A Jewish Perspective on Arlington’s Confederate Memorial

Photo credit: Cliff at flickr

The Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery has recommended the removal of the 32-foot-tall memorial to Confederate veterans buried there on the grounds that it is “riddled with racist iconography” and perpetuates the Lost Cause narrative. The following letter was sent today to the Committee. — JAB

On March 19, 1841, at the consecration of its new synagogue in Charleston, Rabbi Gustavus Poznanski of the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim congregation rose to speak to a throng of temple members and Charlestonians of many faiths who were invited to witness the important occasion. For centuries Jews all over the world had sought a return to the Promised Land, and generations of families had vowed as much at their annual Passover Sedar, “Next year in Jerusalem!” In a remarkable display of chutzpah, Rabbi Poznanski proclaimed, “…this synagogue is our temple, this city our Jerusalem, this happy land our Palestine.” The Jews had finally found a home.

In his book, American Jewry and the Civil War, Rabbi Bertram Korn, the recognized expert in the field, seems quite emphatic that during the antebellum period, Jews experienced a cultural and religious renaissance in the South that was unrivaled. Jews who lived in the region adopted the southern way of life with all its peculiarities, including slavery, because for the first time in modern history, they were treated with dignity and respect, and flourished culturally, politically, and economically on par with their Christian neighbors. Korn concluded, “Nowhere else in America–certainly not in the ante-bellum north—had Jews been accorded such an opportunity to be complete equals as in the old South.”

And while we condemn the evils of slavery then and now all over the world, we cannot pass judgement on our ancestors as viewed through the 21st century lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. No previous generation of Americans can survive such scrutiny.
Francis Salvador of South Carolina was the first Jew elected to public office in the colonies when chosen for the Provincial Congress in 1774. David Yulee and Judah Benjamin were chosen by their State Legislators, as was the practice then, to represent Florida and Louisiana in the U.S. Senate. They were the only Jewish Senators during that period. After the war, Isaac “Ike” Hermann, a private in the 1st Georgia Infantry proclaimed, “I found in [the South] an ideal and harmonious people; they treated me as one of their own; in fact, for me, it was the land of Canaan where milk and honey flowed.” Southern Jewry, in the antebellum period, had found in the South the haven from prejudice they had been looking for.

Moses Ezekiel: Virginia Military Institute cadet, confederate veteran of the Battle of New Market, proud Southerner, sculptor, and “the first American-born Jewish artist to receive international acclaim.”

No doubt this was on the mind of Moses Ezekiel when he designed and created the memorial at Arlington Cemetery. Arlington Monument is an important piece of American history, Jewish-American history, and a significant work of art.
Arlington itself is property originally seized from Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s family, in an act of retribution, a deliberate attempt to prevent Lee or his descendants from ever being able to see their cherished home again. But in an ironic twist, the Lee home place at Arlington has become sacred ground, universally revered by all Americans.

In the aftermath of the terror and hardship of war, Americans greatly desired to be done with the division and bitter sectional strife they had so recently endured. They wanted to reunite the country in a spirit of harmony.

To that noble end, it was appropriate that in 1900, less than 40 years from Lee’s surrender, Congress authorized the interment of the corporeal remains of Confederate soldiers in the hallowed earth of Arlington, and in 1914, permission was gladly given to erect a prominent memorial to the Confederate dead in the midst of Arlington.

This inspiring monument was erected to acknowledge the heroic manhood of Southern men who fought bravely against overwhelming odds, and to acknowledge a former foe in a spirit of renewed friendship and kindred national sentiment.

After all, in just a few years after the dedication of this beautiful monument, America would call on her sons to join the expedition to Europe, to fight in World War I; Americans answered that call, and fought side by side — northerners and southerners together, united in a common purpose.
As President William McKinley offered southerners in 1898: “[We] should share with you in the care of the graves of Confederate soldiers…. Sectional feeling no longer holds back the love we feel for each other. The old flag again waves over us in peace with new glories.”

Have we not seen in so many other places around the world that political disagreements have inflamed into civil wars which have carried on for generations costing many unnecessary lives?

We believe your committee — far removed from the actual conflict — should not assume the role of arbiter in this matter. Now, more than 100 years since it’s unveiling, you make pronouncements with no appreciation or regard for those who came before you and those who will follow. You cannot comprehend the hardships, the misery and the motivations of the men and women, on both sides of the conflict, who lived through this generational tsunami. Why must you call for these symbols of unity and reconciliation to be destroyed? Forever. Why must you insert your personal political ideologies of the moment for the time-honored traditions cultivated by generations of Americans?

We ought to respect the decision of those men who were far closer to the conflict than we are and honor their efforts to set aside the horrors of war in the name of peace.

Regardless of the political considerations, destroying or relocating this beautiful memorial would be the worst kind of vandalism and iconoclasm. Ezekiel is also buried there, and Jewish Law sharply condemns the excavation and removal of corpses from their gravesites even when they will be reburied elsewhere.

Designed by Moses Ezekiel, America’s first great Jewish sculptor and a veteran himself, the Arlington Confederate Monument is a true masterpiece. To remove, damage, or alter this great achievement by one of America’s noblest sons would be a crime against history, against art, and against the spirit of reunification that led to its creation. Judaism teaches us that loved ones never die if there is someone left to remember them. This monument is a testament to the memory of thousands who died and brings comfort and solace to their descendants.
We would urge you to leave the Arlington Confederate Memorial exactly as our forefathers intended it.

Jack Schewel
Journey of Souls and Writer
Lynchburg, VA

Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia
Philadelphia, PA

Lew Regenstein
Author and Writer
Atlanta, GA

Robert Marcus
Historian and Filmmaker
Chapel Hill, NC

Paul Gottfried
American Philosopher & Historian
Elizabethtown, PA


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Comments

146 responses to “A Jewish Perspective on Arlington’s Confederate Memorial”

  1. Turbocohen Avatar
    Turbocohen

    The Anti-Semitic Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery. There, fixed it for ya. #SouthernbythegraceofGod

    1. walter smith Avatar
      walter smith

      You mean the current Democratic Party?

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        Saint Youngthing finally admitted the failure of his comment about the Pelosis. Might you ever display such humility? Your comment is not only not humor but echoes the banality of far too many conservatives especially concerning antisemitism. Go to your room!!!

        1. walter smith Avatar
          walter smith

          OK. You gonna reprimand the Squad?
          I missed the supposed Pelosi grievance. What was the offense? Can we see the body cam footage? The story doesn’t make a lot of sense… When I think MAGA, an illegal immigrant Canadian nudist, BLM, hemp jewelry, gay pride guy doesn’t really seem to fit, but maybe that’s just me.
          Oh, and how come the Capitol Police are so inept? They were supposed to be guarding the house during the underwear break in…

          1. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            I do have some info for you as to the reason for seeing a blue sky. As for the balance of your usually unconnected rantings, I am repairing to a library to research answers for you.

            What doesn’t make sense is your post. It’s not an expression of humility for the offensive comment you made earlier, is it?

          2. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            You mean to notice the anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party? Or the Squad? OR to express doubts on the narrative about Pelosi being attacked by a MAGA guy?
            Sorry the truth is so offensive, but I am trying to help you and all the other people who live in an alternate universe. It is very dangerous. Reality can be unkind. People starve and freeze from bad government and bad policies.

          3. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            You are decidedly neither clever nor cute despite repeated attempts to twist the statements of others. You started your inanity with equating Democrats to antisemitism. You failed as usual miserably.

            You would not believe body cam footage on the Pelosi attack. You and Alex Jones would prefer to claim it was staged.

          4. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Gaslighters gonna gaslight…

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            McCarthy is starting to get the “depth” of Walter, I think.

            Just Google “Pelosi’s Gay Lover” and you’ll get Walter’s reading material.

          6. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            I’ve tried to be respectful but….the Lost Cause is genetic to some individuals.

          7. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            It is SO WONDERFUL to see the Lefty Trolls just call names (like Lefty Trolls, but I think that is descriptive for Eric, Nancy, Mr. SCIENCE! and McCarthy) who do not engage on the substance.
            Here is just another example of where anti-Semitism comes from (hint – the Dems and the mainstream media, but I repeat myself)
            https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/11/mainstream-media-throws-temper-tantrums-as-netanyahu-returns-to-power/

            You see, the best friends to the Jewish state of Israel are an unlikely couple – Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians (not the stupid survey of “evangelical” but ones who attend church weekly and believe in Biblical inerrancy)

            So after the names, they then attribute beliefs you did not state, like Lost Cause iconography, and think they are so brilliant, when they are merely mockingbirds repeating what their Dem Spinmasters tell them to say… At least they don’t have to read their propaganda on a TelePrompTer (and at least could read it, unlike the Resident of the most powerful country in the world, who now promises to shut down coal plants and it has to be walked back and Joe Manchin has to act like he didn’t know he would be betrayed). Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski are perfect examples of why the 17th Amendment should be repealed. Collins may actually be about right for Maine, but the nationalizing of Senate races greatly broke the balance of interests, another failure from the “Progressive” era…

          8. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            Not claiming it was staged. Saying the story doesn’t make sense. And it doesn’t. And the real wackadoodle is not MAGA. How come everything you guys use to inflame voters into hating Republicans/conservatives/ Christians/ whites is a false flag? Potemkin villages everywhere…
            Why won’t the DA release the body cam footage? The 911 call? How come Pelosi wasn’t attacked until after the cops came? Why did Pelosi say his name was David and he was a friend? It doesn’t add up. That’s not Alex Jones crazy (and I am not saying Alex Jones is crazy, I am speaking in your distorted language). Do you think the story adds up? Try being honest (I know that is hard when your entire political philosophy is built on lies, but just try).
            Are you saying there is no anti-Semitism in the Democratic party? Need to see video clips? Again…try honesty. There is something deeply wrong with you. Do you hate people who disagree with you? To the point that you deny reality? Pelosi was hurt that night – true. Pelosi is apparently out of the hospital now. Was DePape in his underwear? If he broke in, why was there not an alarm? What happened to Capitol Police monitoring? Why a wellness check? Why a friend? Did DePape really say “where’s Nancy?” And if he did, was that MAGA or disappointed anarchist? His former wife, now convicted pedophile (and that is in California!) says they are committed progressives and love Pelosi. Is it unfair to ask questions? Or are you the Larry of political ethics, asserting that the government narrative must be believed?

          9. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            Remember, SlowJoe told whatever his name is, “if you vote for Trump, you ain’T black.”
            And now we can see, in-line with BHO’s anti-Semitism, that SlowJoe has been programmed to AI “think” – if you vote for Bibi, you ain’t a Jew…”
            https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/no-call-to-bibi-biden-has-yet-to-congratulate-newly-elected-israeli-leader/
            Prostitution may be the oldest profession, but Jew hatred is the oldest hatred…
            Oh, and how is that Pelosi MAGA violence story playing out for ya?

  2. killerhertz Avatar
    killerhertz

    What’s the racist iconography exactly?

    1. A black mammy is in one of the scenes.

      1. killerhertz Avatar
        killerhertz

        How do we know she’s black? Isn’t this a bronze statue? But seriously, after searching the image it looks very respectful. Is it not truthful? It’s not like the soldier has his boot on her head…

        1. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          You might wish to read the well-detailed Wiki piece on the Confederate Memorial at Arlington for answers. Review especially the subtext below the picture insert of the soldier and the mammy.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            The folks that think that way, don’t want to know…. they only know what they want to know.

          2. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            I get that.

          3. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            I read the article boomer. There’s no context. Plus I can use my own damn eyes.

          4. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            Then you now know the answer to your question about the black mammy. Glad to be of help.

          5. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            Wikipedia is open source and anyone can put anything they’d like on it.

            If that’s your basis for opinion, you shouldn’t be talking.

      2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “In one, a faithful enslaved man wearing the uniform of the Confederate States of America follows his master to battle. In another scene, a “mammy,” with a toddler tugging at her skirt, cares for the child of an officer who leaves to go to war.”

        Just more Lost Cause iconography… it should be tossed along with the rest…

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cc7900ad0772b3cbf4cddebf63128ffde15f1ac0dbabbcf8288f5e2e50fca828.jpg

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          guess where the black soldiers who fought for the Confederacy are NOT buried!

          Where is the black “history”?

        2. Donald Smith Avatar
          Donald Smith

          Well, history is complicated, isn’t it? People are complicated, aren’t they? Some slaves did feel close ties to their masters. Didn’t mean they wanted to be slaves.

          Because of this part of the statue, you feel the need to remove the entire thing?

          And this is one more reason why you’re only half a troll.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            that monument is _not_ complicated. It’s a UDC monument.

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            The inclusion of these images in the statue demonstrate the intent of the statue was to re-write the history of the war in Lost Cause terms rather than honoring of fallen soldiers. I am all for a simple “Herein Lies Fallen Soldiers of the Confederacy” type “memorial” – as exist for Union Soldiers in Marietta National Cemetery. The Jim Crow inspired iconography though needs to be eradicated.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar

            Oh that would require that they admit it is Jim Crow and not “history”…..

        3. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
          James Wyatt Whitehead

          Colonel Shaw. A white man on horseback leading the black men of the 54th Mass.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45d396729f607f9f2e5d8b194ac7410a4de3bbc7703d44a5c95195f91c308c25.jpg

          1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Historically accurate for sure.

  3. killerhertz Avatar
    killerhertz

    Serious question. Why is it okay to say White patriarchy but not okay to say Jewish media?

  4. M. Purdy Avatar

    Ezekiel’s family wants it to come down.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    well, the UDC hands are involved… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Memorial_(Arlington_National_Cemetery) but a separate section is set aside for the Confederate dead and this statue…. not in a place where the public typically would congregate.

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Confederate_Monument_-_N_frieze_and_base_-_Arlington_National_Cemetery_-_2011.JPG

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    Along the lines of ” slavery was a normal thing for that time”, what percent of Southerners actually owned slaves?

    How common was the practice?

    1. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      Google the census of 1790 to get an appreciation of the proportion of slaves to the total population.

  7. Joe Jeeva Abbate Avatar
    Joe Jeeva Abbate

    If the reason for the Confederate monument is to remember those who died and for families to honor their ancestors, then there is a potential solution: simply remove the text referring to the Confederacy or the “Lost Cause” and list the names of those buried there. We know that the states who joined the Confederacy (to commit treason and attack the Union) all referenced keeping slavery as their central cause and their basic issue with the United States. Any monument to the Confederacy or the Confederate Cause is clearly a monument to slavery. You may read the actual “Declaration of Causes of Seceding States: right here: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Exactly, Honor the individual soldiers but don’t honor the treasonous cause.

      Bloody Angle is an NPS Battlefield that does this. This are monuments and stones for the individual units, North and South, that fought and died there but not a single general on a horse much less words about the lost cause.

    2. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Slavery was totally legal in the United States until well after that war. All the states that ratified the Constitution share any shame and blame, and until well into the war itself Lincoln denied he had any intent to abolish slavery, simply seeking to uphold the union. Yes, the states that seceded didn’t believe him and he was open about preventing the expansion of slavery to the west. All I see on that statue is a reference to dead heroes and a Latin inscription probably 1 in 500 visitors can read. Perhaps there are more panels.

    3. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      Yours may be a compromise that could be accepted. However, it does not resolve the racist iconography cited by the Committee. Even removing the textual references you suggest might not appease the letter writers.

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        I do not actually care. They do not need to be visiting the Confederate section of that cemetery if it upsets them. It is not the same as a major highway or courthouse square they have to pass.

        1. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          It is clear that you care only for your position. Yes, we can all close our eyes and wish the bad stuff would disappear. “They” BTW are the members of the Advisory Committee. Take up your argument with them.

      2. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        I do not actually care. They do not need to be visiting the Confederate section of that cemetery if it upsets them. It is not the same as a major highway or courthouse square they have to pass.

      3. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        I do not actually care. They do not need to be visiting the Confederate section of that cemetery if it upsets them. It is not the same as a major highway or courthouse square they have to pass.

    4. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Slavery was totally legal in the United States until well after that war. All the states that ratified the Constitution share any shame and blame, and until well into the war itself Lincoln denied he had any intent to abolish slavery, simply seeking to uphold the union. Yes, the states that seceded didn’t believe him and he was open about preventing the expansion of slavery to the west. All I see on that statue is a reference to dead heroes and a Latin inscription probably 1 in 500 visitors can read. Perhaps there are more panels.

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        Dig a bit deeper. Read the entire Wiki entry before commenting.

      2. Joe Jeeva Abbate Avatar
        Joe Jeeva Abbate

        To all who see it, it is a Confederate monument. The seceding states all left over the intent to maintain the slavery of African people to be beaten and kept by force as slaves. You may see a reference to “dead heroes” while others, see reference to traitors taking up arms against the United States to maintain slavery. Gen. Lee himself suggested that no monuments be raised up to celebrate this horrific war or the lost cause, since it could keep open the wounds of that conflict. As we have witnessed in the Jan 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, this wounds have continued to fester.

      3. M. Purdy Avatar

        Wait, what do you mean by “totally legal”? Leaving aside that some states outlawed it before the war, during the war runaway slaves were contraband and not returned to their owners. The Fort Monroe Doctrine established that runaway slaves and slaves in occupied areas were no property of their owners, de facto negation of their status. By the end of the war, hundreds of thousands held that status. There was, in effect, no going back after Sept. 1862. So I think maybe the saying the inst. of slavery, and its legal reach, was under sever strain starting after Fort Monroe is more accurate.

  8. James McCarthy Avatar
    James McCarthy

    A noble but questionable assertion in light of the chanting in Charlottesville and the more recent remarks by Kanye West. The 21st century lens continues to color the views of far too many. Sadly, too many in present generations have survived with the seed of antisemitism carried forward.

    “And while we condemn the evils of slavery then and now all over the world, we cannot pass judgement on our ancestors as viewed through the 21st century lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. No previous generation of Americans can survive such scrutiny.”

    Making judgment about the behavior of ancestors is one of the principles of learning from history.

    1. Randy Huffman Avatar
      Randy Huffman

      What does the hateful chanting of a group in Charlottesville have anything to do with this? Hateful people rallying around a statue of Lee, does not mean Lee would have endorsed such people. As an example, in 2017, a Bernie Sanders supporter seriously wounded and almost killed Steve Scalise. Shall we condemn Sanders for life because of such actions? Better yet, how would we feel if he was condemnded 100 years from now?

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        He wouldn’t have endorsed the statue in the first place. That IS known.

        1. Randy Huffman Avatar
          Randy Huffman

          Most view Lee as an honorable man.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            I doubt that. Some do.

          2. Turbocohen Avatar
            Turbocohen

            Speaking for yourself and most Democrats, Nancy? Many do view General Lee as an honorable man. This Jew considers R.E. Lee a fine and honorable man. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45a55522596ea7828a10486e66aa793aeee8e9bc84b776e8df6f98144d8a2a96.png

          3. Turbocohen Avatar
            Turbocohen

            Speaking for yourself and most Democrats, Nancy? Many do view General Lee as an honorable man. This Jew considers R.E. Lee a fine and honorable man. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45a55522596ea7828a10486e66aa793aeee8e9bc84b776e8df6f98144d8a2a96.png

          4. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Well then, that would be the majority. Can you say, “gerrymandering”?

          5. Turbocohen Avatar
            Turbocohen

            Speaking for yourself and most Democrats, Nancy? Many do view General Lee as an honorable man. This Jew considers R.E. Lee a fine and honorable man. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45a55522596ea7828a10486e66aa793aeee8e9bc84b776e8df6f98144d8a2a96.png

      2. killerhertz Avatar
        killerhertz

        Furthermore, Mc would have us believe that there are tens of thousands of these neonazis organizing in the US while only a hundred or so managed to muster in Cville. Meanwhile tens of thousands of people burned cities during BLM riots and worse our government and media elites in power literally called for the death of the “unvaxed”, closed businesses, churches, etc., and let elderly die alone, for 2 years. Any genuine person knows who the real threat is.

        1. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          Nice try. Not all antisemites are out of the closet neo-Nazis participating in violent demonstrations. Kanye West and Kylie Irving are good examples. Many more are simply good ole boys winking and nodding to one another while reading the Elders of Zion or Mein Kampf or campaigning for the presidency of France.

          I would not have you believe anything – only to consider your denials and attempts to deflect via the behavior of other violence.

          1. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            I don’t consider meager violence of one event of 100 people carrying tiki torches indicative of anything. We had one murderer in a car and a handful of racist losers.

            Serious question. Why is it okay to say White patriarchy but not okay to say Jewish media? Stop using Kanye as evidence of systemic anti-semitism when he’s clearly a man butthurt by his wife screwing an ugly, failed, Jewish comedian.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            What do you consider on Twitter with racial hate?

          3. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            Who cited Jewish media? White patriarchy? Nor was the reference to Mr. West employed as evidence of systemic antisemitism – only its persistence. You appear to know his backstory very well to excuse his statements. You are entitled to deem C’ville a one-off event not related to any other antisemitic emanations elsewhere.

          4. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            Kanye got in trouble for using the phrase “Jewish Media”. Why would you even name drop him if you don’t know the story? My point is that if it’s racist/antisemitic to say Jewish media, why is it accept for libtards to talk about CRT concepts like White privilege and whiteness with impunity?

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            Have you been paying any attention to the “phrases” being used on Twitter these days?

          6. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            As an indicted libtard, I must have mistaken your inquiry about Jewish media which you say was used by West. Your inquiry appeared before I cited West.

          7. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            I don’t see the relevance of any of your comments to the question at hand, should this confederate statue come down. What happened in Charlottesville, Kanye West’s actions, and neo Nazi’s who have in their own demented way decided to rally around a statue of Lee, should be irrelevant.

            For me, a descendant of a union soldier, this statue is a part of history and needs to be left alone.

          8. LarrytheG Avatar

            not history, veneration of people who fought to keep people enslaved…

            “history” is in books. Not a word has been “erased” last I heard.

            Statues of despots have come down through time and never heard folks decrying the loss of “history” when Hitler or
            Saddam came down except for their hard-core supporters.

          9. killerhertz Avatar
            killerhertz

            We venerate the dead. The memorial doesn’t venerate despots or murderers. They were soldiers.

          10. LarrytheG Avatar

            the “memorial” venerates not soldiers but the Confederacy and the institution of slavery.

            You can have a memorial to the soldiers without having that iconography to the lost cause. Plenty of Civil War Cemeteries do just that without a single memorial to the Confederacy.

          11. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Arlington Cemetery venerates the dead by itself. No special veneration of Confederate (non-US) soldiers is (nor was) appropriate.

          12. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            Unfortunately, hate is not irrelevant.

          13. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            Unless you’ve rendered service that would allow you to be buried in Arlington, your opinion on the Statue is irrelevant.

      3. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        If you’re around 100 years from now, you can share your opinion then. The antisemitic chant in C’ville is relevant to the contemporary manifestation of that hate speech which does not yield to the passage of time. Conflating the Scalise shooter’s action with his support of Bernie Sanders is a pure non sequitur. Same with those surrounding the Lee statue.

    2. Lefty665 Avatar

      Natanyahoo is under indictment for corruption, yet he and his right wing Likud Party are coming back into power. Some criticism of Israel and its Jewish voters for what they have done can be tolerated without being tarred as antisemitic can’t it?

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        It’s a tough political line criticizing the state of Israel which is essentially theocratic. Imagine criticizing a US Christian nation for funding religious schools. I’m not sure what criticism would be directed at Jewish voters. The politician Netanyahu is another case.

        1. Lefty665 Avatar

          Our country was founded by people fleeing official religion, essentially theocratic states. Our Constitution guarantees us freedom from religion. That ain’t the case in Israel.

          Anyone who votes for openly corrupt politicians like Netanyahoo has earned contempt.

          1. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            Agreed. But if I recall correctly Netanyahu has not been convicted. The US has many proto-criminals in or running for office. Tough to condemn voters whose eyes and brains fail them.

          2. Lefty665 Avatar

            Condemn, no contempt yes. There and bipartisan here.

          3. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            We all write on these pages mostly with respect for the opinions of others. Condemnation and contempt contribute little to civic dialogue. Conviction counts.

          4. Lefty665 Avatar

            Neither does discounting appropriate condemnation of wretched actions. That itself is worthy of contempt. For example, I have no more respect for the Nazis opinions of Jews and Gypsies than for Jews opinions of profoundly corrupt Netanyahoo as expressed by their votes.

            Compromise with evil yields only the illusion of progress. Evil takes what you give it then comes back for more. – see Netanyahoo above.

            However, your frequent segues into Jim McCarthy’s silly walks often merit applause and guffaws. Thank you so much.

          5. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            You are welcome!! FYI, I do make every effort not to compromise with evil including some commentary on these pages. Yours in walking silly.

          6. Lefty665 Avatar

            Remember the USS Liberty. The f*ing Israelis committed an act of war against the US. They murdered 34 US personnel, Navy, Marines and NSA civilians. They wounded another 171.

            On NPR this evening the head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt was advocating censorship. That is at best sedition.

            Those are both evil acts. Condemning them and the people who committed them is appropriate and an act of civility.

            Your investigative skills are, I’m sure, profound. Your failed quest in Israel to establish Netanyahoo’s guilt is touching. What a stupendously silly walk. Thank you for sharing it.

          7. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            BTW, my recollection that Netanyahu has not been convicted is true. Thus, whether he is profoundly corrupt is not determined; or even mildly corrupt. I visited Israel a few years ago but failed to garner any relevant evidence of his corruption.

          8. Lefty665 Avatar

            DUH, read the first line of my initial comment. It says “Natanyahoo is under indictment for corruption,”

            I led with what became your belated recollection.

            Hitler was not convicted either but there is considerable determination that he was evil. Same goes for Netanyahoo, his public life is testimony to his evil character.

  9. Charlie Craig Avatar
    Charlie Craig

    Thank you for this well written, honest and sensible article. Something that is rare intoday’s world.

    Charlie Craig

  10. How far do we go in ‘correcting’ our racial history? I ask because it seems that all corrections are directed to strengthening the false idea of institutional racism, and not towards fostering a discussion. The purpose seems to be aimed more towards cultural destruction than cultural advancement; If you don’t do this, you are evil and the only salvation comes from agreeing with us.

    By our standards, slavery was and is unacceptable. By the standards of the 1700s, it was acceptable, not only in America, but was widely practiced in Africa by Africans against Africans. It was black Africans who sold their brothers and sisters to the slave traders, and still do so today. Of the 12 million transported to the New World, fewer than half a million were sent to the US colonies. Looking at their descendants, what would their lives be like had they been born in Africa today? Where would it have been better than the one they have in the US today? That doesn’t justify what was done to their ancestors, but it does provide context to our view of the past. Will the destroyers teach that when they replace the monuments they despise? I doubt it. Or is the destruction of the past designed to cover up an embarrassing history and hide the failures of 50 years of failed policies and broken promises?

    If some people are so offended by the sight of a statue that they have to destroy it, then our educational system has failed to create citizens who are intelligent, informed adults; that’s 3 distinct things – intelligent, informed, and adult.

    1. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      Challenging the shibboleths erected for one purpose is not the same thing as “correcting” history but testing its veracity. Such challenge is not about proving systemic racism but attempting to clarify the effects of racism for all along with its residuals.

      Slavery which may be characterized as acceptable once is not the equivalent of racism. Moral opposition to slavery – although not loud – existed as long as it was practiced.

      Africans were shanghaied or kidnapped, not sent, to the US. Africans who preyed upon their own people for profit do not constitute a morality to be emulated.

      We continue to draw lessons from the past which is a function of history. History is not a museum of static, lifeless things – history is about change and it is dynamic. We ignore its lessons at our own peril. One thing is certain – history cannot be destroyed or replaced -and that is its strength.

      1. Para 1: Destroying/removing is not the same as challenging. As a good Marxist, you must know that the purpose of removal is replacement. To, as the left is fond of saying, change the narrative, replacing it with one acceptable to the political goals of the moment.

        Para 2: Since there were laws in many colonies that forbade enslaving whites or freeing blacks, you will have to agree that there was a racial element to it. Opposition to slavery in the US was loud – not silent. Decades of the abolitionist movement led to civil disobedience (underground railroad, etc), the destruction of the Whig party and formation of the anti-slavery Republican Party, the Civil War and the Constitutional Amendments that outlawed slavery.

        Para 3: I said sold, not sent, and never said or implied that slavery in any form was worthy of emulation.

        Para 4: Of course History can be destroyed – the USSR didn’t teach school children about Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Hitler that led to WWII. It’s done every day in socialist workers paradises around the world. Do you think N Korea gives its people an accurate telling of the world? All you have to do is destroy the traces, silence the opposition and teach the next generation that nothing happened – mission accomplished. A monument that has been removed teaches nothing. An empty space imparts no lesson. The destruction of the statue allows the alteration of the history; with the statue there, both sides will be heard. We need to have reminders of times we would rather forget, just as we need to protect speech we would rather not hear. Honesty demands it.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Where is the black history in all of this?

          1. Everywhere.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            where are the black memorials and iconography?

            Why are there none in the cemeteries where those black men killed in the civil war are buried – like Arlington?

          3. LarrytheG Avatar

            where are the black memorials and iconography?

            Why are there none in the cemeteries where those black men killed in the civil war are buried – like Arlington?

          4. What’s your point?

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            You talk about “history” as if it is the memorials and iconography if so, where is the black history if they are not similarly memorialized?

            Did we only memorialize the white folk?

          6. They are part of the history – I never said they were all of it.

            Did we only memorialize white history? Did you try Google to see if any exist? Did you come to a conclusion before you knew the answer? How does it affect the argument over the statues? Why is removing them the only recourse to whatever injustice you are trying to right? How does your solution advance discussion and our understanding? Does your solution allow both sides to be heard? Do you have a solution other than removal/destruction?

          7. LarrytheG Avatar

            remove monuments to white supremacy and Jim Crow, yes.

          8. Why? Can’t you handle the truth? Can’t you deal with uncomfortable facts? Instead of hiding your head in the sand, you want to hide theirs. Why does the left insist on destroying everything they dislike? Do you feel that superior to everyone else, or are you that immature?

          9. LarrytheG Avatar

            The “truth” is that these are symbols of hate that we shoul not be venerating in public spaces no more than we’d have a statue to a despot responsible for killing people over their racial identity.

            “everything” is _not_ “destroyed” – there are hundreds of thousands of statues that are still in place – and should be because they do symbolize what’s good and right and not what’s despicable and wrong.

            Ask the average black person how they feel. Are you mature enough to do that?

          10. The 0nly hatred on display is your hatred of anyone who disagrees with you. Being everyone’s moral conscience must be a terrible burden.

            And, yes, I am mature enough to have done that.

    2. M. Purdy Avatar

      Would the statue actually be destroyed? I thought it was supposed to moved.

  11. Randy Huffman Avatar
    Randy Huffman

    So I read what is on the Arlington Cemetery’s web site. It discussed the good, the bad and the ugly. Taking it down and erasing this history would be a disservice to everyone.

    https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Monuments-and-Memorials/Confederate-Memorial

  12. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “After all, in just a few years after the dedication of this beautiful monument, America would call on her sons to join the expedition to Europe, to fight in World War I; Americans answered that call, and fought side by side — northerners and southerners together, united in a common purpose.”

    Except for African Americans, of course… not sure this really helps your case…

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      He tries so hard to “paper” it over… but then he trips himself….

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        A bit more context… regarding the “memorial”…

        “Notably, this “spirit of fraternity” did not include African Americans. In 1871, a group of black soldiers had petitioned the War Department to relocate the graves of hundreds of United States Colored Troops (USCT) from the “Lower Cemetery,” where they were buried alongside former slaves and poor whites, to the main cemetery near Arlington House, where white Civil War veterans lay at rest. The War Department denied the petition. Arlington National Cemetery would remain segregated until 1948, when President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces by executive order.

        Meanwhile, the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) identified Confederate graves around the Washington, D.C. area and successfully petitioned the government to have those remains transferred to Arlington.”

      2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        A bit more context… regarding the “memorial”…

        “Notably, this “spirit of fraternity” did not include African Americans. In 1871, a group of black soldiers had petitioned the War Department to relocate the graves of hundreds of United States Colored Troops (USCT) from the “Lower Cemetery,” where they were buried alongside former slaves and poor whites, to the main cemetery near Arlington House, where white Civil War veterans lay at rest. The War Department denied the petition. Arlington National Cemetery would remain segregated until 1948, when President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces by executive order.

        Meanwhile, the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) identified Confederate graves around the Washington, D.C. area and successfully petitioned the government to have those remains transferred to Arlington.”

        1. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          None of the deniers on this thread will accept this.

  13. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    I am often asked at what point I personally dig in on this, given I think localities and communities can decide on the statutes they control, and removals usually don’t offend me. This one is worth digging in on. You can and should honor the dead in a cemetery, where the people visiting have made a choice and effort to be there (think also of Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond). Not the same a a courthouse square. The anti-Semitism angle on this seems bogus to me. But the statue should remain. It is a honorable thing that the nation has provided a resting place for those fallen along side those they fought. Those still waving the bloody shirt two centuries later are despicable.

    Stood at the foot of a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm II last week and the tour guide’s report was the German debate over removing it ended in favor of keeping it to remind everybody of the price their ancestors paid for his folly.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Well, they have NOT been waving that bloody flag for two centuries for sure.

      For almost two centuries, we’ve had Jim Crow statues scattered across many places without a bloody flag waved until now.

      For the folks who had to put up with those statues for two centuries until now, they may, in the minds of some, “overreact”.

      AND where we have localities where black folks are in the minority – AND they take a vote – like in Mathews – the statues stay.

    2. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      Who’s antisemitic angle? The Advisory Committee did not reference antisemitism. The letter writers placed great emphasis on Jewish participation in the Civil War. The title of the BR article noted “Jewish Perspective” concerning the removal of the monument. No one appears to dispute Arlington as a resting site for Confederate soldiers.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        It’s a dedicated area , for the Confederacy, and it’s there along with the statue because of the UDC.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Memorial_(Arlington_National_Cemetery)

        I’m okay with these statues being in confederate cemeteries and don’t strenuously object to them being in regular cemeteries but just point out that the UDC was involved in many of them.

      2. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        Pretty strong subtext that Jews were less welcome in the Northern states, which BTW I doubt. To go after a statue to the dead in a war burial ground strikes me as a perfect example of waving the bloody shirt for political points. Guess we need to erase any CSA reference on the headstones too?!

        1. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          Subtext does not historical record make. Nor inference.

        2. LarrytheG Avatar

          Not the only group, but
          treating Jews as a monolithic group especially for this issue really is veering off the rails IMO. Jews fought in the Union army.

          1. Turbocohen Avatar
            Turbocohen

            Grants general order No. 11. They “we” were expelled.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            On December 17, 1862, Grant issued General Orders No. 11, which stated: “The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, and also Department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department.” The order was immediately controversial and received condemnation from the Jewish community. At least thirty Jewish families living in Paducah, Kentucky (located within Grant’s military department) were forced to move from their homes. Newspapers heavily criticized Grant for his orders, and he was nearly censured by Congress. Politicians, including President Lincoln, were bombarded by the Jewish community with protests over Grant’s orders. There were many soldiers serving in the Union armies who were Jewish, and it did not seem to be right to be fighting for a country that was expelling their own people. President Lincoln immediately had General Henry Halleck order Grant to rescind General Orders No. 11. These orders became a stain on Grant’s reputation for the rest of his life.

          3. M. Purdy Avatar

            To Grant’s credit, he also regretted the order and tried to make amends for it the rest of his life. He realized his mistake. Just like all the Confed. “heroes” memorialized throughout the south, am I right? Hahaha.

          4. M. Purdy Avatar

            To Grant’s credit, he also regretted the order and tried to make amends for it the rest of his life. He realized his mistake. Just like all the Confed. “heroes” memorialized throughout the south, am I right? Hahaha.

        3. James McCarthy Avatar
          James McCarthy

          Then why raise a subtext, weak or strong? Again, who has gone after the statue? Its removal is the recommendation of an independent advisory group appointed by the Secretary of the Army. Read what the committee recommended before concluding a “perfect example of waving bloody shirt for political points.”

          The specific objections related as noted to racist iconography on the monument. Study up before your fingers hit the keyboard.

    3. Your commentary brings to mind the German cemetery at Normandy.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/414943596fe33902dbcc6a78d949142ce0ebaf434e0cbf649bf2825e2f5e48e7.jpg

      WWII was less than 80 years ago. The French don’t have a problem respecting the German war dead, and they’re not intent upon destroying the monument there. But, then, the French aren’t consumed with implacable hatred for their enemies like America’s woke are.

      1. James McCarthy Avatar
        James McCarthy

        As woke I may be, I do not bear hate, implacable or otherwise, toward my enemies. The recent emergence of antisemitic sentiment in France belies your global denial.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          funny he even brings it up!

          But again -he confuses markers for the war dead with veneration of the cause they
          fought for.

          JAB should not be that confused.

          1. James McCarthy Avatar
            James McCarthy

            My mantra is that ideology causes blindness, or cataracts, or myopia. Be sensitive to those so afflicted.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Does not come naturally to some folks… they INSIST that it’s “history” no matter what it is to others affected…

            It’s like “this is OUR history, swallow it”.

          3. How is that different from, “This is our solution, swallow it”, without regard to how it affects others?

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            We’re really not talking about “solutions” when people refuse to recognize facts and realities with respect to physical symbols of white supremacy which are in no way, shape or form “history” of any kind.

            The “solution” is to Recognize that it’s not “history” at all but enduring symbols of racial hate and calls to “preserve” it are calls to maintain symbols of white supremacy in our society.

            I’m “ok” with leaving such symbols in a confederate cemeteries and museums but make no mistake what it really is, no different than a statue of Hitler or other despots – we don’t venerate it, we remember it for what it is. We venerate the thing we aspire to be or love about our country. This is not that.

          5. If you aren’t trying to solve something, why are you doing it? Did you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and decide to beat up on some group you didn’t like so you could feel good about it?

            Of course it’s history. It wasn’t put up 2 days ago. It commemorates people who were involved in a great war – how could it not be history?

            What veneration? All these statues were largely ignored until someone decided they could be protested. People driving by commented on the pigeon poop and not much else. Would you tear down Dachau because Hitler built it? They are both monuments to a time past that needs to be remembered because we need to avoid the evil that happened there. Their presence is a monument to a past America; the new America moved beyond that time and gave up those prejudices. We don’t need to fear the past as long as we remember it.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            Commemoration of Hitler or White Supremacy is history?

            Ask the folks who were the victims if they think it’s “history”.

            It don’t matter when the symbol was put up , it doesn’t change what it symbolizes.

            re: ” All these statues were largely ignored until someone decided they could be protested”

            So you think all these decades, black folks “ignored” symbols of white supremacy and then suddenly changed their minds?

            Is that a realistic view?

            re: ” Would you tear down Dachau because Hitler built it?”

            You would most of them and convert one or two into memorials to the victims not veneration of the reason why they were built in the first place with exhibits featuring the Nazi leaders who operated the gas chambers.

            Have you seen a “monument” depicting a slave being lynched?

            why not? Isn’t that “history” also?

            You still are confusing “history” with overt symbols of white supremacy.

            It’s like you’d still want to use the “N” word because it’s true to it’s original historic use!

      2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        Who said the Confederate dead should not have headstones…??

      3. M. Purdy Avatar

        Isn’t that different, though? We’re talking about a monument in Arlington displaying the worst racist lost cause tropes of the Confederacy, not simple headstones. Major difference, IMO.

    4. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      At last, we arrive at the hill Mr. Haner will defend.!

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        The idea of turning the AP Hill statue over to a group that just wants to denigrate it is not sitting well with me, either. (It should be taken down, however, because its a giant traffic hazard.)

        Quite an American hero, that Joshua Chamberlin.

        1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
          James Wyatt Whitehead

          Chamberlain lived to be 85. He who lives the longest gets to tell the story the longest. John Gordon of Georgia had the same legacy for the south. It is fitting that when arms were stacked at Appomattox it was Chamberlain and Gordon chosen as commissioners of the occasion.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0311b41e194c309445385b79d632c19223ffc43bf6038b98ef26ccdc9b0d9d90.jpg

      2. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        The idea of turning the AP Hill statue over to a group that just wants to denigrate it is not sitting well with me, either. (It should be taken down, however, because its a giant traffic hazard.)

        Quite an American hero, that Joshua Chamberlin.

    5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      If they want them to be honored as fallen Americans (which they are not, btw), I am fine with them being honored in the same manner that other fallen Americans are honored. My 5th great grand uncle is not buried under a memorial depicting the horrors of slavery in Marietta National Cemetery, for instance. Simple recognition of the dead should be adequate.

  14. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    American Exceptionalism’s myopia.

    These slaveholders were not Neanderthals. They were not much beyond our great grandfathers. In fact, the 10th President’s grandsons were alive and still working when I first commented on this blog.

    If it is your notion that our founders were brutes and incapable of understanding the preamble of the DoI, well then, the 2nd Amendment cannot be a stroke of genius. Can’t have it both ways.

  15. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    The South fought to keep men enslaved. The North fought to set all men free. Both lost.

    Jim Crow, 1870 to 1959. It’s James Crow now. America’s favorite son done all growed up.

    1. Turbocohen Avatar
      Turbocohen

      That is simply not entirely true.

  16. M. Purdy Avatar

    “And while we condemn the evils of slavery then and now all over the world, we cannot pass judgement on our ancestors as viewed through the 21st century lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. No previous generation of Americans can survive such scrutiny.” I’ve never understood this particular argument. The majority of Americans in the 19th century understood the evils of slavery, though they were far from racial egalitarians. Go back several generations to the founding, and even slave-owning elites like Jefferson and Washington understood how morally and economically bankrupt it was. What changed in the interim? The economy. Slavery became much more valuable to the South, and voila, it’s a “god-given” right in the 1800s, and not the “peculiar institution” it was in the 1700s. The bottom line, you don’t need a 21st century worldview to conclude that slavery was wrong. You could do it as a plain old free thinking 19th or 18th century yeoman.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      it was a “normal practice” for who?

      some references say 2% of the white population overall.

      As you say, it was NOT “normal and accepted” at all it was reviled and let to a war and even after the war, some folks continued with Jim Crow laws to continue to mistreat black folks to include putting up memorials and iconography for the lost cause.

      In no way, shape, or form was it an “accepted” practice.

      This is where some folks just will not face the truth and are compelled to fashion a false narrative and continue to promote it.

      1. M. Purdy Avatar

        In fact, it was so unacceptable outside of the US that not one foreign nation recognized the Confed. as a legitimate state.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Yeah, well if that’s the case then surely we cannot judge Herr Adolph through the lens either, eh?

      Just how myopic are we to be?

  17. Donald Smith Avatar
    Donald Smith

    I’ll stipulate that there’s parts of the statue that people nowadays find shocking and reject. I understand there’s a “faithful slave” on the statue—I find that objectionable.

    But this is a cemetery. Not a main throughfare that thousands of people have to pass by every day. You have to make a special trip to go to Arlington Cemetery. I’ve been to Arlington a few times, and I never ran into the Confederate memorial, so I’m presuming it’s not in a place where people cannot avoid seeing it. I’m presuming you have to deliberately go into the part of Arlington where Confederate dead are buried.

    If we must, then put up a plaque contextualizing the statue, acknowledge its uncomfortable aspects, and then let it be. Let the dead lie in peace.

    1. M. Purdy Avatar

      It’s a fair point. And if it’s fully contextualized, then I would be OK with that approach.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      I’m not in disagreement on this. I’m willing to tolerate it but barely as the cemetery is not for all war dead not even all southern soldiers dead. Black soldiers are buried elsewhere I believe and this Confederate cemetery is there because of UDC. https://www.jble.af.mil/News/Commentaries/Display/Article/260425/even-in-death-segregation-is-part-of-our-history/

  18. Ruckweiler Avatar
    Ruckweiler

    What next, destroy Robert E. Lee’s mansion at Arlington, as well? So tired of these whiners demanding that history doesn’t exist if THEY say so.

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