Hate in Charlottesville: The day the Nazi called me Shlomo

Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the „alt-right“ march down East Market Street toward Lee Park during the „Unite the Right“ rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
Before the Virginia white supremacist rally turned deadly, a Jewish reporter was confronted with anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and anti-Israel vitriol

By Ron Kampeas | The Times of Israel

The city of Charlottesville, thanks to pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, had allowed them — 500 or so — their rally in Emancipation Park, or as they prefer to call it, Lee Park, to protest the city’s plans to remove from the park a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

That worked for an hour or so on Saturday, and then the protesters and the counterprotesters started to pelt one another with plastic bottles; it was unclear who started it. There were gas bombs — mildly irritating — that seemed to come more from the white supremacists. And then the sides rushed each other headlong and there were scuffles.

So Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and, heeding the police, the white supremacists filed out of the park and started walking, north, but to where no one seemed sure. There was talk of meeting at a parking lot, but which parking lot, no one was sure. As they approached the Dogwood Vietnam Memorial, a bucolic hill overlooking an overpass, they sputtered to a stop for consultations and did what marchers on a seasonably warm day do: They sat on the grass, sought shade and chatted.

I had been following at a distance with a handful of journalists and folks who were there not so much to counterprotest but to deliver an alternative message. Zelic Jones from Richmond bore a poster with a saying by Martin Luther King Jr., “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

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