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Charlottesville police refused to protect Synagogue from Nazis, forcing worshippers to remove Torah scrolls, exit through rear as thugs paraded outside

As more stories emerge from the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally emerge, the picture of the antisemitism of the far right marchers and the threat posed to Jewish communities and other minorities becomes more harrowing.

Newsweek reported that police refused to provide a Synagogue which stands just a few metres from where a neo-Nazi allegedly killed a counter-protester in a car ramming attack.

Worshippers at the Synagogue could hear neo-Nazis shouting “Sieg Heil” as they marched by the Shul. Armed neo-Nazis allegedly stood opposite the Synagogue in an attempt to intimidate them.

Rabbi Alan Zimmerman said his “heart broke” as he told his congregation that it would be safer for them to leave through the back entrance of the Synagogue after the service. Speaking of the anxiety of having armed neo-Nazis in the vicinity, he said “had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either”.

The Synagogue was also the subject of arson threats ahead of the march, causing the Torah scrolls to be removed for safe-keeping.

The fact that Jews were so intimidated at their place of worship, having been neglected by the police despite the obvious risk to their safety, is an illustration of how out of control the far right has become in America. With the far right now planning new marches in Texas and elsewhere, greater scrutiny of police forces by American Jewish organisations will be necessary to ensure that such events do not repeat themselves or worse.