Trump Implicitly Condones Anti-Semitism (part 3): The Hate Continues
I wonder how Donald Trump will respond when, sometime in the not too distant future, one of his grandchildren asks him, “Zadie* Donald, why do some of your supporters hate Jews … like me?” I wonder how Ivanka will answer her children when they ask why Zadie didn’t tell his supporters to stop saying anti-Semitic things. It could make for some uncomfortable Passover Seder conversation in years to come, don’t you think?
Earlier this month, I posted Trump Implicitly Condones Anti-Semitism and Trump Implicitly Condones Anti-Semitism (redux): The Use of Stereotypes. Sadly, since publishing those posts, the situation has only gotten worse.
My initial post came on the heels of an outpouring of anti-Semitic abuse directed at a reporter who wrote an article about Melania Trump. I wrote about Donald Trump declining an offer to give a message to his “fans” about the anti-Semitism they were spewing in his name. Since then, not only has the situation not gotten better, it has gotten demonstrably worse. For example, when asked, indirectly, about anti-Semitism directed at the reporter who interviewed and wrote about her, Melania Trump didn’t do much to repudiate the anti-Semitism (emphasis added):
“I don’t control my fans,” Melania says, “but I don’t agree with what they’re doing. I understand what you mean, but there are people out there who maybe went too far. She provoked them.”
Now to casual readers, this may seem a fairly innocuous statement, but Jewish readers are most likely very familiar with Melania’s final claim of provocation. You see, Jews have been blamed for causing or provoking anti-Semitism for millennia. Literally. Read any anti-Semitic hate site and you’ll quickly come across charges that Jews bear the blame for anti-Semitism (see, for example, one of the images posted below, asking why Jews have been expelled from countries over the millennia). The best that Melania can say is that she doesn’t “agree” with what her fans are “doing” (you know, like making death threats or posting images of Julia Ioffe as a prisoner at Auschwitz) and that such people “maybe went too far”. Maybe. Or maybe not, I suppose, right? And Donald? He told Megyn Kelly that anti-Semitic and other abuse directed at reporters and others is “in response to something that they did.” In other words, in Trump’s view, anti-Semitism and other verbal abuse is acceptable if it is in response to something he (or his fans) view with disfavor.
Is that the kind of country we want? One in which someone who expresses an opinion contrary to that of a particular
demagogue politician becomes the target of vicious hate?
Ah, but that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the continued failure by Trump and his inner circle to try to stop the virulent anti-Semitism being spewed in Trump’s name. For example, consider the following:
Josh Greenman is an opinion editor for the New York Daily News. He posted some graphs of analysis from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center about Trump’s tax policy proposals. In response, an apparent Trump supporter (with an avatar that included a “Make America Great Again” hat and a profile that includes “MAGA” [the acronym for Make America Great Again]) responded simply:
Greenman replied, asking the Trump supporter not to “hold back” and received this reply:
Your time as the gate keeper is up. Bolshevik propagandists like yourself are a blight on America. Move to Israel.
In other words, for the horrible act of posting an tax policy analyst’s results of an examination of the tax policy articulated by a major party candidate for President, a reporter was labeled “Jew” (and clearly that was meant as an epithet) and communist and targeted with the classic anti-Semitic canards of undue influence and control, causing harm to the country in which he resides, and dual loyalty with Israel. One reporter. One tweet. And not even his own tax analysis. Just retweeting what a respected tax analyst published. What might have happened if Greenman said something really critical about a Trump policy? What might happen if a reporter like Greenman were to publish something critical of a President Trump? Kind of chilling to think about, no?
Then we come to perhaps the most extreme incident (at least of the last few weeks). On May 18, 2016, The Washington Post printed a column by Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post entitled “This is how fascism comes to America”. The column, and Kagan’s warnings and conclusions, make for interesting reading. The column concludes (internal link omitted):
This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.
Jonathan Weisman, a deputy Washington editor for The New York Times tweeted a link to Kagan’s column, including a sentence from that conclusion. The flood of hate was not long in coming. It began with a Twitter user who, like the person described above who interacted with Josh Greenman, also has an avatar with a “Make America Great Again” hat and a nearly identical profile (which is common among a certain class of Trump supporters) who simply tweeted to Weisman:
Hello (( Weisman ))
Weisman apparently didn’t recognize that the use of multiple parenthesis around a name or term is a popular meme within the anti-Semitic and white supremacist movement to denote a Jew or a supposedly Jewish-controlled business or institution. So Weisman took the bait:
Care to explain?
So the Trump supporter did just that:
What ho, the vaunted ashkenazi intelligence, hahaha! It's a dog whistle, fool. Belling the cat for my fellow goyim.
(I had to look it up, but apparently “belling the cat” as used here describes the “collective action problem” or “the situation in which multiple individuals would all benefit from a certain action, but has an associated cost making it implausible that any individual can or will undertake and solve it alone. The ideal solution is then to undertake this as a collective action, the cost of which is shared.”)
Weisman then spent the next eight hours or so retweeting some of the anti-Semitic hate directed his way from a number of different people. Here are just a few of the tweets and images Weisman highlighted with his retweets (see The Washington Post and Haaretz for additional details):
- all kike-americans that would put Israhell first should be dropped from a helicopter over Tel Aviv
- Poor @jonathanweisman is 4 open borders, sexual degeneracy, and turning the US into 3rd world shithole. Elite Jews went 2 far and have 2 go.
- Real conservatives principles demand ovening the jews.
- Savagery is their nature; being from Central Asia they were selected for sociopathic cutthroatedness.
- I’m not anti-Semitic. I love Semitic groups like SSNP and Hezbollah that kill filthy Jews
- in fact, Jews are the biggest murderers of Levantines, so it’s pro-Semitic to hate them.
- Roughly 85% of
#Jews consistently vote as #progressives, hence aren’t fit to be American citizens.
- after the Mexicans and Muslims you filth are next.
- you must be very thirsty without your daily feeding of blood.
- Parasites don't know any better. Its just in their nature. You have to get rid of them to survive.
- You’ve been indoctrinating Jews and goyim with guilt and milking the “Holocaust” for 7 decades.
- Jews have foisted debt, immigration, & war upon us for 100 years. The pendulum has begun to swing back, and it is glorious.
- Yeah I don’t mind that a bunch of pornographers, moneychangers and 5th columnists got what they had coming.
The following exchange sort of neatly summarizes how the exchanges went. At one point, Weisman tweeted about the outpouring of anti-Semitism flooding his Twitter feed:
Generations of American Jews did not believe this still existed til now.
That tweet was in response to one that said:
FAR better to welcome #Facism here than to continue along the #JEW created #Marxism road
And the response to Weisman’s tweet about the continued existence of anti-Semitism:
get used to it you fucking kike. You people will be made to pay for the violence and fraud you’ve committed against us.
So now that the expression of virulent and repulsive anti-Semitism from Trump supporters is being talked about on Twitter and, more importantly, in periodicals like The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Review, The Atlantic, Haaretz, and others, you’d expect some kind of response from Trump, his campaign, and/or his more mainstream supporters. Yet Trump has said … nothing. Still. Given how rapidly Trump usually responds (especially on Twitter) to stories that he disagrees with or which anger him, it seems almost impossible that he isn’t aware of either the discussion of anti-Semitism among his “fans” or the criticism of him for failing to repudiate that anti-Semitism. Don’t forget that Wolf Blitzer gave Trump a chance to say something. And yet … silence.
And it is a dangerous silence because Trump’s anti-Semitic “fans” take that silence as acceptance of or even incitement for more of that behavior. And query whether, sometime soon, that silence will become a matter of incitement for … something worse. Query what happens if Trump is elected and has the power of the government at his disposal.
It seems that almost every day I come across more examples of anti-Semitism from Trump supporters, often aimed at members of the media (who, you’ll recall, Trump regularly lambasts as “dishonest” or worse). For example, Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted about an email that he received telling him that if Trump is elected, Goldberg will be “sent to a camp”. ThinkProgress reported on a number of its reporters who received anti-Semitic comments from Trump supporters:
Kira Lerner and Alice Ollstein — both political reporters and both Jewish — say they have encountered anti-Semitic remarks online while covering Trump.
“I immediately blocked them,” Ollstein said. She pointed out that the attacks were unique to this election season, noting, “I’ve been reporting in Washington, DC for six years, and this is the only time it’s ever happened to me — either in person or online.”
The same is true for Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress’ economics editor. Covert says she received a deluge of anti-Semitic tweets in May after she published an op-ed in the New York Times decrying Trump’s policy agenda as disproportionately benefiting white men. The tweets personally attacked her for being Jewish and referenced her family — even though she never mentioned her Jewish heritage (she’s half-Jewish) in the story.
“The Trump supporters had to really dig deep to figure out that I’m Jewish,” Covert said. “They unearthed this tweet of mine from months ago referencing my Jewish grandma.”
“I haven’t gotten any anti-semitism in my mentions for writing about any other candidate,” she added.
ThinkProgress made this further observation:
The connection between Trump and internet-based anti-Semitism has gotten so bad that The Donald’s name and image is now brandished as an excuse to unleash insults whether or not he is being discussed. In mid-May, a Twitter account sporting an image of Trump attacked a Jewish reporter at the Charleston Post and Courier for commenting on shifting opinions regarding the Confederate flag, tweeting, “I guess daddy didn't love her enough to get her a nosejob for her Bar Mitzvah.” The account’s bio notes that liberals should be sent “straight to the ovens.”
And before you tell yourself that this vitriolic hate is directed only at the “liberal media” consider the experiences of Ben Shapiro (I can’t believe I’m quoting him here…), one of the more notorious “journalists” on the right (he is a former editor of Breitbart), published in National Review:
I was wrong.
I’ve spent most of my career arguing that anti-Semitism in the United States is almost entirely a product of the political Left. I’ve traveled across the country from Iowa to Texas; I’ve rarely seen an iota of true anti-Semitism. I’ve sensed far more anti-Jewish animus from leftist college students at the University of California, Los Angeles, than from churches in Valencia. As an observer of President Obama’s thoroughgoing anti-Israel administration, I could easily link the anti-Semitism of the Left to its disdain for both Biblical morality and Israeli success over its primary Islamist adversaries. The anti-Semitism I’d heard about from my grandparents — the country-club anti-Semitism, the alleged white-supremacist leanings of rednecks from the backwoods — was a figment of the imagination, I figured.
I figured wrong.
Donald Trump’s nomination has drawn anti-Semites from the woodwork.
I’ve experienced more pure, unadulterated anti-Semitism since coming out against Trump’s candidacy than at any other time in my political career. Trump supporters have threatened me and other Jews who hold my viewpoint. They’ve blown up my e-mail inbox with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. They greeted the birth of my second child by calling for me, my wife, and two children to be thrown into a gas chamber.
This isn’t a majority of Trump supporters, obviously. It’s not even a large minority. But there is a significant core of Trump support that not only traffics in anti-Semitism but celebrates it — and god-worships Trump as the leader of an anti-Jewish movement.
Shapiro continues on before concluding:
Now, this doesn’t mean that Trump is an anti-Semite. No politician is responsible for all those who follow him.
But politicians become responsible for movements when they pat those movements on the head. Trump has done that repeatedly. When Trump refused to condemn David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan days before the Louisiana primary, then blamed it on his earpiece, that was a signal to his anti-Semitic base. When Trump retweets accounts heavily connected to white supremacism, his anti-Semitic base celebrates. When he appears on national television and refuses to condemn his supporters’ anti-Semitic death threats against a reporter (“I don’t know anything about that … I don’t have a message to the fans”), his anti-Semitic base takes note. When his wife, Melania, states in an interview that that same reporter “provoked” anti-Semitic death threats, Trump’s anti-Semitic base nods.
Trumpism breeds conspiracism; conspiracism breeds anti-Semitism. Trump is happy to channel the support of anti-Semites to his own ends.
The anti-Semitism on the right may slink back beneath its rock when Trump is defeated. Or perhaps it will continue to bubble up, fed by the demagoguery of bad men willing to channel ignorant rage toward their own glorification.
For even more of the anti-Semitism directed at Shapiro from his fellow travelers on the right, please see his post The Anti-Semites Are Out In Force For Trump. It’s sickening.
Or there is this from journalist Bethany Mandel (an Orthodox Jew who writes for The Federalist and The Forward “usually from a conservative perspective”):
As any high-profile Twitter user with a Jewish-sounding last name can tell you, the surest way to see anti-Semitism flood your mentions column is to tweet something negative about Donald Trump. My anti-Trump tweets have been met with such terrifying and profound anti-Semitism that I bought a gun earlier this month. Over the coming weeks, I plan to learn how to shoot it better.
I implore my fellow Jews … no, I implore my fellow Americans: Do not let Donald Trump get anywhere near the White House because to do so would be to legitimize and elevate this vile hate that has taken hold within some of his supporters. Trump may not be Hitler, but it certainly seems that some of his most ardent supporters wish that he was. We cannot elect a fascist who draws support from racists and bigots and refuses to repudiate hate expressed in his name. That way lies danger … for all of us.
*“Zadie” is Yiddish for grandfather and is a term of endearment used by many Jewish children.