I had the opportunity to revisit this issue when I came across this statement today: “Americans below the top of the heap, with or without college degrees and regardless of race, have been ill served by the axis of Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, and the Davos-class donor base that during Bill Clinton’s presidency helped grease the skids for the 2008 economic collapse and allowed the culprits to escape from the wreckage unscathed during Barack Obama’s.” Hmm. Only two villains are mentioned, and they are both Jewish. One (Rubin) has an obviously Jewish name and was treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. The second (Summers) is known for being outspoken on Jewish issues and served as director of the U.S. National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. Both have been involved in international finance, but neither had much of anything directly to do with the financial crisis, yet they are being blamed for it, along with their compatriots in a class of international (Davos) elites, a classic anti-Semitic trope.
I have little doubt that if Stephen K. Bannon, or someone else associated with Donald Trump, had written the sentence quoted above, it would be seen by many as an obvious anti-Semitic dog whistle, or maybe even as overt anti-Semitism, as “blaming the Jews” here seems far less subtle than in the ad described above.
It turns out, however, that the relevant sentence was written by liberal (and Jewish) pundit Frank Rich. If you read the sentence and thought it was anti-Semitic, does your opinion change because you know that Rich wrote it. Why? Because he’s writing for predominately liberal audience? A far higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans thought that “the Jews” were to blame for the financial crisis. Because he’s Jewish? Maybe he unconsciously picked up societal anti-Semitism. Because he has no history of anti-Semitism? Neither did Bannon.
If you’re willing to condemn Rich’s article along with the November Trump ad, I disagree, but at least you’re being consistent. If you think only the Trump ad was anti-Semitic, but not the Rich column, might you be applying a double standard?