Is Trump An Anti-Semite? Look At The Record.

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02/23/2017 04:51 pm ET | Updated 1 day ago

Twenty-one more Jewish community centers and day schools received bomb threats Monday, bringing to 90 the number of threats to Jewish locations in 30 states since early January. More than a dozen places have been threatened more than once.

Fortunately, all the phone calls were hoaxes. But Jewish cemeteries were not so lucky. A second one, in Philadelphia, was vandalized last weekend. One near St. Louis was attacked the weekend before. Together, more than 250 tombstones were knocked down or damaged.

These latest hate incidents come less than a week after Donald Trump finally, reluctantly, denounced as "horrible" and "painful" the anti-Semitism that has increasingly inflamed this country since he began his presidential campaign more than 18 months ago.

The first forty-odd bomb threats were not enough to cause the president to speak out. He twice refused easy opportunities to do so. Once he evaded a reporter's question by bragging about the size of his electoral victory. Next day he mistakenly took the question as an accusation of anti-Semitism against himself and accused the reporter of lying and insult.

It took a plea for "religious tolerance" by his daughter Ivanka, a convert to Judaism often described as his "better half," before Trump finally delivered his denunciation. His prolonged failure to do so earlier caused Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of Brooklyn to speculate that perhaps the president "didn't want to denounce his own supporters" because some of them were responsible for the misdeeds.

The growing number of bomb threats and cemetery vandalism mark a worsening of the anti-Semitic vitriol unleashed by Trump’s campaign, something the candidate rarely denounced and often encouraged. Throughout the campaign, many Jewish journalists critical of Trump were the targets of his supporters’ hate. Typical was an anti-Trump conservative, Ben Shapiro, formerly an editor at far right-wing Breitbart News, who wrote last May:

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. Yes, seriously.
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.

And with good reason. Despite Trump's belated statement, too little, too late, and without means of implementation, Trump’s words and actions since he began running clearly mark him as an anti-Semite.

I say that fully aware that, strangely, despite frequent charges of anti-Semitism, Trump has rarely been accused of being an anti-Semite. In fact, he’s been defended by Jewish leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who enthused that “there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state” than the president. And Mort Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America, who called charges of Trump’s anti-Semitism “outrageous.”

More critical but more typical is the reaction of Kenneth Stern, director of a Jewish foundation, who called the president “a serious enabler of anti-Semitism,” but said: “I take Donald Trump at his word that he is not an anti-Semite.”

Donald Trump is arguably the single biggest liar in the history of U.S. presidential politics. Why anyone should take him at his word is a mystery. Trump is clearly much more than an “enabler” of anti-Semitism.

Who’s an anti-Semite? The Oxford English Dictionary has a simple definition:

A person who is hostile to or prejudiced against Jews.

How does Trump fit that definition? Let’s look at some of his actions and statements. Not all are blatantly anti-Semitic. But taken together they go in one direction.

· Speaking to wealthy Republican Jews in December 2015, Trump said: “You’re not gonna support me because I don’t want your money.” The Huffington Post noted that “the stereotype of Jews using their money to insidiously manipulate global politics is an old one.”

· Interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper in February 2016, Trump repeatedly refused to condemn former Ku Klux Klan wizard David Duke, a longtime anti-Semite. Instead, Trump lied: “I don’t know anything about David Duke.” Actually, Trump knew a good deal about Duke, having denounced him as “a bigot” and “ racist” in 2000.

The following month, Trump declared his policy to be “America First,” a phrase repeated in his inaugural address. He borrowed the term from an organization led by anti-Semites like Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford that tried to keep the U.S. from entering World War II.

· Last July, Trump tweeted a picture of Clinton against a background of $100 bills. Next to her was a Jewish symbol, a six-pointed Star of David, inside of which was written: “The Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The image was taken from an anti-Semitic website. Trump insisted it was a sheriff’s star or a plain star. But the head of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish defense group, said the image had "obvious anti- Semitic overtones.”

· Some of Trump’s most blatant anti-Semitism came in a Florida speech last October in which he claimed that “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.” Of these “global special interests,” and “our corrupt political establishment,” Trump declared: “Their financial resources are virtually unlimited, their political resources are unlimited, their media sources are unmatched.”

“International banks” and their bankers have long been code words used by anti-Semites to refer to Jews. And to anyone familiar with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an early 20th century Russian forgery that pretended to be the work of Jewish scholars this was right out of that phony playbook. The protocols falsely outlined an international Jewish plot to take over the world.

One protocol declares: “We shall triumph and bring all governments into subjection to our super government.” It speaks of “the power of gold,” and “the despotism of Capital, which is entirely in our hands.” Another protocol speaks of Jewish control of the press adding: “thanks to the Press we have got the gold in our hands.”

Trump’s speech is right out of the Protocols: the global conspiracy; the worldwide control; the power of money, and domination of the press.

· While he likely never heard of the Protocols and surely never read them, Trump’s campaign was headed by a man who probably had: Stephen Bannon, his campaign CEO who reportedly co-wrote the speech, and who is now chief White House strategist. Bannon, a former investment banker and filmmaker, came to Trump after heading Breitbart News, a far right-wing site that promotes the views of white supremacists and anti-Semites. A reader of political philosophy, Bannon calls himself “virulently anti-establishment.”

· According to veteran Washington journalist Elizabeth Drew, Bannon “is believed to have been the guiding spirit behind Trump’s chillingly anti-Semitic final campaign ad.” Among the villains of the piece were three prominent Jews: billionaire George Soros, whose picture is shown as the narrator talks of “those who control the levers of power in Washington;” followed by an image of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (“and for the global special interests,”); and by investment banker Lloyd Blankfein, who put money robbed from workers “into the pockets of a handful of large corporations.” As Drew concluded: “It’s hard to see how it could have been more blatant.” The ad ended: “I’m Donald Trump and I approved this message.”

· Once in office, Trump has continued to offend Jews. On Holocaust Remembrance Day in late January, the White House issued a statement that failed to mention the six million Jews murdered by Hitler. Sen. Tim Kaine labelled it: “a form of Holocaust denial.”

· In mid-February, an Israeli reporter cited the “sharp rise” in anti-Semitic incidents since Trump’s campaign and election and asked what the president would say to those who think “that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?” The president replied by boasting about his 306 electoral vote victory, denounced racism, but never mentioned anti-Semitism.

· The following day, a Hasidic Jewish reporter assured Trump that his community did not regard the president as anti-Semitic, and pointed out that Trump had Jewish grandchildren. He then asked what the government was going to do about the “uptick” in anti-Semitism as indicated by the community center bomb threats. Trump interrupted, charging the reporter with lying. “Not a fair question,” he said. “I am the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen.” The reporter’s accurate reply that he wasn’t accusing Trump of that or anything else fell on deaf ears. “I hate the charge, I find it repulsive, I hate even the question,” the president said, in an answer I thought reeked of a guilty conscience about his feelings toward Jews.

In sum, I strongly agree with Steven Goldstein, director of the Anne Frank Center, that despite his protestations, Trump is clearly an anti-Semite and that the president’s statements denouncing it were

a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting anti-Semitism.

And no, I don’t care if the president’s favorite child is a convert to Judaism or that her Jewish husband is one of his most influential advisers, or that he loves his three Jewish grandchildren almost to death, or that Prime Minister Netanyahu has all kinds of nice things to say about him.

Trump has said enough and done enough, especially with his embrace of Bannon, and by repeatedly spouting all kinds of crude, anti-Semitic nonsense, to convince me he deserves the evil label. As Goldstein says, Trump “quacks, walks and talks like an anti-Semite. That makes him an anti-Semite.”

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