Jonathan Russo

Republican Jewish Coalition conference dispels antisemitic myths

If only the Republican Jewish Coalition would study history, it would never align itself with the Trump wing of the formerly normal GOP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting at The Venetian hotel-casino November 6, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting at The Venetian hotel-casino November 6, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

One of the oldest antisemitic charges is that Jews are overly clever, manipulative, and exploitative of Christians. Jews are often characterized as wily and cunning, able to profit from the misfortune of gentiles.

After thousands of years, those charges can now be laid to rest. The Republican Jewish Coalition conference held in Las Vegas (of all places) from November 5th to 7th has repudiated that myth once and for all.

The conference assembled the cunning cream of Jewish America to listen to a who’s who of conservative charlatans tell them that Donald Trump won the election, that his policies were in their interest, and that his opponents would surely destroy (in no particular order): their tax deductions, Israel, the economy, freedom, and the biggest whopper of all, “election integrity.”

The clever and wily audience was asked by Senator Ted Cruz to imagine redemption coming to them via “soccer moms from Virginia.” The return of the rural, low-income, and poorly educated white population that was credited with Republican Glenn Youngkin winning Virginia’s governorship earlier this month was declared to be the parting of a political Red Sea. On the other side of that sea, Republicans and their Jewish brethren would return to the promised land of low taxes, “maximum pressure” on Iran, and properly placed embassies.

How it is that rural, low-income, and poorly educated white people have become the Republican base — and friends with the Jewish people attending the Las Vegas conference — will forever remain a mystery. This current Republican base is not a group that has historically been kind to the Jewish community. Nevertheless, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was met with delight from the audience when he announced that “a Republican wave is underway.”

While hedging some bets, speaker after speaker made sure to align themselves with Trump. Sen. Cruz mentioned the former president’s “backbone” and “courage.”

I don’t know about you, but, in over half a century of following politics, I can’t recall a curse on America more frightful than Donald Trump. He has no decent skills to speak of, is toxic to our politics and a threat to our democracy. His pathological lying stands in the face of everything I was taught in, yes, Hebrew school. My few but powerful connections in Israeli intelligence tell me that Iran only advanced its nuclear timetable once Trump withdrew from the global accord. The Abraham Accords were in the works for decades before his and his son-in-law’s arrival.

Trump’s disgraceful tax cuts that helped, in his own words, “not nice people at all” (his prejudiced characterization of Jewish businesspeople), were an economic con that fueled a deficit sinkhole while distributing the gains to the one-percenters. So much for rachmones.

The Las Vegas assembly also appeared to like Trump’s pal Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, the conspiracy theorist of “Jewish space laser” fame.

It has been said that few really study history anymore. So I offer a very brief lesson to the conservative Jews at the Las Vegas conference:

Jews have never done well in politically unstable societies. Regimes that propagate lies and encourage mass violence are never safe havens for Jews. Regimes that divide and incite hatred for others always eventually end up adding Jews to the mix of those to be despised.

Politicians that use lies and fabrications to further their agendas always create a blowback that endangers Jewish interests. The massacre at the Tree of Life shul in Pittsburgh was no accident. The Charlottesville rioters chanting “Jews will not replace us” did not emerge out of nowhere. One of the reasons America has been a relatively safe shelter for Jews is because of its social stability. Because it is a nation of laws, not of dictators.

The American Jewish Committee reports that a quarter of American Jews have been victims of antisemitism over the last year, and other Jewish groups have reported a noticeable rise in antisemitism in recent years.

It beggars belief to think Jewish interests could possibly align with the Trump wing of the formerly normal GOP. Jewish support for a man that would destroy the safety of their community, something George Washington promised in his address at the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island in 1790, is unforgivable.

However, it proves once and for all that there is absolutely nothing to the myths of Jewish cunning and cleverness.

About the Author
Jonathan Russo has been observing Israel and its policies since he first visited in 1966. He is a businessman in New York City.
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