Is Donald Trump an anti-Semite? That seems to be the question of this election for Jewish voters. “Yes! Just read his Twitter feed,” cry out his detractors. “No! His daughter converted to Judaism,” scream his defenders.
And so it goes… was it a Jewish star? Or sheriff’s badge? He said he’d be neutral on Israel, but then he gave a rousing speech at AIPAC. He seemed to insult a group of Jewish Republicans by saying they like to “renegotiate deals” more than anyone else. But he employs dozens of Jewish people himself.
From my perspective though, I don’t think it matters. The anti-Semites who love him think he speaks their language. And they are empowered. For the first time in decades, they have a candidate who they can RELATE to. Mexico is sending rapists. Muslims can’t be trusted. Jews like to renegotiate deals.
It seems pretty clear by now that Donald Trump, at 70 years old, has views on ethnic groups that sound a lot like our weird old uncles who still speak like it’s 1957. You know what I’m talking about, right?
Like how it “isn’t racist” to say that Latinos are “hard workers” because they do a great job of mowing your lawn. Or how it “isn’t racist” to say that Jews are successful because they “care for their own” and have lots of business connections. Surely, anyone who says something like that does not HATE Latinos or Jews. But it does speak to a person’s world view if the only way he can see people is as representative of whatever ethnic group they happen to be a part of.
And it begs the question of what else is your crazy old uncle thinking that he isn’t saying? Are Jews successful because they “care for their own” at the expense of others? Do the supposed business connections these Jews have, give them an unfair advantage over other people? Are they perhaps using these business connections to wield outsized influence over our politics, culture and foreign policy?
By “caring for their own” – Israel – are these Jews, with their business connections and special interest groups and lobbying efforts encouraging a foreign policy which sacrifices good, non-Jewish American soldiers for a war that is not in America’s best interests? A war which toppled Saddam Hussein, who according to Trump was “great” at killing terrorists and was all that prevented the rise of ISIS…even as he was lobbing scud missiles at Israel and paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
So who really benefited from the Iraq War? After all, #AmericaFirst means anyone who may have a dual loyalty is suspect…
See how quickly that kind of thing escalates? When your crazy uncle says it, you can shrug it off. When the presidential nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States says things like that, or re-tweets white supremacists (whether on purpose or not), or uses graphics popular with white supremacist groups, or claims he doesn’t know who David Duke is even though he almost ran on the same presidential ticket with him in 2000, or admires Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists…and on and on and on…it creates an environment where real racists and anti-Semites, say to themselves “finally, I have a candidate that thinks like me!”
All of the sudden, these vile anti-Semites are excited. They’ve been activated. They’re ALIVE politically for the first time in their miserable, hateful existence. And what do these people do when they feel empowered? They attack. They attack people they see as getting in between them and their crusader. Ask people like Ben Shapiro what it’s like. Or Julia Ioffe. Or dozens of others. All for the crime of criticizing Trump – and for being Jewish.
They even went after a Twitter account I and a group of other Republicans created to demonstrate how disgusted we are with Donald Trump’s candidacy. I happen to be Jewish, but the group itself has no distinguishing Jewish characteristics. Still, within 48 hours of our first full day of tweeting, we were bombarded with anti-Semitic hate…on the simple assumption that because we were against Trump we must be Jewish. They even gave us a Jewish name, Isaac, when insulting us.
That’s how insane and virulent this movement is. Even with no basis for the assumption, they will create Jewish straw men conspiracies at every opportunity. And for some reason, they all seem to support and be activated by Trump.
People that have read my blog posts before know that I have been active in the anti-BDS movement for a long time now. I have never experienced this kind of hate even when people actually knew I was Jewish. This is a whole different ball game, folks. These are old school, I-blame-JEWS-not-Israel-for-the-world’s-issues, anti-Semites. Not the politically correct, cowardly, anti-Israel-but-actually-anti-Jewish, anti-Semites we have been spoiled by for the past 10 years.
It seems that breaking down the walls of civil discourse has some negative effects for us Jews, as well.
So you see, it’s irrelevant if Trump actually in his heart, hates Jews, Muslims, Latinos and others. The argument is null because regardless of what he FEELS, his words are being used as inspiration for a resurgent, mainstream anti-Semitism, the likes of which we have not seen in decades.
Trump’s inability to disassociate himself, to just come out and scream “NOT IN MY NAME” and truly reject these monsters the way Ronald Reagan did in 1984, will continue to pour fuel on the anti-Semitism fire and make it easier and more acceptable to publicly hate on Jews.
What happens when the Israel haters finally get the memo? I don’t think I want to find out.
For the record, I actually think Trump is NOT an anti-Semite. He’s just incredibly irresponsible with his words like he is with everything else.