Mike Signer, the Jewish mayor of Charlottesville, VA, and author of Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father, was attacked by anti-Semitic tweets on Sunday, after condemning a Saturday night assembly of torch carrying, alt-right racists in a park named after Robert E. Lee.
An anonymous tweeter calling himself Great Pat
riot Trump posted “I smell Jew” on his account, adding, “If so, you are going back to Israel. But you will not stay in power here. Not for long.” The same tweeter later suggested, “Let’s keep track of all the people involved in this. Such a list will be useful when things start to change.”
During the rally, many alt-right protesters yelled: “Russia is our friend.”
Mayor Mike Signer explained that Richard Spencer, a key figure of the “alt-right” movement, had led two protests in Charlottesville on the same day the city was holding its annual Festival of Cultures, celebrating diversity. Charlottesville is the home of the University of Virginia.
Mayor Signer expressed his disgust with Saturday’s protest, telling ABC News: “I think it’s horrific. We’re a city that proudly values our diversity.”
The mayor also issued a statement saying, “This event involving torches at night in Lee Park was either profoundly ignorant or was designed to instill fear in our community populations in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK.”
“Either way,” he continued, “as mayor of this City, I want everyone to know this: we reject this intimidation. We are a Welcoming City, but such intolerance is not welcome here.”
The protesters marched with their torches in the KKK and Nazi tradition into the park in protest of Charlottesville’s city council’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, along with Confederate General Stonewall Jackson which stands in another local park.
The council’s decision was likely affected by demographic changes in Charlottesville: as of the 2010 census, the city’s racial makeup is 69.1% White, 19.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 6.4% Asian, 1.8% from other races, 3.0% from two or more races, and 5.1% Hispanics of any race.
Mind you, back in the fall of 1958, Charlottesville closed its segregated white schools as part of Virginia’s strategy of massive resistance to federal court orders requiring integration as part of the implementation of the Supreme Court of the United States decision Brown v. Board of Education. The Commonwealth of Virginia still celebrates Lee–Jackson Day, a holiday marking the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.