Glenn Hamer (AZ): ‘If You’re Jewish, You Need to Be More Vigilant’
Glenn Hamer (50), a Republican from Scottsdale, AZ, is married to an Israeli woman he met at an AIPAC conference. As head of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, he is a vocal proponent of international trade, advocating for an Arizona-Mexico trade alliance and serving on international delegations to China, Canada, Israel and the UK. He previously worked on Capitol Hill and served as executive director of the Arizona Republican Party.
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
How concerned are you about the rise of anti-Semitism in America?
I’m concerned. I can’t say that in Arizona I’ve felt any perceptible change, though. I’m married to an Israeli, I have three dual-citizen girls, and by and large, people have always been very positive. The political leaders in this state on both sides of the aisle tend to be very pro-Israel and well-integrated into Jewish communities. But there have been a few incidents over the last several years. If you’re Jewish, you need to be more vigilant today than a few years ago.
Do you think the problem is being addressed adequately by the presidential candidates?
There’s not a candidate out there who is doing anything but trying to constructively address the rise of anti-Semitism. This is one issue where people are not playing politics. I think both parties’ leaders need to continue to support Holocaust remembrance and be ready to act if anti-Semitism continues to rise.
What do you see as the main causes for the rise in anti-Semitism?
I have absolutely no idea. I think throughout history there have been people who’ve had an intense hatred for the Jewish people, and sometimes that manifests itself in unspeakable violence. I do know that they need to be confronted by people of goodwill, of all political persuasions, and that this activity can never be tolerated.
What did you think after Charlottesville, when President Trump spoke about “very fine people on both sides?”
Did I find that troublesome? Sure. I’m not going to defend everything the president says. But he’s obviously embraced his daughter, who’s Jewish, for God’s sake. His grandkids are Jewish. This is a man who has great respect for the Jewish people and for the State of Israel. I wouldn’t say that the violence that is occurring in Democratic areas is because of something “the squad” said on Israel that was somewhere on the spectrum between offensive and anti-Semitic. I’m not going to blame them.
You previously indicated you were undecided about who to support for president. Has that changed?
I probably have a stronger level of support for Trump now, at least if Bernie Sanders continues to rise. If Bernie gets the nomination, voting for Trump would be the easiest decision I ever make in my life.