Following an gathering of the “alt-right” in Washington at which supporters gave Nazi salutes in support of President-elect Donald Trump, Israeli Knesset member Yair Lapid called on US leaders to condemn such expressions of “Nazi sympathy” and anti-Semitism.
“Seeing a video of Nazi salutes in the heart of Washington DC is sickening and intolerable,” said Lapid (Yesh Atid), referring to a video clip of the event showing Richard Spencer, a leader of the alt-right, calling to the audience, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!”
His words were met with a standing ovation and signs of the traditional “Heil Hitler” Nazi salute from attendees, making it difficult to deny the overt notes of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi sentiments at the gathering.
Lapid appealed to US leaders to denounce the expressions of hate in the “spirit of shared values.”
“America is Israel’s closest ally and our relationship is built not only on mutual interests but also on deeply held shared values of freedom, tolerance and democracy,” he said.
“In the spirit of those shared values I call upon the leaders of the United States to publicly condemn expressions of Nazi sympathy and fascism as well as rising anti-Semitism.”
After the video surfaced Monday night, Trump’s transition team responded with a statement condemning racism.
“President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he [got] elected because he will be a leader for every American,” said Bryan Lanza, a spokesman for the team.
This was not the message of Spencer at the event, who said that until the last generation, America had been “a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity.”
“It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us,” he asserted.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum said on Monday that it was “deeply alarmed at the hateful rhetoric” coming from the nationalist group’s meeting.
“The Holocaust did not begin with killing, it began with words,” warned the museum’s statement.