Mark Goldhaber (NC): ‘Ignorance and Fear Drive the More Traditional Hatred’
Mark Goldhaber (67), a Republican from Raleigh, NC, is active in the Jewish Federation and AIPAC. He previously worked for a Republican member of Congress and the National Republican Congressional Committee, and he was a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. His wife is a Democrat and he’s a Republican, which they’ve “dealt with happily for 35 years.”
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How concerned are you about the rise of anti-Semitism in this country?
As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I’m really concerned about the many incidents in New York and overseas as well, such as with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in England.
What do you consider the primary reasons for the increase in anti-Semitism?
As we get further away from the Holocaust itself, there are generations that really don’t know anything about it. So, let’s start with ignorance. And ignorance and fear drive the more traditional hatred from white supremacists and neo-Nazis. On the left, of particular concern to me are the anti-Zionists coming out of the BDS movement. People don’t understand that the BDS movement goes back a long way and that its foundation is in anti-Semitism. It’s absolutely appropriate to disagree with a policy supported by a particular Israeli government. But when it turns into this idea that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist, that sounds an awful lot like anti-Semitism to me.
Do you think the Trump administration or Democratic presidential candidates are talking enough about how to counter anti-Semitism?
The Trump administration has done a really good job, in my judgment. The president’s executive order targeting anti-Semitic speech on campuses is a hugely positive step. Attorney General Barr and Secretary of State Pompeo have also been really outspoken about anti-Semitism. There are a lot of tweets from the president that I wish he wouldn’t do, but when I look concretely at what his administration has done to address anti-Semitism, I think he is pretty clear on this one. As far as the Democrats, I haven’t followed every aspect of what they’re saying, but I do think everybody has to make it clear that going back to the old anti-Semitic tropes is unacceptable.
Are there other policies you’d like to see the candidates promoting to address anti-Semitism?
North Carolina is working on legislation, which I expect will soon become law, that will require genocide and Holocaust education at the junior high and high school levels. We need to educate young people about the importance of tolerance, and Holocaust education is an important vehicle for that. We also need tolerance training for teachers and educators. We need to make sure children and adults know the facts about the Holocaust, which seem increasingly lost today.