September 21, 2022


The GOP's Surrender to the Antisemites (Jonathan Chait, Sep. 13th, 2022, New York)

On September 3, Cynthia Hughes, founder of the Patriot Freedom project, regaled the crowd at Donald Trump's "Save America" rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with the plight of her nephew, Tim Hale-Cusanelli. Poor Tim, who once served in the Navy, had been convicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection. The story of his "mistreatment" drew moans from the sympathetic audience.

Hughes did not mention that Navy investigators found 34 former colleagues who reported that Hale-Cusanelli had expressed "extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities, and women." One recollected Hale-Cusanelli's practice of asking new colleagues if they were Jewish. Another remembered him saying Jews "are ruining everything and did not belong here," and yet another recalled him saying, "Hitler should have finished the job." Hale-Cusanelli has been photographed wearing a distinctive Hitlerian mustache. His passion for genocidal antisemitism developed into a passion for a right-wing putsch attempt, and now he has become essentially a martyr figure championed by the Republican Party's leader.

Trump's rise has reshaped the GOP, driving out some of its constituent elements while bringing in previously excluded factions, the ranks of which include virulent antisemites. The lessons of Hitler's Germany have been badly overapplied, so it is important to contextualize these events carefully. The GOP may not be an antisemitic party. Indeed, it has managed to maintain a big tent that includes both Jewish ultrahawks like Miriam Adelson and their most paranoid enemies. Nevertheless, it has become a party in which antisemitism has gained a foothold. No recent development in American life has done more to throw American Jews' safety and civic equality into doubt.

They blame Soros.

Posted by at September 21, 2022 12:00 AM


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