By Sam Kestenbaum
For Jewish protesters gathered at this month’s far-right rally in Charlottesville, facing off with white nationalists meant coming face to face with groups that call openly for their murder.
“First stop Charlottesville, next stop Auschwitz!” white supremacists shouted, brandishing swastika flags and hoisting their arms in the Nazi salute. “Get in the showers!”
“For weeks, I was debating whether or not anti-Semitism was central to the American formation of white supremacy,” said Bethany Koval, a Jewish college student and activist from New Jersey. “I was emotionally unprepared for many of those traditional Nazi chants in Charlottesville.”
Koval said that before Charlottesville she saw white supremacy as primarily targeting or exploiting African Americans and other people of color. “I struggled to see how Jewishness fit into that equation,” Koval said. “Then came the tiki torches.”