Former president Donald Trump issued yet another antisemitic harangue over the weekend, declaring that “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel — before it is too late!” This is an echo of the canard that Jews in the United States harbor a dual loyalty to Israel and that they must support the nation simply by virtue of their religion.
Trump has uttered this sort of stuff before — without any noticeable pushback from his party. Virtually the only time Republicans condemn antisemitism is when it comes from the left. And now that so many in the GOP fear offending White Christian nationalists and followers of Rep. Marjorie “Jewish space lasers” Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), there is no chance the GOP will condemn Trump’s bile.
This comes at a time of record antisemitic hate crimes. It also comes at a moment when, as The Post reports, “leading Republican figures have failed to disavow sometime-Trump supporter Ye, the rapper and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West. Ye this month tweeted that he wanted to go ‘death con 3’ on ‘JEWISH PEOPLE,’ an apparent reference to Defcon, the U.S. military defense readiness system.” (And let’s not forget that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — touted as the “better” alternative to Trump — refused to condemn a group of protesters in Orlando bearing Nazi symbols in January.)
Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted in response to Trump: “We don’t need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the US-Israel relationship.” He added, “It is not about a quid pro quo; it rests on shared values and security interests. This ‘Jewsplaining’ is insulting and disgusting.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre similarly did not mince words on Monday: “Donald Trump’s comments were antisemitic, as you all know, and insulting both to Jews and to our Israeli allies,” she said. “But let’s be clear, for years, for years now, Donald Trump has aligned with extremist and antisemitic figures.” She added, “We need to root out antisemitism everywhere it rears its ugly head. We need to call this out. With respect to Israel, our relationship is ironclad and it’s rooted in shared values and interests. Donald Trump clearly doesn’t understand that either.”
Every Republican who appears on a cable news programs should be quizzed about this. In particular, reporters should ask House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) how he can keep going on bended knee to Mar-a-Lago or promise to put Greene back on committees if the GOP wins the House majority. (McCarthy, you might recall, deployed his own unsubtle antisemitic trope during the 2018 election, when he warned in a tweet that “we cannot allow Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg to BUY this election.” The three billionaire Democratic donors he mentioned — George Soros, Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg — all just happen to be Jewish, though he denied his tweet had anything to do with religion.)
It’s routine for Republicans “who surely know better,” as the Atlantic’s Peter Wehner aptly described them, to claim that they don’t subscribe to these views or that those reacting to antisemitic statements are simply being “politically correct.” Let’s get real. To subscribe to a party that tolerates antisemitism and is headed by a figure who regularly spouts racist, antisemitic and misogynistic rhetoric is to condone and endorse the same.
Moreover, hatred toward minorities is no sideline for the GOP these days. White grievance, xenophobia, the “great replacement theory” and Confederate idolatry have taken center stage. They are the emotional levers by which Republicans incite their base and draw attention away from their rotten governance. Sure, Republicans might not deliver drinkable water. And yes, they have no plan to solve inflation. But by gosh, they are going to “own the libs” by demonizing minorities and consigning women to motherhood.
Democracies have historically fallen to authoritarian movements making vague promises of national recovery and prosperity while demonizing certain groups. Today, there is no GOP without the racism, antisemitism and misogyny. Voters might rationalize voting for the party, but in checking the box with an R, they are condoning bigotry.