Robert Azzi: It never ends. Racism. Anti-Semitism. Xenophobia.

For the Monitor
Published: 11/24/2019 6:30:17 AM

“The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. … It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified. … Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.”

So warned Fiona Hill, former senior official on Trump’s National Security Council, last week in testimony before Congress.

This week the American public witnessed courageous career civil servants and diplomats – like Hill and former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch – giving testimony to debunk foreign and false narratives and counter anti-Semitism – and the anti-American purveyors of such myths and hatred.

“Well, there’s no doubt that George Soros controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department,” Joseph diGenova said on FoxNews. “… He also controls the activities of FBI agents overseas who work for (non-governmental organizations).”

“(Soros) corrupted FBI officials, he corrupted foreign service officers,” diGenova continued. “… George Soros wants to run Ukraine and he’s doing everything he can to use every lever of the United States government to make that happen.”

Last week, Fiona Hill responded, saying that such conspiracy theories linked to George Soros were anti-Semitic.

In her testimony during the House impeachment inquiry, Hill’s comments were prompted by questions from Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi about conspiracy theories circulating about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European affairs for the National Security Council, who is of Ukrainian Jewish descent.

Hill – once accused by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Trump loyalist Roger Stone of being a “Soros mole” – called attacks against Soros the new “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

“This is the longest-running anti-Semitic trope that we have in history,” she said “and a trope against Mr. Soros was also created for political purposes, and this is the new Protocols of The Elders of Zion,” calling them an “absolute outrage.”

An “absolute outrage.”

In April, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was attacked – called an anti-Semite – by Republicans for calling Stephen Miller, senior advisor for policy for President Trump, a “white nationalist.”

This month she was, sadly, proved correct. Miller is a white nationalist.

Recently, the Washington Post revealed that Miller, before becoming Trump’s immigration “czar,” architect of the Muslim ban, and advocate for draconian family separations and drastically limited asylum, amnesty, immigration and refugee programs, actively embraced and disseminated xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist tropes.

Excerpts of emails written by Miller in 2015 and 2016 and given to the Southern Poverty Law Center and shared with the Washington Post “show that Miller informed Breitbart about stories published by the anti-immigration and white nationalist website VDARE and popular conspiracy theory site Infowars (Alex Jones), suggested how to frame them and push them to prominence.”

At one point Miller, criticizing Pope Francis, writes, “you see the Pope saying West must, in effect, get rid of borders. Someone should point out the parallels to the ‘Camp of the Saints.’

The Camp of the Saints, which has also been recommended by white nationalist congressman Steve King of Iowa, is a dystopian racist novel by Frenchman Jean Raspail that dehumanizes all non-whites, caricaturing them as savage, subhuman, eaters of feces who threaten the West.

In response to the Washington Post revelations Omar wrote: “This type of racism and hatred has no place in our government. Miller needs to step down. Now.”

Sadly, that will never happen.

What surprises me – still – is how many people who have the authority to speak out against this racism and ignorance remain silent, locally and nationally.

Here in New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu, a descendant of immigrants from Palestine, is silent.

Next door in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins, bruised and battered by her support of President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh, is silent.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, daughter of Punjabi Sikh immigrants, once the admired governor of South Carolina, once ambassador to the United Nations, today embraces Trump’s demagoguery.

On Trump’s racism she is silent.

On Trump’s racism evangelical leaders like Paula White, Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress are silent.

On Trump’s racism Republican senators – save one – are silent.

Racism and anti-Semitism and the dehumanization of non-white peoples has been a persistent and corrosive thread in this nation. It has infected this land for 400 years, has resisted innumerable efforts to excise it from our Public Square – and is not only alive and well in America today but is being politically weaponized against minorities and communities of color.

Weaponized in the service of xenophobes, anti-Semites – and Russia.

Today, Trump’s America – where there were “very fine people” on both sides of Charlottesville – is being defined by racists like Stephen Miller in white supremacist terms.

This week, a new group – Jews Against White Nationalism, a collaborative involving eight Jewish organizations – released a statement calling Miller a “white nationalist” and “architect of the Trump administration’s cruel and endless attacks on immigrants.”

“And with irrefutable proof of his deep-seated racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia,” the statement continued, “and with evidence that he has promoted websites spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, he cannot be allowed to remain a federal employee.”

“As your fellow American Jews,” they write, “we will not rest until you resign.”

Calling upon Miller to resign is not enough.

We must recognize that this is not a Jewish problem, or a Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian or Buddhist problem. This is a problem driven by those who, as Toni Morrison wrote, are so scared by “the consequences of a collapse of white privilege” that they have flocked “to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength.”

That platform is where Trump stands – a platform built on ignorance, hate and intolerance.

Last year, Miller’s uncle, Dr. David S. Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist wrote: “Stephen Miller is an immigration hypocrite. I know because I’m his uncle. If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.”

If Stephen Miller’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, many American families would not exist today and we would be the poorer for it.

If Stephen Miller’s ideas on immigration had been in force 243 years ago there would be no self-evident truths.

If America collectively fails in the obligation of justice, if America collectively fails to confront racism and attacks – foreign and domestic – on our democratic institutions, America becomes complicit with injustice, that which will rend the very fabric of our being.

(Robert Azzi, a photographer and writer who lives in Exeter, can be reached at His columns are archived at


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