Category: Tom Mountain

When the Nazis Came for the Guns


Even at age 90, Helga Lustig vividly remembers when she first heard the news that her father had been taken away by the Nazis.

It was 1938, and she was safely ensconced in a boarding school in Holland just across the border from Germany.  Her parents had never planned to send her and her sister to any school so far away, but they did it as a precautionary measure.  Just in case.  Just in case the local Nazis in her hometown of Wesel, Germany expelled the girls from school or made their lives so unbearable that they couldn’t attend.

Her parents knew they couldn’t shield them from the Nazi encroachment, so they sent them out of Germany.  They were totally defenseless against the Nazis, and when they finally came, they came first for Helga’s father.

Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, spread like a wave across Germany.  It was the first major salvo in state-sponsored terror by the German government against Germans, specifically German Jews.  In one night, Nazi paramilitary hordes destroyed over 1,000 synagogues and 7,000 Jewish businesses, murdered around 100 Jews, and carted off 30,000 or more Jewish men to concentration camps.  Helga’s father was among them. 

By the time the Nazi Party launched a concerted nationwide attack upon the Jews, there was nothing the Jews could do.  The time for defending themselves had long since passed. 

Helga’s father certainly couldn’t fight back.  A year before, they had come for his guns.  Since he had been a German officer in the Kaiser’s army in the Great War, the Nazis assumed, erroneously, it turned out, that he had at least kept his sidearm.  They relented on his traditional officer’s sword, reasoning that it was no match for bullets anyway.

The Nazis had in their possession a national registry of gun-owners.  When they came to power in 1933, they knew exactly who had what kind of gun and how many.  And they didn’t even have to compile the registry themselves.  A few years earlier, the Interior Minister of the German Weimar government had started the gun ownership registry as a way of keeping tabs on extremist groups in Germany, such as the communists…and the Nazis.  The national registry was thorough, precise, and extensive.  But not public.  The Weimar interior minister was wary of it falling into the wrong hands, like those of the Nazi extremists he warned of.

Shortly afterward, with the Nazis finally coming to power, he and his staff either neglected to destroy the list or ran out of time.  So in one of their first acts after Hitler was elected to govern Germany – yes, he really was elected by the German people – the Nazis quickly went about confiscating the guns through the German gun-owner registry. 

The gun confiscation was highly selective.  The Nazis allowed their loyal minions to keep their guns and even encouraged them to get more.  Those Germans deemed suspect, or declared enemies of the state, had their guns confiscated.  After the Nazis disarmed the rival communists, they targeted the Jews.  Within a year they had visited the homes and shops of every Jewish gun owner in Germany and taken away their guns. 

The Nazis were nervous about any of their real or imagined domestic enemies shooting back at them.  They were especially nervous about the Jews, paranoid to the point where even after they confiscated the guns of all the registered Jewish gun-owners, they still went after the Jewish war veterans.  This is why they ended up at Helga’s home in Wesel in 1937. 

Thus, when the Kristallnacht rampage happened a year later, the Jews didn’t shoot a single bullet in self-defense because they didn’t have any guns to shoot with.  The Nazis had made sure of it. 

Of the 30,000 defenseless Jewish men rounded up that night, only a few survived to the end of the war.  How many would have lived had they been armed when the Nazis came for them?  We can never know.  Yet we can a least surmise that it would have been more than a few, probably many more. 

The Nazi security forces certainly had an endless supply of firearms and the power of the state behind them.  But picture an armed German Jewish resistance network in 1938.  Word gets around that the Nazis are coming for the Jews.  They load their guns and concoct a last ditch-effort to fend them off, allowing more Jews to escape through an Underground Jewish Railroad type of network.  They shoot a lot of Nazis in the process and buy enough time for the rest to make it the borders of those still at peace neighboring countries. 

Even if the Jews weren’t so organized, it’s still infinitely better to go down shooting, taking as many Nazis with them as possible.  And there’d always be some who’d live to tell the tale.

That’s exactly what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto five years later.

Poland, like Germany, saw most of the Jews – and the general population – disarmed when the Nazis rolled in.  So they rounded up the nearly 3 million Jewish population with ease.

The Warsaw Ghetto was a big holding pen for the Jews awaiting transport to the Auschwitz death camp.  The Nazis would routinely and openly corral the Jews and ship them off to the gas chambers.  Then one day, to their utter astonishment, the Jews fought back.  Fiercely.  Using mostly handguns and rifles, they held the Germans at bay when they came to collect more Jewish victims.  Up to 300 German soldiers were killed in the month-long siege.  Most of the Jewish fighters were eventually killed, but more than a few escaped under cover of the long battle, while the rest went down fighting, with honor and dignity.

Word of their heroism spread and inspired similar armed revolts in a few other ghettos and even some extermination camps.  Yet these were rare.

In the end, Nazis killed nearly six million Jews in the Holocaust, starting with the German Jews.

 Helga was lucky.  She survived the war.  Her father was even luckier.  He survived the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Luck was how Jews survived the Holocaust – missing the last transport to Treblinka; jumping in another line after selection; or, in the case of Helga, miraculously securing a visa to America three months before the Nazis invaded Holland and murdered every Jewish girl at her boarding school.  The tragic historical reality is that the overwhelming majority of Europe’s Jews perished in the Nazi genocide.  Without any means of fighting back, they were utterly defenseless when the Nazis came for them, and went to the gas chambers like sheep to the slaughter.

Tom Mountain is a member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee.  Helga Lustig lives in Newton, Mass. and will serve later this month as a delegate to the Massachusetts Republican State Convention.

Image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1970-033-04 via Wikimedia Commons.

Even at age 90, Helga Lustig vividly remembers when she first heard the news that her father had been taken away by the Nazis.

It was 1938, and she was safely ensconced in a boarding school in Holland just across the border from Germany.  Her parents had never planned to send her and her sister to any school so far away, but they did it as a precautionary measure.  Just in case.  Just in case the local Nazis in her hometown of Wesel, Germany expelled the girls from school or made their lives so unbearable that they couldn’t attend.

Her parents knew they couldn’t shield them from the Nazi encroachment, so they sent them out of Germany.  They were totally defenseless against the Nazis, and when they finally came, they came first for Helga’s father.

Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, spread like a wave across Germany.  It was the first major salvo in state-sponsored terror by the German government against Germans, specifically German Jews.  In one night, Nazi paramilitary hordes destroyed over 1,000 synagogues and 7,000 Jewish businesses, murdered around 100 Jews, and carted off 30,000 or more Jewish men to concentration camps.  Helga’s father was among them. 

By the time the Nazi Party launched a concerted nationwide attack upon the Jews, there was nothing the Jews could do.  The time for defending themselves had long since passed. 

Helga’s father certainly couldn’t fight back.  A year before, they had come for his guns.  Since he had been a German officer in the Kaiser’s army in the Great War, the Nazis assumed, erroneously, it turned out, that he had at least kept his sidearm.  They relented on his traditional officer’s sword, reasoning that it was no match for bullets anyway.

The Nazis had in their possession a national registry of gun-owners.  When they came to power in 1933, they knew exactly who had what kind of gun and how many.  And they didn’t even have to compile the registry themselves.  A few years earlier, the Interior Minister of the German Weimar government had started the gun ownership registry as a way of keeping tabs on extremist groups in Germany, such as the communists…and the Nazis.  The national registry was thorough, precise, and extensive.  But not public.  The Weimar interior minister was wary of it falling into the wrong hands, like those of the Nazi extremists he warned of.

Shortly afterward, with the Nazis finally coming to power, he and his staff either neglected to destroy the list or ran out of time.  So in one of their first acts after Hitler was elected to govern Germany – yes, he really was elected by the German people – the Nazis quickly went about confiscating the guns through the German gun-owner registry. 

The gun confiscation was highly selective.  The Nazis allowed their loyal minions to keep their guns and even encouraged them to get more.  Those Germans deemed suspect, or declared enemies of the state, had their guns confiscated.  After the Nazis disarmed the rival communists, they targeted the Jews.  Within a year they had visited the homes and shops of every Jewish gun owner in Germany and taken away their guns. 

The Nazis were nervous about any of their real or imagined domestic enemies shooting back at them.  They were especially nervous about the Jews, paranoid to the point where even after they confiscated the guns of all the registered Jewish gun-owners, they still went after the Jewish war veterans.  This is why they ended up at Helga’s home in Wesel in 1937. 

Thus, when the Kristallnacht rampage happened a year later, the Jews didn’t shoot a single bullet in self-defense because they didn’t have any guns to shoot with.  The Nazis had made sure of it. 

Of the 30,000 defenseless Jewish men rounded up that night, only a few survived to the end of the war.  How many would have lived had they been armed when the Nazis came for them?  We can never know.  Yet we can a least surmise that it would have been more than a few, probably many more. 

The Nazi security forces certainly had an endless supply of firearms and the power of the state behind them.  But picture an armed German Jewish resistance network in 1938.  Word gets around that the Nazis are coming for the Jews.  They load their guns and concoct a last ditch-effort to fend them off, allowing more Jews to escape through an Underground Jewish Railroad type of network.  They shoot a lot of Nazis in the process and buy enough time for the rest to make it the borders of those still at peace neighboring countries. 

Even if the Jews weren’t so organized, it’s still infinitely better to go down shooting, taking as many Nazis with them as possible.  And there’d always be some who’d live to tell the tale.

That’s exactly what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto five years later.

Poland, like Germany, saw most of the Jews – and the general population – disarmed when the Nazis rolled in.  So they rounded up the nearly 3 million Jewish population with ease.

The Warsaw Ghetto was a big holding pen for the Jews awaiting transport to the Auschwitz death camp.  The Nazis would routinely and openly corral the Jews and ship them off to the gas chambers.  Then one day, to their utter astonishment, the Jews fought back.  Fiercely.  Using mostly handguns and rifles, they held the Germans at bay when they came to collect more Jewish victims.  Up to 300 German soldiers were killed in the month-long siege.  Most of the Jewish fighters were eventually killed, but more than a few escaped under cover of the long battle, while the rest went down fighting, with honor and dignity.

Word of their heroism spread and inspired similar armed revolts in a few other ghettos and even some extermination camps.  Yet these were rare.

In the end, Nazis killed nearly six million Jews in the Holocaust, starting with the German Jews.

 Helga was lucky.  She survived the war.  Her father was even luckier.  He survived the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Luck was how Jews survived the Holocaust – missing the last transport to Treblinka; jumping in another line after selection; or, in the case of Helga, miraculously securing a visa to America three months before the Nazis invaded Holland and murdered every Jewish girl at her boarding school.  The tragic historical reality is that the overwhelming majority of Europe’s Jews perished in the Nazi genocide.  Without any means of fighting back, they were utterly defenseless when the Nazis came for them, and went to the gas chambers like sheep to the slaughter.

Tom Mountain is a member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee.  Helga Lustig lives in Newton, Mass. and will serve later this month as a delegate to the Massachusetts Republican State Convention.

Image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1970-033-04 via Wikimedia Commons.



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Martin Luther King and Black Lives Matter


This week marks fifty years since the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was only thirty-nine when he was slain by a white supremacist in Memphis.

In the early 1960s, through his charismatic personality and successful nonviolent tactics, King rose quickly to become the leader of the nation’s civil rights movement. In less than a decade, he had achieved the truly remarkable — the end to segregation and de facto apartheid in the South.

That it was done so quickly and thoroughly is a testament to King’s outstanding leadership and uncanny ability to read the tide of history. He was the right leader in the right place at the right time, one of those rare visionaries who finished what he started, and believed he would.

King accomplished what few at the time thought possible — the desegregation of the South through the active involvement of the federal government and the support of the American people (at least those in the North).

Yet King’s success was marked by his own inmate confidence to rise to a challenge with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He was confident in his own ability to lead the civil rights movement against Southern segregation. And above all, he believed intensely in the righteousness of his cause.

His confidence stemmed in large part from his faith in the American people, whom he needed in his struggle with the Jim Crow South. King believed in the fundamental decency of the average American. He knew they were a civil, fair, tolerant, and moral people with a keen sense of right and wrong.

He was convinced that if all decent Americans realized what was happening to black people in the South, if only they could see the horrible injustices occurring on a daily basis to their fellow citizens, they’d rise up with righteous indignation and demand that their government put an end to it.

He was right.

King’s strategy of nonviolent confrontation was unusual, but not unprecedented.  Mahatma Gandhi had perfected it on a large scale a few decades before against British rule in India. King followed Gandhi’s example and targeted institutions in the South to demand the integration of the most basic aspects of daily life — schools, buses, waiting rooms, lunch counters.

The plan was simple, yet dangerous. Varying numbers of well-dressed young blacks would enter a public venue for whites only, where they’d be quickly set upon by Southern white cops wielding clubs, often with attack dogs on long leashes, and even high-pressure fire hoses. The protestors would remain nonviolent and stoic under attack.

And it was all seen on the nightly news in living rooms across America, enraging half the country. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as television had just become commonplace in every home. The new media had shown the truth to the whole country. King made sure of it. His tactic worked. Those millions of decent Americans on whom King counted demanded change.

Thus, in just a few years segregation in the South had gone from a way of life to becoming patently illegal, and redefined as blatantly un-American. By the following decade even white Southerners had accepted the changes.

Martin Luther King had succeeded brilliantly.

Yet he always knew he was a target, and about the only thing he and Malcolm X agreed on is that they were both dead men, since it was just a matter of time before each was assassinated.

And they were.

Yet Martin Luther King’s legacy morphed into the America that he envisioned. One in which his “children and grandchildren would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

America before and after King is two different worlds.

Today discrimination is illegal in every venue in the country. Racism is now a vice, deemed one of the lowest conditions of humanity. The few hardcore racists left in America are effectively shunned and isolated, rogue social deviants on the fringes of society. Klansmen are seen as morbid curiosities, neo-Nazis, freaks of nature.

Martin Luther King’s vision of America is not only what he hoped for, but what he expected. Since he believed in America he knew that after integration the country would finally be whole, and the people would gradually live together in relative harmony. Not perfect, but infinitely better than during his dark days in Alabama.

In his vision a future black president was not just speculation, but simply a matter of how soon, since he had little doubt of the virtuous trajectory of his nation, his people. 

He was a true patriot, the quintessential righteous man, the epitome of all that is good and right in America. After Lincoln, he is the leader who did the most to solidify the Union. Like Lincoln, he gave his life to see it through to the end.

Martin Luther King would have been aghast at Black Lives Matter. As a man of peace, he would have rejected their violence, much as he rejected the Black Panthers of his day. He would have shunned their criminal assaults and killing of police. He would have deemed their burning and looting as those of madmen run amuck. He would have been mortified at their racism against white people, shocked by their blatant anti-Semitism.

As a devout Christian, he would have been saddened by their blatant hostility towards their fellow citizens. As a patriot, he would have been dismayed by their unrelenting hostility towards the nation that he loved, the nation that he believed in. As one who gave his life for an integrated America, King would have been appalled by their calls for resegregation.

This week marks fifty years since the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was only thirty-nine when he was slain by a white supremacist in Memphis.

In the early 1960s, through his charismatic personality and successful nonviolent tactics, King rose quickly to become the leader of the nation’s civil rights movement. In less than a decade, he had achieved the truly remarkable — the end to segregation and de facto apartheid in the South.

That it was done so quickly and thoroughly is a testament to King’s outstanding leadership and uncanny ability to read the tide of history. He was the right leader in the right place at the right time, one of those rare visionaries who finished what he started, and believed he would.

King accomplished what few at the time thought possible — the desegregation of the South through the active involvement of the federal government and the support of the American people (at least those in the North).

Yet King’s success was marked by his own inmate confidence to rise to a challenge with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He was confident in his own ability to lead the civil rights movement against Southern segregation. And above all, he believed intensely in the righteousness of his cause.

His confidence stemmed in large part from his faith in the American people, whom he needed in his struggle with the Jim Crow South. King believed in the fundamental decency of the average American. He knew they were a civil, fair, tolerant, and moral people with a keen sense of right and wrong.

He was convinced that if all decent Americans realized what was happening to black people in the South, if only they could see the horrible injustices occurring on a daily basis to their fellow citizens, they’d rise up with righteous indignation and demand that their government put an end to it.

He was right.

King’s strategy of nonviolent confrontation was unusual, but not unprecedented.  Mahatma Gandhi had perfected it on a large scale a few decades before against British rule in India. King followed Gandhi’s example and targeted institutions in the South to demand the integration of the most basic aspects of daily life — schools, buses, waiting rooms, lunch counters.

The plan was simple, yet dangerous. Varying numbers of well-dressed young blacks would enter a public venue for whites only, where they’d be quickly set upon by Southern white cops wielding clubs, often with attack dogs on long leashes, and even high-pressure fire hoses. The protestors would remain nonviolent and stoic under attack.

And it was all seen on the nightly news in living rooms across America, enraging half the country. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as television had just become commonplace in every home. The new media had shown the truth to the whole country. King made sure of it. His tactic worked. Those millions of decent Americans on whom King counted demanded change.

Thus, in just a few years segregation in the South had gone from a way of life to becoming patently illegal, and redefined as blatantly un-American. By the following decade even white Southerners had accepted the changes.

Martin Luther King had succeeded brilliantly.

Yet he always knew he was a target, and about the only thing he and Malcolm X agreed on is that they were both dead men, since it was just a matter of time before each was assassinated.

And they were.

Yet Martin Luther King’s legacy morphed into the America that he envisioned. One in which his “children and grandchildren would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

America before and after King is two different worlds.

Today discrimination is illegal in every venue in the country. Racism is now a vice, deemed one of the lowest conditions of humanity. The few hardcore racists left in America are effectively shunned and isolated, rogue social deviants on the fringes of society. Klansmen are seen as morbid curiosities, neo-Nazis, freaks of nature.

Martin Luther King’s vision of America is not only what he hoped for, but what he expected. Since he believed in America he knew that after integration the country would finally be whole, and the people would gradually live together in relative harmony. Not perfect, but infinitely better than during his dark days in Alabama.

In his vision a future black president was not just speculation, but simply a matter of how soon, since he had little doubt of the virtuous trajectory of his nation, his people. 

He was a true patriot, the quintessential righteous man, the epitome of all that is good and right in America. After Lincoln, he is the leader who did the most to solidify the Union. Like Lincoln, he gave his life to see it through to the end.

Martin Luther King would have been aghast at Black Lives Matter. As a man of peace, he would have rejected their violence, much as he rejected the Black Panthers of his day. He would have shunned their criminal assaults and killing of police. He would have deemed their burning and looting as those of madmen run amuck. He would have been mortified at their racism against white people, shocked by their blatant anti-Semitism.

As a devout Christian, he would have been saddened by their blatant hostility towards their fellow citizens. As a patriot, he would have been dismayed by their unrelenting hostility towards the nation that he loved, the nation that he believed in. As one who gave his life for an integrated America, King would have been appalled by their calls for resegregation.



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Why Jerusalem Matters


The memorial to President John F. Kennedy is shaped as the stump of a fallen tree, symbolizing a life cut short. Surrounding it are acres of pristine forest, planted long ago in his honor, with other adjoining acreage for his brother Robert, and still another for his son John, Jr.

The Kennedy Memorial is built on a tall plateau overlooking a lush valley so stunning it evokes images of Eden. On a clear day one can gaze all the way to the distant sea.

It is the largest memorial for the slain American president beyond the borders of the United States.

The 9/11 Living Memorial is shaped as a large bronze flag fluttering like a flame to symbolize the demise of the Twin Towers. Its base is made from the steel of the Towers. The names of all the victims of 9/11 are inscribed in the plaza surrounding the monument.

It is the largest 9/11 memorial beyond the borders of  the United States.

Both memorials are in Jerusalem. Not London. Not Rome. Not Paris. Jerusalem, Israel.

No one from America asked or expected the Jews of Israel to build these memorials. But build them they did.

By a people and city that have always shared a sincere affection for the American nation, with a unique historical bond from the same Bible that inspired our ancestors to these shores to build a City on a Hill. A New Jerusalem.

So captivated were our Founding Fathers with Jerusalem that several studied Hebrew just so they could read the Bible in its original text. Abraham Lincoln wanted to travel there to be able to walk in the City of the Prophets.

The capital of David and Solomon, Ben-Gurion and Begin. The 3,000 year City on a Hill so sacred in the Jewish faith there’s hardly a prayer that doesn’t mention it.

For nearly two millennia following Jerusalem’s destruction in antiquity the yearning for their sacred city was so intense that Jews everywhere would conclude their Passover with “Next year in Jerusalem.”

In the darkest hours of the Russian pogroms Jews would pray for Jerusalem.

As they were led to the gas chambers in the Holocaust Jews would cry out for Jerusalem.

During the Six Day War when the first Jewish soldiers reached Jerusalem’s Western Wall they bowed and wept in prayer. After so many centuries, they had at last returned to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem meant redemption. The end of exile. The return to their ancient homeland. Nationhood.

For far too long the Jewish people peered into an empty grave as proof of their existence. That ended with the resurrection of the Jewish State. The Return to Jerusalem meant salvation.

And when at long last the President of the United States gave his blessing to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, the Jews illuminated the ancient walls of their city with American flags. They sang and danced in the streets, and blessed the Almighty.

And they gave special thanks to Donald J. Trump.

The emotional impact that this grand act has had on the People of Israel cannot be measured in words. It is unprecedented. A milestone that will place Donald Trump in the hearts of Jews the world over for decades to come.

President Trump promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. And he kept his promise. Despite the protests in the Arab world, the cynicism of our European allies, the pessimism of the State Department, and the misgivings of his own White House staff, Donald Trump said No to all of them, and a resounding Yes to the Jewish State, to the Jewish people.

Other nations will surely follow suit, as even the most timid among them may eventually move their embassies to Jerusalem. Donald Trump paved the way.

He is only the third president to offer such a magnanimous gesture to Israel.

Harry Truman did in 1948 when the U.S. became the first nation to recognize the new State of Israel.

Richard Nixon saved Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War with an unprecedented massive military airlift.

Both presidents suffered the opposition of allies and friends alike. Both were there for Israel when it mattered most.

And now Donald Trump has given the Jewish State the ultimate gift, during this the Season of Hanukkah.

There are many Americans who yearned to see this day.

This is for Mickey Marcus of Brooklyn, a World War II Army colonel who died liberating Jerusalem in Israel’s War for Independence.

This is for Albert Einstein of Princeton, who wept when he was offered to be the first President of Israel, but couldn’t bear to leave his beloved adopted American country.

This is for Golda Meir of Milwaukee, who steered Israel through its darkest hours and never forgot her American roots.

This is for Jonathan Netanyahu of Philadelphia, older brother of the prime inister, who gave his life rescuing his fellow Jews at Entebbe.

This is for Alisa Flatow of Brandeis, who reveled in her time in Israel, only to suffer a terrorist’s bomb.

This is for every American who poured their hearts and souls into the Jewish State, and gave everything they had, including their lives, in defending it.

For them this day has arrived too late. But it has arrived nonetheless.

Soon the American flag will fly over the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the Eternal Capital of the Jewish State.

And it is entirely because of one man. Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States.

Tom Mountain, the 2016 MA/NH Trump Campaign Director for Jewish Outreach, was a resident of Jerusalem in the early 1980s.

The memorial to President John F. Kennedy is shaped as the stump of a fallen tree, symbolizing a life cut short. Surrounding it are acres of pristine forest, planted long ago in his honor, with other adjoining acreage for his brother Robert, and still another for his son John, Jr.

The Kennedy Memorial is built on a tall plateau overlooking a lush valley so stunning it evokes images of Eden. On a clear day one can gaze all the way to the distant sea.

It is the largest memorial for the slain American president beyond the borders of the United States.

The 9/11 Living Memorial is shaped as a large bronze flag fluttering like a flame to symbolize the demise of the Twin Towers. Its base is made from the steel of the Towers. The names of all the victims of 9/11 are inscribed in the plaza surrounding the monument.

It is the largest 9/11 memorial beyond the borders of  the United States.

Both memorials are in Jerusalem. Not London. Not Rome. Not Paris. Jerusalem, Israel.

No one from America asked or expected the Jews of Israel to build these memorials. But build them they did.

By a people and city that have always shared a sincere affection for the American nation, with a unique historical bond from the same Bible that inspired our ancestors to these shores to build a City on a Hill. A New Jerusalem.

So captivated were our Founding Fathers with Jerusalem that several studied Hebrew just so they could read the Bible in its original text. Abraham Lincoln wanted to travel there to be able to walk in the City of the Prophets.

The capital of David and Solomon, Ben-Gurion and Begin. The 3,000 year City on a Hill so sacred in the Jewish faith there’s hardly a prayer that doesn’t mention it.

For nearly two millennia following Jerusalem’s destruction in antiquity the yearning for their sacred city was so intense that Jews everywhere would conclude their Passover with “Next year in Jerusalem.”

In the darkest hours of the Russian pogroms Jews would pray for Jerusalem.

As they were led to the gas chambers in the Holocaust Jews would cry out for Jerusalem.

During the Six Day War when the first Jewish soldiers reached Jerusalem’s Western Wall they bowed and wept in prayer. After so many centuries, they had at last returned to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem meant redemption. The end of exile. The return to their ancient homeland. Nationhood.

For far too long the Jewish people peered into an empty grave as proof of their existence. That ended with the resurrection of the Jewish State. The Return to Jerusalem meant salvation.

And when at long last the President of the United States gave his blessing to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, the Jews illuminated the ancient walls of their city with American flags. They sang and danced in the streets, and blessed the Almighty.

And they gave special thanks to Donald J. Trump.

The emotional impact that this grand act has had on the People of Israel cannot be measured in words. It is unprecedented. A milestone that will place Donald Trump in the hearts of Jews the world over for decades to come.

President Trump promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. And he kept his promise. Despite the protests in the Arab world, the cynicism of our European allies, the pessimism of the State Department, and the misgivings of his own White House staff, Donald Trump said No to all of them, and a resounding Yes to the Jewish State, to the Jewish people.

Other nations will surely follow suit, as even the most timid among them may eventually move their embassies to Jerusalem. Donald Trump paved the way.

He is only the third president to offer such a magnanimous gesture to Israel.

Harry Truman did in 1948 when the U.S. became the first nation to recognize the new State of Israel.

Richard Nixon saved Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War with an unprecedented massive military airlift.

Both presidents suffered the opposition of allies and friends alike. Both were there for Israel when it mattered most.

And now Donald Trump has given the Jewish State the ultimate gift, during this the Season of Hanukkah.

There are many Americans who yearned to see this day.

This is for Mickey Marcus of Brooklyn, a World War II Army colonel who died liberating Jerusalem in Israel’s War for Independence.

This is for Albert Einstein of Princeton, who wept when he was offered to be the first President of Israel, but couldn’t bear to leave his beloved adopted American country.

This is for Golda Meir of Milwaukee, who steered Israel through its darkest hours and never forgot her American roots.

This is for Jonathan Netanyahu of Philadelphia, older brother of the prime inister, who gave his life rescuing his fellow Jews at Entebbe.

This is for Alisa Flatow of Brandeis, who reveled in her time in Israel, only to suffer a terrorist’s bomb.

This is for every American who poured their hearts and souls into the Jewish State, and gave everything they had, including their lives, in defending it.

For them this day has arrived too late. But it has arrived nonetheless.

Soon the American flag will fly over the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the Eternal Capital of the Jewish State.

And it is entirely because of one man. Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States.

Tom Mountain, the 2016 MA/NH Trump Campaign Director for Jewish Outreach, was a resident of Jerusalem in the early 1980s.



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