January 16, 2020


The rise of American anti-Semitism: Trump has helped to propagate dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. (WENDY KAMINER, 16th January 2020, spiked)

It's an increasingly weird phenomenon, attracting the strangest bedfellows: Christian evangelicals convinced that all Jews are damned, quite literally, (unless they convert) embrace hell-bound, right-wing Zionist Jews and cast themselves as better friends to Israel (and all Jewry) than Jews who vote Democratic and oppose current Israeli government policies. This evangelical 'love' of Israel is not exactly ecumenical or particularly humane. It's mostly reflective of an apocalyptic theology - the belief that the Second Coming and the long-awaited rapture that will teleport Christians to heaven will occur only after the Jews return to Israel. Once, these views flourished mainly on the political fringe. Today they drive US foreign policy. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is a fervent right-wing Christian Zionist, a holy warrior, engaged in a 'neverending struggle' until 'the rapture'.

It should be obvious that this transactional support for Israel, based on a very particular Christian theology, is not inconsistent with at least inchoate anti-Semitism. (How else might we categorise the conviction that Jews are damned?) But the alliance between right-wing Christian and Jewish Zionists is transactional on both sides, and is partly a tribute to the power of partisan politics. Orthodox Jewish Republicans, like presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, are content to share the stage with far-right Republican preachers who have long expressed dim views of Jews and Judaism. As the New York Times observed: 'A Dallas evangelical pastor who once said that Jewish people are going to hell and a megachurch televangelist who claimed that Hitler was part of God's plan to return Jews to Israel both played prominent roles on Monday in the opening ceremony of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem.'

But the weirdness of anti-Semitism today is not simply rooted in theology. It is also political, or perhaps, in some cases, psychological. Consider the strangeness of xenophobic presidential adviser Stephen Miller, a descendent of Jewish immigrants and an architect of Trump's draconian anti-immigration policies who embraces white nationalism. Listen to the rantings of Rudy Giuliani, the erratic, possibly demented, Italian-American Trump fixer, who declares himself a better Jew than Holocaust survivor George Soros. He 'doesn't go to church, he doesn't go to religion', Giuliani explains nonsensically. But Soros's real sin, of course, is the fact that he has devoted much of his considerable fortune to supporting liberal or progressive causes and candidates, and, according to Giuliani, 'he's an enemy of Israel'.

What do Trumpists like Giuliani mean when they label someone an enemy of Israel? They mean that he opposes Benjamin Netanyahu, who seems to share a motto with Donald Trump: L'etat c'est moi. From this perspective, a lot of Israeli Jews eager to oust Netanyahu are also enemies of Israel, just as Americans who oppose Donald Trump are enemies of his state. (Trumpists, for example, condemn Americans who question the wisdom or legality of the Soleimani killing as treasonous terrorist lovers who mourn his death.)

Jewish Americans who oppose both Trump and Netanyahu are deemed doubly treasonous. The nominally Protestant, apparently irreligious Donald Trump casts himself as 'King of Israel' and 'the chosen one' and claims that Jews who support Democrats (a majority of Jewish voters) are guilty of 'either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty... you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel.'

So Trump, this gentile 'King of Israel', schools Jews on their tribal obligations partly by indulging in anti-Semitic stereotypes: he chides them for violating what he assumes are, or should be, their dual loyalties to Israel and the US. He reminds them that they love money and will vote for him, even if they dislike him, because Democrats like Elizabeth Warren want to tax their wealth. 'You're brutal killers, not nice people at all', the president told a group of wealthy Jews, approvingly. [...]

[S]tereotyping is, of course, the basis of bigotry, and while Trump may feel some kinship with his stereotyped vision of 'money-grubbing' Jews, while he has Jewish grandchildren and a favoured daughter who converted to Judaism, he's encouraged and benefitted from a Christian nationalist movement and the rise of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Indeed, he employs anti-Semitic memes when they serve him politically. He has, for example, advanced the fiction that Jewish billionaire Soros funded the caravan of 'very dangerous' Central American immigrants seeking refuge in the US. After all, 'a lot of people are saying' that Soros, the right-wing symbol of an imagined globalist Jewish conspiracy, was behind the 'invasion' of people who 'don't have the wellbeing of our country in mind'. Trump made these remarks shortly after a crazed wingnut murdered 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, in the belief that Jews were behind an 'invasion' of non-white immigrants.

Given his oft-stated sexual desire for Ivanka, it can't help that Jared is Jewish, but Donald was anti-Semitic long before she was even born.

Posted by at January 16, 2020 12:56 PM