The pseudo-leader “helming” the White House hugged anti-Semitism yet again today as he labeled Jewish Democrats today as lacking “knowledge” or “disloyal”. His statement has to be noted, not because it is in any way surprising to hear him say it, but rather, because it further demonstrates and deepens, yet again, the White House’s anti-Semitic ignorance of Jewish priorities in the United States.
Since November of 2016, how Jews in the United States fit into the political atmosphere of our country has become a commonly discussed topic. From Stephen Miller’s complicit engineering of autocratic immigration policies to the Never Again Movement’s direct, peaceful civil disobedience against ICE office and concentration camps, opportunities to discuss the relationship between Judaism and government both within Jewish circles and at-large in the United States have been ample. In Charlottesville, we heard white supremacist, Klan-like thugs chant directly about Jews. On numerous occasions historically and recently, mass murders have been inspired by anti-Judaism; if we include arson of synagogues, attempted slaughters, and aggression at political protests such as the attempted vehicular murder and subsequent pepper spraying of a group of Jewish protesters at an ICE facility in Rhode Island, we must acknowledge that we are seeing an explosion of modern violence toward Jews in the United States.
There are some daunting yet clearly defined truths underlying much of this modern anti-Semitism. First, we should accept as fact that the Right is uniquely anti-Semitic and uniquely married to anti-Semitism as a political position in the United States. While anti-Semitism can and has come from the Left before, the White House intentionally stokes all forms of social and racial resentment on purpose. When the highest seat in power on one side of the political spectrum offers hatred, that side of the aisle has functionally enabled hatred to go mainstream and is complicit in that movement. The White House is guilty as charged.
The second daunting truth we must acknowledge is the standard cycle of communications the White House uses to hide its anti-Semitism. Trump loves to accuse his opposition of anti-Semitism by immediately bringing up the topic of Israel. By bogging down the conversation in a topic that is removed from many Americans, the White House communications team bets on sandbagging any counter arguments to its position and obscuring the very anti-Semitic things it said to start the whole discussion.
Jews are not a monolith; there are a few out there that have been coerced or otherwise convinced to cut for Trump.
But this Jew has a message for the White House and the rest of the world:
We aren’t buying it.
Nearly 80% of Jews didn’t vote for Trump, and aren’t about to start voting for him. WE KNOW what he is doing. WE KNOW of the rabid libelous dog whistle the President uses subtly against us, and the echoing whistles of his fellow flacks and cronies.
We KNOW what they mean when they paint George Soros- who was a child during the Holocaust- as a “collaborator”. WE KNOW why they choose a well-known Jewish billionaire who has been criticizing European regimes for holdover ideologies that rhyme with Nazism.
We KNOW the connection between Ted Poe’s conscious attacks on Soros in defense of the anti-Semitic policies of the current regime in Hungary, and Trump’s rhyming defense of those policies. WE KNOW of the bombs sent to the office of Soros and prominent liberals, all explained away by late night cable con artists straight out of Newt Gingrich University.
We KNOW how the White House’s obsession with strongmen- Orban, Bolsonaro, Modi, Duterte, the entire power structure of Saudi Arabia- ties into his racist, elitist world philosophy. WE KNOW how Bibi Netanyahu’s Holocaust revisionism enables forces to use Jewish tropes to their advantage while passing policies and leveraging rhetoric that endangers Jewish lives and identities to score cheap political points.
We KNOW exactly what the Harris County Republican Party was trying to do by doubling down on a Holocaust remembrance post that might most easily be described described as intentionally controversial anti-Semitic political finger pointing.
We KNOW that the attempt to inject Middle East policy discussions into discourse about anti-Judaism in the United States is a direct effort to divide Jews, and divide Muslim and Jewish communities from one another.
We KNOW that whenever the jackals on FOX sell viewers Jared Kushner or Stephen Miller or whatever other token of capo they can come up with as the counter to righteous charges of anti-Semitic behavior, they are lying and using the Trump cycle to smear Jews while innocently claiming they are courting their votes. The Ben Shapiros of the world will always feel it is justified to divide Jews into “good and bad” (or “loyal versus disloyal” if it pleases the president), flying past any sense of subtlety that might differentiate from the important critique that these figures really should all know better.
We KNOW the dangers of a demagogue who praises and befriends strongmen- both distinctly anti-Semitic and broadly anti-democratic. WE KNOW the dangers of attempting to push the Jewish community toward racist snobbery and superiority by targeting a small cross-section of women in Congress. And WE KNOW that equivocation on the Left is often a smokescreen for what rests below it.
As Houstonian Brian Block so eloquently stated, with just the right mix of gallows humor and social critique to sound somewhat like Sartre:
“The dangerous antisemites who are emboldened by the president’s remarks don’t know how to tell the difference between supposed loyal and disloyal Jews when they’re desecrating our graves, spraypainting swastikas on our synagogues, and shooting at us.”
There is no blanket difference between loyal and disloyal Jews, of course. But WE KNOW disloyalty when we see it; the White House is now disloyal to us as humans, Americans, Jews, and members of the social fabric.
And we’re smart, organized, and politically conscious enough to do something about it.