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Hate in America must end, New Mexico's Jewish community says

Mike Curtis
August 18, 2017 10:20 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The rally and its aftermath in Charlottesville, Virginia -- led by white supremacists and neo-Nazis -- splintered America. Many local communities are outraged President Donald Trump called some white supremacists "very fine people" and said "there's blame on both sides" regarding Charlottesville.

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The Jewish community in Albuquerque is responding to the protesters' anti-Semitic rhetoric

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld leads Congregation Albert. He said lessons must be learned from the past, and people must be vigilant to protect freedoms and liberties.

"If we don't stand up to hate and oppression -- even if it's not in our own backyard, even if it's in cities around the world that we have no touch with -- if we can't stand up to that, then we diminish ourselves," he said.

Rosenfeld said anti-Semitism has no place anywhere. The rabbi points out the current actions and behavior of far right groups foster dangerous divides in America.

"You have people who feel for the first time in decades that they have permission to publicly express their hate -- bigotry, racism, sexism, anything. They feel they have permission to do that," he said.

New Mexico's Jewish community -- 20,000 strong -- says it stresses tolerance, unity and understanding among groups. The New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum in Albuquerque recently showcased the state's African-American history, its contributions and inclusion. Museum leaders say it's sad and alarming they have to publicly condemn what happened in Charlottesville and the president's response. A museum statement reads:

We, the Board of Directors of the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, find it sad and alarming that in this day and age we must send out a document condemning the recent horrific events in Charlottesville, VA and the lack of appropriate response from the President of the United States.

Our museum was founded by survivors of the Holocaust, and we vow never to forget their struggle for survival. Our mission promotes tolerance, and we condemn all activity that champions hate and superiority in our society. We stand against any act that advocates hate, violence and bigotry.

We call on our elected officials to stand with us and to affirm to our city, state, and nation that New Mexicans will not condone such behavior.

We will continue to teach about the outcomes of hate-driven movements and to promote friendship among united cultures.

The events are particularly painful to New Mexico's only Jewish state lawmaker. Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, blasted the president's comments.

"We now have a President who has revealed himself. He is sympathetic with these angry hateful people. And these evil people have taken solace in the President's lack of meaningful condemnation. This President must be removed from office. There is no place in our great nation for a man of his truly despicable character."

Click here to read Ely's statement in full

Rosenfeld said religious groups around New Mexico are very supportive of the Jewish community. He said the archbishop came to his temple last week to stand with his congregation.

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Mike Curtis

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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