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Is Trump Anti-Semitic? Here's What the Evidence Shows

October 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

After a gunman carried out a devastating mass shooting at a synagogue, many suggested Trump's rhetoric has played into this form of hate.

Is President Donald Trump anti-Semitic? After a shooter killed 11 people and wounded six others at a synagogue on Saturday, many observers said there was a clear connection between Trump's own bigotry and the devastating massacre.

Others responded by disputing that Trump can reasonably be accused of anti-Semitism. So which conclusion is correct?

Here's the case that the president's rhetoric has often been — and knowably so — anti-Semitic and likely to stoke bigotry toward Jewish people.

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly used imagery and tropes known to be associated with anti-Semites and propaganda against Jews. On July 2, 2016, he tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton next to a Star of David against a background of cash. When this was criticized, he deleted the tweet. The image originated on a neo-Nazi forum, according to Mic. (Trump also retweeted other neo-Nazis during the campaign, including an account called @whitegenocideTM.)

Trump quickly deleted the Star of David tweet. But later, he defended it, saying it was a “Sheriff's Star,” not a Star of David. This implausible excuse actually makes the original offense worse, because it sounds like an obvious wink and nod to anti-Semites. Someone who made a genuine mistake by promoting Nazi content would sincerely and profusely apologize.

Later in the campaign, Trump used vague and ominous rhetoric to describe nefarious “banks” trying to undermine the working class. While it's of course not out of bounds at all to criticize the banking industry, Trump's use of global conspiracy tropes came very close to echoing racist myths about Jewish people. He said:

It's a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful large corporations and political entities. Just look at what this corrupt establishment has done to our cities like Detroit, Flint, Michigan, and rural towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and all across our country. …

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