October 28, 2018


How much responsibility does Trump bear for the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh?: Political rhetoric matters, and he has had some unfortunate things to say about Jews. (Julia Ioffe, October 28, 2018, Washington Post)

Trump has had enough to say about the Jews that his supporters may easily make certain pernicious inferences. During the campaign, he joked at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition that it wouldn't support him "because I don't want your money." A campaign-era tweet about Hillary Clinton superimposed a Star of David over dollar bills. He said the white-supremacist marchers at Charlottesville last year were "fine people." After I published a profile of Trump's third wife, Melania, that displeased her -- and his supporters -- the alt-right deluged me with anti-Semitic insults and imagery, culminating in clear death threats -- such as an image of a Jew being shot execution-style or people ordering coffins in my name. When Trump was asked to condemn these attacks by his supporters, he said "I don't have a message" for them. That day, my terrified father called me and pointed out that it was the 26th anniversary of our family's arrival in America. [...]

When I was faced with the anti-Semitic rage of Trump supporters defending "Empress Melania," I saw it clearly: Should Trump win the election, his followers -- some of whom threw the word "k---" around as happily as they use the n-word -- would be heartened and empowered, and they would quickly surpass the gas-chamber Twitter memes they were then deploying.

In the 2½ years that followed, Trump's tune has become a deafening roar. The closing ad of his campaign reprised the kind of anti-Semitic tropes that populated "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion": "It's a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities," Trump's voice said, as pictures appeared of then-Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen (a Jew), billionaire progressive donor George Soros (a Jew), and then-Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (also a Jew). The ad was called "Donald Trump's Argument for America."

In fact, Trump had so much to say about the Jews that his Jewish son-in-law has had to publicly defend him as "not an anti-Semite."

But the anti-Semites have not been convinced. A month after he had ordered his trolls to attack me, white supremacist Andrew Anglin told the HuffPost what he thought of Trump's refusal to denounce them. "We interpret that as an endorsement," he said. To his readers, he wrote, "Glorious Leader Donald Trump Refuses to Denounce Stormer Troll Army." When President Trump blamed "both sides" for Charlottesville, his supporters heard him loud and clear: "I knew Trump was eventually going to be like, meh, whatever," Anglin said. "Trump only disavowed us at the point of a Jewish weapon. So I'm not disavowing him." Many others in the alt-right praised Trump's statement as moral equivocation on Charlottesville. To them, this, rather than the forced, obligatory condemnation, was the important signal. (According to the Anti-Defamation League, the incidence of anti-Semitic hate crimes jumped nearly 60 percent in 2017, the biggest increase since it started keeping track in 1979. What made 2017 so different? It was Trump's first year in office.)

When Trump called himself a nationalist in Houston last week, the alt-right knew exactly what he meant. One alt-right commenter was elated because nationalism "is inherently connected to race." Another wrote that he was "literally shaking" with glee. Still another wrote "THE FIRE RISES."

'I am a nationalist': Trump's embrace of controversial label sparks uproar (William Cummings, 10/24/18, USA TODAY)

President Donald Trump is facing criticism for stating what many observers of his politics and rhetoric would say is obvious: that he is a nationalist. 

"A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can't have that," Trump said at a rally in Houston Monday.

"You know, they have a word - it's sort of became old-fashioned - it's called a nationalist. And I say, really, we're not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I'm a nationalist, okay? I'm a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word."

President Trump calling Gary Cohn a 'globalist' perpetuates dark, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, MAR 08, 2018, NY Daily News)

President Trump, who's built a political career on inflammatory and racially-charged rhetoric, set off waves of outrage after he called his outgoing top economic adviser Gary Cohn a "globalist" during a Cabinet meeting Thursday.

Trump's veiled anti-Semitism comes home to roost in Pittsburgh: Trump is well aware of how white supremacists and others interpret his remarks. What makes it so sinister is that he keeps doing it anyway. (Edo Konrad, 10/28/18, +972)

Trump, unlike Bowers, does not traffic in the kind of overt anti-Semitism we have seen surface among the extreme right in the United States in recent years. His unbridled support for Israel's policies, his Jewish daughter, in-laws, and the appointment of Jews to senior positions in his administration give him plausible deniability. Unlike Mexicans and Muslims, who have been openly targeted by the Trump administration (HIAS has been active in supporting both Muslim refugees and immigrants fleeing violence in central and South America), American Jews have for the most part been spared as direct targets of Trump's brand of xenophobia.

But the president need not resort to Nazi anti-Semitism to inspire the bloodlust of Bowers and his ilk. After all, Jews do not categorically bother Trump. It is a particular kind of Jew -- cosmopolitan, progressive, anti-racist -- that Trump has adopted as a scapegoat for America's problems. His repeated attacks on George Soros, a Jewish billionaire who has historically funded liberal causes, is exemplary of the way right-wing leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian President Viktor Orban are now deploying anti-Semitism: by using coded language to paint left-wing Jews as the source of a global conspiracy working to undermine everything their nationalist worldview represents.

Posted by at October 28, 2018 11:52 AM