Op-Ed: Sununu’s Faux Outrage Only Fuels Hate

By Jon Kiper

May 6, 2024

In 2021, a group of white supremacists known as the “Proud Boys” and members of the neo-Nazi hate group, NSC-131, began disrupting Nashua School Board meetings. They flashed “white supremacist” hand signals and waved signs expressing opposition to teachers giving accurate history lessons about the Civil War.

Governor Chris Sununu was silent.

In 2023, the same groups gathered outside of Teatotaller—a Concord coffee shop less than 500 feet from the State House—to intimidate attendees of a “Drag Story Hour” event. Neo-Nazis banged their fists on the windows of the coffee shop, screamed hateful language, and repeatedly raised their right arms to perform the “Nazi Salute”.

Again, Governor Sununu was silent.

Later that same year, residents of Laconia began to see a marked increase in hateful graffiti, with swastikas and hate speech found spray-painted on walls and buildings.

Still, nothing from Governor Sununu.

But last week, Sununu finally spoke up—against anti-war protesters. He called up members of the media to issue a desperate statement against the recent college campus demonstrations, calling them “one hundred percent antisemitic”.

In 1940, my grandfather Dennis, then only 21 years old, left his family’s Iowa farm to fight in World War II. He and his twin brother, Delbert, were among the first 18,000 soldiers to be drafted.

On April 29, 1945, my grandfather took part in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, which had been host to over 30,000 known murders. He was honorably discharged six months later, bringing home photos that documented the horrors of the concentration camp he had helped shut down.

Some four decades later, when I was about seven years old, my grandmother Vera set a stack of very old photos in front of me.

“If anyone ever tells you the Holocaust didn’t happen,” she said sternly, “show them these”. I looked down at photos of tanks, piles of emaciated dead bodies, and the exterior of Dachau.

In Israel, today marks more than 70 years of observing Holocaust Remembrance Day. But in 2021, Sununu signed into law the “Divisive Concepts Ban” to prohibit educators from honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day by teaching that the Holocaust was antisemitic.

Sununu wants to bury the indispensable lessons of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Holocaust under the guise of “divisive concepts”, and he has sat in silent complicity with the growing neo-Nazi movement in our state. His actions speak louder than his words.

Had Sununu attended a campus demonstration and actually spoken to students—as I did—he would have found hippie-esque anti-war activists, not antisemitism. By misapplying and overusing the term “antisemitic”, Sununu mocks the victims of actual antisemitism and strengthens recruitment among neo-Nazi groups.

In my campaign for governor, I am focused on uniting Granite Staters around the shared issues of housing costs, inflation, cost of living, and personal freedom. And as governor, I will repeal Sununu’s “Divisive Concepts Ban”, work to eliminate this growing hatred in our state, and build a New Hampshire in which everyone—regardless of religion, gender identity, class, or race—feels safe.

Never again.



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