Stateside,  Vote 2016

The Republican Jewish Coalition’s cop-out

Responding to the antisemitic abuse and threats aimed at Jewish journalists who write critically about Donald Trump, and which caused one conservative writer to buy a gun for self-protection, the Republican Jewish Coalition issued a statement:

We abhor any abuse of journalists, commentators and writers, whether it be from Sanders, Clinton or Trump supporters. There is no room for any of this in any campaign. Journalists, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity should be free to do their jobs without suffering abuses, anti-Semitic or otherwise.

The statement, of course, is an utter cop-out. There simply is no massive antisemitic assault aimed at journalists who write critically about Sanders or Clinton– as some journalists took to Twitter to point out:

The RJC statement reminds me of those in the UK Labour party who insist on combining antisemitism and Islamophobia into a single issue– when of course they are completely different, and the former is far move prevalent than the latter in Labour’s ranks.

The strange (or perhaps not-so-strange) thing is that Trump could probably put an end to most of this by saying he doesn’t want the support of antisemities, and they should all fuck off. After all, he is quite capable of talking in such blunt terms about his political opponents. Instead all we get from him, when given the opportunity, is “I have no message to the fans”– a response which was gleefully reported by the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer.

To some conservatives, the presence of antisemitism on the American Right has come as a revelation. Ben Shapiro wrote in The National Review:

Donald Trump’s nomination has drawn anti-Semites from the woodwork. 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.

We’re past the point where Jews or anyone else concerned about Jew-hatred can simply point to Trump’s daughter’s conversion to Judaism and breathe a sigh of relief. People like Sheldon Adelson may be willfully blind to what Trump has come to represent to a significant number of his supporters, but the rest of us have no excuse.

Update: Those who deceive themselves that Trump’s antisemitic and white nationalist supporters are a mere handful, or that the antisemitic abuse aimed at anti-Trump journalists is the product of nefarious leftwing provocateurs, should read James Kirchik’s disturbing and enlightening piece in the conservative Commentary.

To take but one of countless examples, one of the most active pro-Trump Twitter accounts, with 27,000 followers, goes by the handle @Ricky_Vaughn99. Unlike many of his Internet brothers-in-arms, who utilize the likenesses of obscure interwar European fascists and nationalists as their avatars, this troll features the visage of actor Charlie Sheen from the film Major League. What he lacks in visible nostalgia for the Third Reich, @Ricky_Vaughn99 makes up for in his concern about “#whitegenocide,” interpreted as any sign of nonwhite racial advancement. “The Trump presidency will probably be bad for neocon jews, bad for liberal jews, but good for jews who are believers in the nation-state and American nationalism,” he told Armin Rosen, of Tablet magazine, via Twitter.

Also check out this article about Ben Shapiro, a former writer who is disgusted with the direction that pro-Trump website has taken– including its championing of the “alt-right” movement.

Finally, this from Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times, another victim of Trump supporters’ antisemitic abuse:

I understand Mr. Trump has a son-in-law who is an Orthodox Jew, and a daughter who converted to her husband’s religion. Mr. Trump has bragged about his Jewish grandchildren. Yet I also see tweets from Mr. Trump like the 2013 missive that re-emerged Monday promising “that I’m much smarter than Jonathan Leibowitz — I mean Jon Stewart,” and I cannot help seeing another belled cat.

I grew up in Atlanta in the 1970s, when friends spoke of “Jewing down” a price and anti-Semitism was casual, if not nearly as omnipresent as racial prejudice. My parents joined a synagogue that had been bombed by the Klan. My father opened his medical practice in Marietta, where Leo Frank was lynched in 1915 at the age of 31.

All of that seemed like buried history until now. In Mr. Trump, many in the alt-right have found an imperfect vessel for their cause, but they have poured their rage into his campaign without impediment. Mr. Trump apparently takes all comers.