by Joel Kotkin
Monday, 28
November 2022
Reaction
17:00

Anti-Semitism is creeping back into America

Both Left and Right are succumbing to anti-Jewish hatred
by Joel Kotkin
Donald Trump hosted Nick Fuentes (pictured) and Kanye West at his Mar-a-Lago estate

Donald Trump’s intimate tête-à-tête with Kayne West and white nationalist and Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes should have caused a storm among Republicans. While Trump has tried to distance himself from the meeting, claiming not to know Fuentes, it was troubling to see how few conservatives spoke out in the first place. Though some have stepped up, like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, as well as outlets like Breitbart and National Review, others remain oddly silent.

This is yet another sign that anti-Semitism in America, as in Europe, is creeping back into American life. Republican leaders may secretly hope that Trump will just implode, but they fear that the millions of people who still follow this increasingly unhinged and dangerous man will punish them in the primaries. Even now, the hold he has over the party is so great that few are willing to take a stand against him on this issue.


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The statements by Trump’s acolytes have been equally horrifying. Conservative media icon Candace Owens, for example, stated that Hitler would have been “fine if confined to Germany”. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano embraced a Christian nationalist platform, while Trump loyalists hurled anti-Jewish invective at the judge who approved the raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate. There is no record of Trump objecting to any of this. 

The progressive Left, of course, will have a field day with Trump’s unseemly banquet, and will no doubt use it to link the GOP with “semi-fascists” like Fuentes and his followers. Yet these same progressives — including powerful Jewish organisations like the Anti-Defamation League — have a history of downplaying anti-Semitism from the Left. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt admitted as much when he criticised anti-Semitic elements in the BLM movement. At a recent seminar I conducted during Yom Kippur, an ADL leader even admitted the group backed BLM because they “did not want to appear racist.”  

The frightening development is not just the existence of anti-Semitism but its growing acceptability. On the Right, figures like the recently re-elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green — who once suggested Jews shooting lasers caused the California wildfires — and Rep. Paul Gosar happily attended a recent white nationalist event organised by Fuentes.

Similarly, certain Democrats have cosied up to Louis Farrakhan, who once denounced Judaism as a “gutter religion”, and widely genuflect at the feet of Rev. Al Sharpton, the same man who led an openly anti-Jewish pogrom in Brooklyn.

Perhaps most disturbing has been the rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses among millennials and zoomers and, sadly, in African-American communities, where West, Sharpton and Farrakhan enjoy considerable influence. These are worrying trends, and more must be done to reverse them.

What is going on in America, long the refuge of the Jewish people? One key factor may be fading memories of the Holocaust. But it may also be the fear inspired among Republicans by the Trumpista base as well as the increasingly obvious desire of groups like the ADL to display their progressive bona fides rather than protect the tribe from wherever the threat arrives. This is not a time for lassitude or political manoeuvring. Instead, this is the moment to stand up, regardless of any other beliefs that may separate us.

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
2 months ago

I suppose mentioning the fact that Trump was an extraordinarily pro-Jewish president would spoil the author’s narrative, and was therefore omitted. Trump was the only modern U.S. president to visit Israel on his first trip abroad, the first U.S. president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and open an embassy there, the first U.S. president to recognize the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory, and the first sitting U.S. president to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Here’s an idea: Trump didn’t actually know who Feuntes was. He was just some bloke Kanye West brought along with him to dinner. Trump does a lot of stupid things. But the Trump hating author is desperate to drag Trump and the right in to the rise of antisemitism among the Israel hating left, and the blacks who resent their hard working, law abiding neighbours. 
The old dishonest Candace Owens quote is trotted out. The full quote is: ” ‘If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well — OK, fine”. I agree. If instead of invading other countries and killing jews, Hitler would have used power to turn Germany in to a peaceful economic powerhouse that made its people wealthy and happy, that would have been OK. 
Omit Trump’s pro-Jewish history, mischaracterise Candace Owens and turn up a few comments from some nobodies on social media. It’s all pretty shoddy journalism.

Last edited 2 months ago by Marcus Leach
Buena Vista
Buena Vista
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well said, Marcus.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Quite right! I hesitate to call it “journalism”; in fact, it reads like a stream of consciousness more than like a carefully crafted argument.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I’m no fan of Trump, but I still have to agree with this comment. Trump has many, many faults but anti-Semitism is certainly not among them. So and so is an anti-Semite because they went to a party with an anti-Semite on such and so date is the same logic employed by McCarthy for Communists. In this case, the facts of Trump’s record do not remotely support the author’s ‘guilt by association’ claim.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I believe the kids/post-modernist lecturers call it “adjacency.”

ron kean
ron kean
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

The author neglects to mention his daughter and her family are Chabad people. That means Trump would have had to hate them.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Someone like Marjorie Taylor Green does appear to be a crank tho? How many republicans like that are there in congress?

John Anderson
John Anderson
2 months ago

In your opinion and can you offer sounds reasons with facts and logic to back up your assertion?

John 0
John 0
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

There could be something behind the scenes on this story, since it is everywhere and it is nonsense. Government money maybe, from the recent US agency that has become very active.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Being pro-Israel is NOT synonymous with being pro-Jewish. Israel is a political entity; Jews are fellow human beings, worthy of the respect due all humans. Trump is a manipulator of the first order, and nothing is beyond this man in terms of deceit.

John Anderson
John Anderson
2 months ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

And Jews should have the same respect for other humans and stop the broad brush smear of every White Christian American as a White Nationalist/Supremacist, that’s bigotry and hate.

Rick Abrams
Rick Abrams
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

While Trump is pro-Jewish and pro-Israel, it is foolish to depend on a narcissistic histrionic. He cannot help but screw up. I do not seize upon Fuentes’ presence as any sign that trump is anti-S. It shows that Trump is not ready for Prime Time. When running for Pres, one has to have absolutely everyone vetted. Failure to have such a policy rigorously enforced is why one should avoid narcissistic histrionics.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago

“Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green— who once suggested Jews were shooting lasers to get Santa Claus…”. The source for this bizarre claim is a piece in the New Yorker which is clearly labelled as “satire”. It’s not very funny, but it’s rather startling that this writer regards the story as actual reportage.

Last edited 2 months ago by Stephen Walshe
Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I’m afraid the author is just fundamentally dishonest. Of course is wasn’t so long ago when “journalists” could get away with this sort of stuff because there wasn’t the same access to immediate information that the internet has brought.
I don’t understand people like this. How could a journalist or commentator take pride in their work when they know they are actively trying to deceive their audience?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well said Sir!

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I doubt if he would have linked to the piece if he had realised it was intended as satire? I suspect rather to believe such a thing he must be lost is in a bubble of bias. But truly anyone who would believe that doesn’t have a clue about US politics, and shouldn’t be writing about it professionally.

Last edited 2 months ago by Stephen Walshe
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Or, perhaps the author just didn’t check the source closely and was gullible enough to believe it to be serious. Not sure which is worse in journalism, a blatant lack of professionalism or an obvious political agenda. Both are common as dirt these days to the detriment of all who consume media.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
2 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I think what would be considered fundamentally dishonest would be incorrectly quoting the writer of the piece, don’t you?

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

But it’s a satire of something she said, about wildfires in California? What’s the source for that? Or quote for what she originally said in context?
Agreed, linking satire pieces in ‘serious’ articles is a strange thing to do

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

The more startling thing is that you just made that quote up. Here’s what the author actually said – its only a short scroll up if you wish to check:
“Marjorie Taylor Green — who once suggested Jews shooting lasers caused the California wildfires”
I wonder what caused you to make that undoubtedly honest mistake?

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
2 months ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I see that Stephen has failed to acknowledge his blunder.
I wonder why?

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 months ago

I was surprised to see the views attributed to Candace Owens, so I looked up the link and found that she was being misrepresented in this article. At that point I stopped reading.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

That’s about where I stopped. No Trump supporter here, but it seemed like yet another collection of biased, dishonest, misleading crap. I jumped ahead to see if there was any counterbalance aimed at the Left, which from what I’ve seen is where the more serious antisemitism is coming from. One small paragraph with no names near the bottom, basically taking about Farrakhan. Why wade through it? No fish down there worth catching in those polluted waters.

Shale Lewis
Shale Lewis
2 months ago

OK, Boomer, simma down now.
As another commenter just noted, Trump is for some mysterious reason beloved by many older Zionists. I don’t understand this phenomena myself, but he has made many pro-Israel comments, just as he has made many comments subtly giving a pass to his white supremacist base.
People are complicated!
For another example, check out this Al Sharpton piece:
https://www.villagevoice.com/2001/11/13/al-sharptons-jewish-problem/
Is this the same Al Sharpton you thought you knew? Me neither. And I’m not really a fan of Sharpton or Trump. But people evolve over time, and everyone subscribes to a complex cornucupia of competing and conflicting opinions. Such is life. But not you, eh?
I’m Jewish myself, but I don’t really feel unsafe in America. Maybe that’s because wherever I go, I’ll talk to anybody; the weirder the better. If we all followed the example of Daryl Davis, and just talk to people who seem odd or threatening to us, we’d be better off.
Before you try to checkmate me by pointing out that you can’t just talk the Tree of Life synagogue shooter out of committing murder; how do you really know? Maybe not by the time he showed up to do the deed; but what about all the years before that? What do you think MLK would say, if he was here today? “Oh, you simply cannot talk to THOSE kinds of people”? Doubtful.
And before you remind me that MLK was assassinated by one of those people you just can’t reach, let me remind you of how many racists he actually did reach, and did convert, in his lifetime. Just like Daryl Davis today.
So do you want to be a problem identifier, or a problem solver?

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
2 months ago
Reply to  Shale Lewis

I’m Jewish…and a Boomer. It’s convenient that despite being Jewish, your family name is Lewis, which was probably changed from Levy or Levi at some point in time when your ancestors didn’t want their faith to be so easily known. Shale…well, that’s a name that might have Hindu roots, but certainly not Jewish ones. My point: if your name was Sheldon Levy, and you were an observant Orthodox Jew living in the safe haven of Brooklyn New York, where 22% of the population is Jewish, you would be overtly cautious when walking alone down the street, aware that it would be prudent to feel “unsafe” given the rampant escalation of antisemitic hate crimes being perpetrated in once safe areas of America where Jews have a large representation. It’s not an outlier for a Jewish man wearing a yarmulka in a Jewish neighborhood of New York to be sucker punched, most often from the fist of a black youth, for no other reason than an irrational hatred of Jews.
At a time when famous black Americans are voicing antisemitic tropes on social media (ie. Kanye West [Ye] and Kyrie Irving), it’s important to remember your aforementioned Martin Luther King, who said, “Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is incontestable..The whole world must see that Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.” He also said (1967), “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”
Trump is a despicable human being…but, he’s done more for supporting Israel and promoting Middle East Peace (ie. The Abraham Accords) than any other American President since Truman. Al Sharpton is still the conman that he always was, just a quarter of his original physical size.
Lastly, when you travel, and talk to those “weirder the better” and seemingly threatening folk, at what point in the conversation do you say, ” by the way, I’m Jewish, what do think about that?”.

Shale Lewis
Shale Lewis
2 months ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

Interestingly, I guess I don’t look Jewish, so it doesn’t often come up. But I recall one time it did come up. I was at a punk-rock party a long time ago, and I ended up in a conversation with a skinhead. This didn’t bother me, as I enjoy boxing and I’m not generally afraid of people. But after we had been talking awhile, some anti-semitic stuff started to creep into the conversation. At that point I said, “I don’t know if this is gonna bug you, but I’m Jewish,” just to see his reaction. There was a long pause, and then he changed the subject and we just kept talking like nothing happened. I don’t know if I changed his mind that day, but at least I made him think about it for a minute.
That’s why I admire Daryl Davis, whom I mentioned twice in my comment. Check out his TED talk, if you haven’t seen it. He’s black, so he doesn’t have to waste a lot of energy telling people “By the way, I’m black,” which can be a real time-saver in conversations. He also knows how to fight pretty well, which is a big bonus if people hate you for how you look, but you want to learn how they think. If you’re afraid of certain people, I recommend learning self defense, or maybe carry a sidearm if you’re really worried about being assaulted by a gang of torch-bearing racists.
Also, I’ve been to New York many times, and I’ve gotten WAY more unfriendly/contemptuous looks from Hasidic Jews [because I don’t look like them] than I ever got from any sort of redneck. So maybe you and I are different that way. Isn’t it wonderful that we live in America, and we can express our different opinions openly?

John Anderson
John Anderson
2 months ago
Reply to  Shale Lewis

You wrote: “but he has made many pro-Israel comments, just as he has made many comments subtly giving a pass to his white supremacist base.”
That statement is simultaneously ignorant and bigoted. Jewish knee jerk reaction to every opinion that you don’t like by yelling antisemitism then smearing with a broad brush all white Americans you disagree with as white supremacists/nationalists is in itself a form of bigotry and hate. Why do you feel entitled to claim victim-hood while spewing falsehoods yourself?

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
2 months ago

The Left in America is the home of anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred both. That does not stop (irreligious) Jews from “cozying” up to Democrats, however. It’s an odd phenomenon.The author, in his unexceptional piece, spends 3 paragraphs spewing the usual litany of lies about Republicans before mouthing a few quiet words about Jew-hate in his own party. This reader is not impressed.

Last edited 2 months ago by Samuel Ross
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Are you suggesting that this Fuentes loser is not anti-Semitic? Or that he is not right wing?
Are you impressed by Fuentes and his little band of incels?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago

Disappointed by this. Kotkin is usually a perceptive writer. Donald Trump may be many things, but it’s pretty clear he’s not anti-Semitic.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I agree with your comment about Kotkin. I felt it was very unlike his usual output. Trump really gets into some people’s heads, doesn’t he?

R Wright
R Wright
2 months ago

The article puts the nail on the head. The more I read about the shocking power of organisations like the ADL and their constant alarmism the less sympathy I have for the (extremely successful) U.S diaspora.

D Walsh
D Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

But now you’re an anti-semite

Anyone who refuses to lick the boots of the tribe is an anti-semite

Rick Abrams
Rick Abrams
2 months ago

That pretty much covers the situation. Anti-S to right, Anti-S to the left. Trump, however, is not anti-S, but it is a fool who makes an alliance with a narcissistic histrionic. Both the GOP and the DEM cater to their anti-S base. You’re right, fools like ADL’s Greenblatt make matters worse. I suggest we tend to our own garden first and get rid of that woker racist Greenblatt. (I recall when the AJC had a similar problem with Norman Podhortez and his vile wife Midge Decter 1927-2022)

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
2 months ago

As an American, it saddens me to the core to watch as mainstream Republican “leaders” stand on the sidelines and give Donald Trump a pass on his outrageous behavior. I left the party, as far as my voter affiliation was concerned, in 2016 when the GOP convention delegates gave the nomination to Trump. Conservative should be known for their ability to use persuasion to see their ideas flourish in the public square. But Trump is all about intimidation, and mockery is his only rhetorical weapon. Now, add his willingness to get cozy with anti-Semites. What more do Republicans need to shun this sleaze bag? Alarm bells should be going off all through the Party, at every level. If the GOP does not wake up soon, 2024 will be a disaster, just like 2020. Only worse… we will have for more years of abysmal rule by the elitist, socialist, woke Democratic Workers’ Party. God spare us.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
2 months ago

Of course Trump didn’t know who he was – the man is a know nothing clown. And I bet dinner was awful – unless of course you enjoy burnt steak with ketchup washed down with diet coke, all served in a garish circus of a resort! No thanks!
However, Trump’s stupidity does serve to illuminate those who will defend anything, whether it be the loser incel white supremacy of the likes of Fuentes, the poison spewed by the likes of Candace Owens, or those who use Kanye West’s descent into mental illness for their own purposes. Shame on you – but we know who you are.