President-Elect TRUMP Anti-Semitism

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It’s already started, Jewish supporters of Trump trying to walk back the Trump anti-Semitism. So I’m going to post a list.A lot of what appears below is from this op-ed by Dana Milbank. If anyone wants to add , please feel free to so on the comments section here at the blog or on FB and I’ll update the main post. Liberal Jews, i.e. the majority of “us,” might want to play the Nazi card lightly. One should certainly not accuse every Trump voter of anti-Semitism. But nor should anyone forget that these were voices that Trump drummed up from that part of the GOP base. While I can make no claim about “the white vote,” Jews who support Trump should be held to special account by other Jews.At the same time, as a liberal Jews, I would like to say kudos to the Jewish neo-conservatives who called out this stinking pile of manure from the very start of the campaign.

The Trump anti-Semitism has revolved around the Holocaust, Jews and money, and social media. Here’s what I have for the moment:

[1] Critics of Trump and even journalists simply doing their job were viciously trolled online by Nazis and racists, especially on Twitter.These include the now infamous Pepe the Frog meme, as well as an image of Nazi stormtroopers superimposed on his image (since blamed on an intern). These things are powerful because they proliferate online. To this one should add the casual use of Holocaust jokes, such as photos of Trump critics superimposed behind gas chamber doors). But these jokes were not just on the far alt-right, but made by prominent Trump surrogates such as Don Jr.’s joke about how the liberal press would fire up the ovens over stuff he said. Re-tweeting anti-Semitic content from alt-right and neo-Nazi sites by the Trump campaign and Trump surrogates was intentional. The aim of these re-tweets was to grab the attention of that far-right swath of the social media and to get their support.

[2]  The association between Jews and money seems be a consistent part of the Trump world-view. About who he wants to manage his own money, he once quipped about short guys with yarmulkes. When it looked like Jewish Republicans were not going to support him, he said he didn’t need their money. This is garden-variety anti-Semitism, whereas the association between Clinton and money was full of anti-Semitic undertones. There was, of course, that anti-Semitic meme with the star of David superimposed over a pile of cash next to Clinton’s face; this the Trump campaign grabbed from an alt-right website. It was not an outlier example. In his final ad for the campaign, Trump claimed he was up against international bankers and went out of the way to include pictures of prominent Jewish financiers such as George Soros, Janet Yellin, and Lloyd Blankfine. You can see the ad here.  This was an intentional act made in full self-awareness by a professional campaign staff approved by the candidate.

[3] Trump never genuinely condemned his support from neo-Nazis and the KKK. Only at the end did he disassociate from the formal endorsement of the KKK, but this was very little very late in the campaign. When asked about it early in the campaign, he claimed to have no knowledge, I think it was about David Duke. Trump campaigned in Michigan with a known anti-Semite like Ted Nugent. No one on the campaign thought there was a problem. Most worrisome of all was that Stephen Bannon was brought in to help manage the campaign. Bannon is from Breitbart News, an alt-right organization. If you want, you can google “breitbart and anti-semitic.” Of historical interest, the very phrase “America First” was the banner under which Nazi-sympathetic Americans on the Republican right opposed American involvement in World War II against the Nazis. Jewish Trump supporters have pointed out anti-Semitism on the left, but there’s no comparison to any of this. The neo-Nazis and other racists are emboldened now after the election. One can point to the rash of hate crimes after the election, including swastika tagging. About this, the president-elect and his team have said nothing convincing apart to now claim that they have nothing to do with it. Or they’ll blame it on the media (run by Jews?).

This is new terrain, no longer a fringe phenomenon. No one less than the president elect of the United States and his surrogates now bear full responsibility for inciting the violent affect coursing through our public sphere and the angry demonstrations. In a desperate move, Jewish supporters of the president-elect are now blaming the swastika tagging on Trump opponents on the left. With zero evidence, they are ignoring the larger climate created by the Trump campaign. Overt expressions of anti-Semitism and racism are out and in the open. I have never seen in my adult life anything like this absolute corruption of politics from the highest reach of government.

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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