In his long, rambling discourse on the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, Iran, the economy and more, he declared, “You have people — Jewish people — and they are great people and they don’t love Israel enough.” Trump is still using American Jews, as he uses all critics, as whipping boys for insufficient loyalty to him and his policies. To love Israel is to love what Trump does for or to Israel in his mind.
He then continued his screed, invoking his favorite slur against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): “You have to vote for me, you have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that.” Again raising an anti-Semitic trope that all Jews are rich and only care about money, he then insisted: “You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax. Let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away. No, no. Even if you don’t like me — and some of you don’t; some of you, I don’t like at all, actually — and you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes.”
It is hard to know where to begin, other than to point out that Trump’s uber-doctrinaire approach to Israel is meant primarily for the ears of evangelical Christians who have doctrinal reasons for supporting Israel. As Yair Rosenberg explained in a column for The Post:
So is Trump a philo-Semite or an anti-Semite? The answer is both. The principle that explains his seemingly contradictory outlook toward Jews is simple: Trump believes all the anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews. But he sees those traits as admirable.To Trump, the belief that Jews are foreign interlopers who use their wealth to serve their own clannish interests is not a negative — as it is for traditional anti-Semites — but rather a positive. He wants Jews to be his attorneys and manage his money, so that he, too, can be rich. He wants them in his political corner, so that he, too, can be powerful. He wants to buy politicians, just like he thinks they do. As a man who has always stood solely for his own naked self-interest, Trump does not see the anti-Semitic conception of the self-interested Jew as a complaint, but rather a compliment.
Moreover, Trump achieves another aim: Sending a dog whistle to the alt-right (“Jews will not replace us!”) who see in Trump confirmation of their negative stereotypes about Jews. “[E]xpression of such stereotypes by the most powerful man in the world affirms and reinforces the beliefs of bigots who see those anti-Semitic ideas as reasons to hate Jews,” Rosenberg explained. “At worst, given the right impetus, the coin of philo-Semitic anti-Semitism can easily be flipped, and all those formerly positive stereotypes can be weaponized against Jews.”
Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League tweeted:
In a written statement, Aaron Keyak, former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, condemned Trump’s remarks. “Trump’s insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community — even Jewish Republicans,” he said. “Trump’s embrace of anti-Semitic rhetoric must stop. Period.”
But Trump will not stop. He continues to single out Jewish lawmakers (e.g., House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) is “shifty”) and his Republican Party routinely invokes Jewish billionaire George Soros as a maniacal force behind progressive Democrats.
This is today’s Republican Party: a cesspool of right-wing nationalist rhetoric, anti-Semitic tropes that find favor in certain circles (since America is a white, Christian nation in their eyes, Jews are “outsiders), as well as anti-immigrant screeds and conspiracy theories. They overlap and reinforce one another, only to be picked up by violent white nationalists spouting “replacement” theology.
American Jews and other persecuted minorities in the United States know how this movie turns out. It’s one of many reasons preservation of our multiethnic, multiracial democracy depends on a devastating defeat of Republicans at the polls next November.
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