Trump Tackles Antisemitism in State of the Union: Addresses Survivors, Liberators

Judah Samet (Jim Watson. AFP / Getty)
Jim Watson. AFP / Getty

President Donald Trump used a significant portion of his State of the Union address Tuesday evening to tackle the phenomenon of antisemitism — both abroad, and at home.

Trump said:

Last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country. We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants Death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish People. We must never ignore the vile poison of Anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs. Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an antisemitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer — and he was very successful. Timothy has just had his 12th surgery — and he is going in for many more — but he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson, please.

[Standing ovation]

We are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil. Thank you very much.

Tonight we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall: more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah’s 81st birthday.

[Standing ovation, “Happy Birthday”]

They wouldn’t do that for me, Judah.

[Laughter]

Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a very strong halt. A soldier appeared. Judah’s family braced for the absolute worst. Then, his father cried out with joy: “It’s the Americans! It’s the Americans!”

[Standing ovation]

A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.” They came down from Heaven.

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchick. But there is more to Herman’s story. A year after he stormed the Beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of the American Soldiers who helped liberate Dachau.

[Standing ovation; salute from Kaufman]

He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight — seated side-by-side, here in the home of American Freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening is very much appreciated. Thank you very much.

[Standing ovation]

During his first address to Congress in 2017, Trump also addressed antisemitism in strong terms.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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