey Long, anti-Semite Father Charles Coughlin, racist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond, and Neo Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell.  

  • Yet, when Trump called Mexicans "rapists," the Simon Wiesenthal Center was silent.
  • When he called for the mass registration of loyal American citizens who are Muslims, the SWC was silent.
  • When Trump condoned the beating of a political protestor, the SWC was silent.
  • When he referred to women as "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals," the SWC was silent.
  • When he threatened our Freedom of the Press by suggesting changing libel laws, the SWC was silent.
  • Even when Trump offered mixed signals about white supremacists, the SWC offered no official statement.

And the silence of the Wiesenthal Center goes on and on.

There is no doubt that if Jews or Israelis were the target of Trump's hate speech, the Wiesenthal leadership would be the first to publicly decry his venom. Are Mexicans, Muslims or women worth less than Jews?

The mission statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center reads in part, "The Center confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity." 

So in the face of Trumps eight months of racism, misogyny, neo-fascism, calls for violence et.al. what exactly has the SWC done?

Virtually nothing. Just this and only this.

On December 7, the SWC issued a short two-line statement condemning just the latest un-American rant from Trump -- the banning of all Muslims trying to enter our country. Who didn't? Even Marine Le Pen condemned this insanity. 

So why have you chosen to do nothing to live up to your own standards?

Is it moral indifference?

Is it fear of offending some of your 400,000 members?

Is it the fact that the Wiesenthal Chairman Larry Mizel is the on the Board of Directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition?

What is it for Gods sake?

A centerpiece of the Museum of Tolerance quotes Edmund Burke's famous words: 

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

So do something. I beg you, do something.

For the sake of decency, for the sake of carrying out your own mission statement, for the sake of the nation we love, do something loud and strong. Publicly and unequivocally condemn Donald Trump's bigotry and hatred.

(Scott Goldstein is a writer, producer and director based in Los Angeles.)


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