Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Holocaust survivor Joshua Kaufman (left) and U.S. Army veteran Herman Zeitchik at the 2019 State of the Union address.

(JNS and combined sources) As part of his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the threats posed by Iran and anti-Semitism.

“My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. The radical regime in Iran is a radical regime, they do bad, bad things,” said the president in front of a joint session of Congress. “To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.”

“Last fall we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on us by a country,” continued Trump. “We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants ‘death to America’ and threatens genocide against the Jewish people.”

The U.S. withdrew from the 2015 accord last May and reimposed sanctions the following August and November that were lifted under the deal, in addition to slapping on fresh penalties against Tehran.

Additionally, the president addressed anti-Semitism: “We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism or those who spread its venous creed. One voice must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.”

He then acknowledged Holocaust survivors Judah Samet and Joshua Kaufman; Timothy Matson, a SWAT team member at the Pittsburgh Police Department, who was shot during the interchange with the gunman in the Oct. 27 Tree of Life shooting; and U.S. army veteran Herman Zeitchik. All were invited as guests for the address.

Samet, who was born in Hungary and survived the Bergen-Belsen death camp, got to Shabbat morning services at the Tree of Life Synagogue about five minutes after the shooting started—a factor that saved him from being inside during the attack by lone gunman Robert Bowers. A total of 11 Jewish worshippers were killed that day.

In honor of his 81st birthday on Tuesday, the House chamber sang “Happy Birthday” to Samet, who responded with a loud “Thank you.”

Kaufman survived Dachau. Trump said that Kaufman told him, “The American soldiers were proof that God exists and they came down from the sky. They came down from heaven.”

Zeitchik, who fought as part of the Allied D-Day invasion at Normandy, France, in 1944, also helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Germany the following year.


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