Please let me state my disgust with your decision to reprint the article from JTA regarding Aryeh O’Sullivan and his association with the Confederate flag. It is a slap in the face to our African-American neighbors. It is even more reprehensible that it appears one week before Passover.
First of all, contrary to O’Sullivan’s assertions, the existence of slavery in the South was a major cause of the Civil War. It is no accident that the war started with the election of Abraham Lincoln, who vowed to curb slavery and allow for its eventual abolition. The soldiers who fought that war for the South fought to maintain the enslavement of African-Americans. To say otherwise is comparable to ignoring the Holocaust in discussions of the Second World War.
Secondly, the Confederate flag itself for the last 147 years has been associated with Jim Crow laws and white supremacy. This is not something of which either O’Sullivan or Sons of Confederate Veterans should be proud. Jews would be outraged if a group was formed of the sons of the Luftwaffe or the Wehrmacht, and paraded around with Nazi flags. Can we expect our African-American neighbors to feel any different?
In short, there is plenty for the American South to be proud of. The Confederate flag and the Confederacy are not among them. Let the stars and bars be left to either a museum or a battlefield recreation. Aryeh O’Sullivan and his fellow members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans ought to realize that the year is not 1912, but 2012.