President Donald J. Trump is a disgusting anti-Semite. There. I said it.
It’s not a particularly brave thing to say since it’s been obvious from the beginning, but you’d be surprised at how many people (especially Jews – particularly in Orthodox spheres) continue to deny this blatant reality.
In certain right-wing circles, if you have the audacity to call Trump an anti-Semite, you’ll immediately be met with: “How could you say that? He’s great for Israel! He recognized Jerusalem as the capital and moved the American Embassy there! He put an end to the disastrous Iran Deal! Besides, his daughter converted to Judaism! How could he be an anti-Semite?”
What these people don’t realize is that anti-Semitism isn’t a one-size-fits-all term. It’s not just reserved for people like David Duke who openly ramble about “the Holohoax” and “the supremacy of the White race.” Anti-Semitism encompasses a wide range of negative and stereotypical attitudes towards Jews (and sometimes the targeted exclusion of Jews as well).
But before I launch into the towering evidence to support my claim that Trump’s an anti-Semite, I’ll address the claims of the apologists who are still in denial.
First of all, Trump isn’t great for Israel at all but that’s a topic for a future article. When it comes to moving the embassy to Jerusalem and withdrawing from the Iran Deal, those were less about supporting the Jewish community and more about giving the finger to Barack Obama and his legacy (which if we’re being honest, is the motivation behind roughly 80% of his policies). Moreover, it’s incredibly important to differentiate between supporting Israel and supporting the Jewish Community. After all, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines (who glowingly compared himself to Hitler) and Viktor Orban of Hungary (who ran a presidential campaign that was largely labelled as anti-Semitic by onlookers) are great friends of the State of Israel. The same goes with certain streams of Evangelical Christians in America who support Israel to bring about the second coming of Jesus faster (don’t Google what happens to the Jews in that scenario)…
Finally, saying “my daughter is Jewish so I can’t be anti-Semitic” is the new “I have a Black friend so I can’t be racist.” It’s simply not an excuse. No one says that Trump can’t be a misogynist because he has a daughter so why would similar logic apply for why he can’t be an anti-Semite?
So with all that out of the way, let’s go down the long list of things that Donald Trump has said and done in the recent past that convey prejudice and advance feelings of animosity towards Jews.
Trump’s foray into the world of anti-Semitism first came to my attention when he was just a bombastic Twitter personality who was only flirting with the idea of running for public office. When Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, ridiculed Trump in 2013, the billionaire immediately took to Twitter to proclaim: “I promise you that I’m much smarter than Jonathan Leibowitz – I mean Jon Stewart,” going out of his way to point out Stewart’s Jewish heritage and seemingly using the name “Leibowitz” as a slur in many subsequent Tweets.
Trump would go on to dabble in anti-Semitic parlance during his presidential campaign, informing the Republican Jewish Coalition that they wouldn’t support him because he doesn’t want their money and that he was “a negotiator” like them, asking rhetorically “is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?”
And who can forget the time Trump Tweeted a photo of a cackling Hillary Clinton with stacks of money in the background and the words “most corrupt candidate ever” written inside a Star of David? While Trump’s campaign manager would pathetically attempt to claim that it wasn’t a Star of David but, in fact, “a sheriff’s star,” a quick reverse image search showed that the picture originated from a neo-Nazi website and that the emblem in question was very much a Star of David. Woops.
Things began to get especially ugly when avowed White supremacist and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, endorsed Donald Trump for president in February of 2016. Trump appeared to be jumping through hoops during interviews in order to avoid formally disavowing Duke’s endorsement. He began by denying that he knew who Duke even was (an outright lie) on Bloomberg Politics, followed by questioning whether he had actually even received Duke’s endorsement in the first place at a later news conference, followed by engaging in maddening mental acrobatics to avoid repudiating the endorsement during an interview with Jake Tapper, before finally finding the “courage” to formally disavow the neo-Nazi on March 1.
Apologists will no doubt say that Trump can’t control who endorses him and that he should be praised for eventually rejecting Duke’s endorsement but when the KKK endorsed Reagan in 1984, he immediately and unequivocally rejected their endorsement. Trump’s delaying tactics sent a clear message to his White supremacist supporters, with several posting on online forums that they understood why Trump had to inevitably condemn Duke in order to give him a viable shot at the presidency.
Indeed, Trump’s inability to adequately condemn neo-Nazis has become his modus operandi in recent years.
After Jewish journalist, Julia Ioffe, published a disparaging profile of Melania for GQ, Trump supporters from the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer began viciously targeting Ioffe en masse by Tweeting her a barrage of anti-Semitic comments and images (ranging from graphic cartoons to outright threatening her that she would be sent “back to the oven”). When Wolf Blitzer asked Trump if he had a message for his supporters that were engaging in such sickening behaviour, Trump replied: “I know nothing about it. You’ll have to talk to them about that.” When pressed again, he reiterated that he didn’t have a message for them before adding “there is nothing more dishonest than the media.” Once again, Trump’s White supremacist supporters heard his silence ring loud and clear, with Daily Stormer founder, Andrew Anglin, telling The Huffington Post that they considered his deflection tactics to be an endorsement.
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the most infamous display of Trump’s anti-Semitic cognitive dissonance, the Charlottesville rally in Virginia. That horrific evening began with tiki torch-wielding White supremacists marching down the street shouting “Jews will not replace us,” and culminated in the tragic murder of Heather Heyer when a White supremacist careened into the crowd of counter protestors at full speed in his Dodge Challenger. In response to such sickening displays of blatant racism, Trump took to the airwaves to inform Americans that “we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
In Trump’s twisted mind, those who march to oppose the vitriolic Nazi ideology are just as bad as those who espouse it. How telling that Trump expresses more outrage at Nordstrom for pulling his daughter’s purse line than he does for those who murder in the name of White supremacy!
For a man who’s not anti-Semitic, he seems to have a very difficult time explicitly condemning anti-Semites.
Somewhat recently, Trump began to kick it up a notch by flirting with White supremacist dog whistles, like when National Economic Council Director, Gary Cohn, resigned, and Trump stated: “he may be a globalist, but I still like him.” The term “globalist” is an anti-Semitic slur that has been used by the alt-right to insinuate that Jews don’t have allegiances to their country of origin and are part of some sort of global conspiracy.
Another Anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that the left-wing Jewish billionaire and philanthropist, George Soros, controls the media and is financing every major cause in order to take over the world. And yet, on October 5, Trump would go on to Tweet that those protesting Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court appointment were “paid for by Soros.” A few days later, Soros would be mailed a pipe bomb by one of Trump’s hateful supporters.
This brings me to the most recent tragedy, the mass shooting of a synagogue in Pittsburgh by a neo-Nazi, who shouted “all Jews must die” before opening fire on worshippers. Hours after the shooting occurred, Trump would go on to speak at the FFA Convention in Indianapolis, where he joked that he considered cancelling his speech – not because of the mass shooting in Pittsburgh, but because his hair got wet while talking to reporters outside, with Trump stating “maybe I should cancel this arrangement because I have a bad hair day!”
The very same day, Trump would go on to show that he learned absolutely nothing about the power his words hold because during the same convention, he would talk about “globalists.” Immediately after he uttered the word, someone in the crowd shouted “Soros!” and another shouted “lock him up!” which resulted in Trump chuckling, nodding and repeating back “lock him up” before moving on to his next point.
What’s so bizarre about Trump is that he’s never shied away from being explicitly offensive towards every other minority group. I mean, he’s been openly sexist towards women, openly racist towards African Americans and Mexicans, and openly xenophobic towards immigrants and Muslims, and yet, he won’t openly assault Jewish people in the same fashion. This has given him that ounce of plausible deniability to the average onlooker. But here’s the thing, those who are openly anti-Semitic hear everything Trump says loud and clear and not only support him, but are encouraged by his words and view it as a reinforcement of their nauseating views.
Trump may not be goose-stepping in Virginia or Tweeting excerpts from Mein Kampf but he’s made it clear that he’s more than willing to cozy up to people who do if they praise him enough. America’s White supremacists adore him and Trump is more than content to have their support because for Trump, low poll numbers are a larger concern than the spilling of Jewish blood.
Ultimately, Trump’s anti-Semitism manifests itself in a mix of classic stereotypes and a blatant ignorance that’s infused with his trademark narcissism that compels him to make everything about himself at the detriment of everyone else. But claiming that someone’s anti-Semitism is “only benign” isn’t a defense.
Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. Plain and simple. Just because his anti-Semitism is less “in your face” than David Duke’s or Louis Farrakhan’s doesn’t make it any less harmful. In fact, it’s more harmful because he’s the President of the United States.
We can’t keep closing our eyes and putting our fingers in our ears to avoid dealing with reality. It’s time to call a spade a spade. Donald Trump is an anti-Semite.
By the end of this article, there will be two groups of people: those who have realized that Trump is an anti-Semite and who will oppose him, and those who have realized that Trump is an anti-Semite but who will continue to support him because they support his policy objectives in light of his hideous interior.
To the non-Jews that fall under the latter category, I say: Tolerating anti-Semitism in your midst by viewing it as a mere policy disagreement is in and of itself anti-Semitic. Jews aren’t a subhuman species that you can just push to the side in the name of tax cuts and military budget increases. Be better.
To the Jews that fall under the latter category, I say: Aligning ourselves with those who wish to do us harm has never worked in our favour throughout Jewish history. You will always be Jewish to them, no matter how much you try to assimilate or convince yourself that you’re the same as them. To them you are “an other.” While it may not start with Jews, it will most certainly end with Jews.
Now more than ever Jews need to speak with a unified voice. How many more innocent people need to get hurt before we collectively rise up and stand together as a community?