Donald Trump and Anti-Semitism

What's happening?

Donald Trump's Twitter account has never been exactly free of controversy, but this week saw a new level of vitriol by and about the candidate. 

 

Trump tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton over a background of fallen money. In the corner, a six-pointed star declared her the "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"

Why is it important?

Many immediately called the tweet anti-Semitic, given the six-pointed star's deep significance to the Jewish faith (as the Star of David) and the historical stereotypes associated with Jews and finances. Hillary Clinton called the tweet "blatantly anti-Semitic" and "part of a pattern."

 

Trump deleted the image and retweeted it, replacing the star with a circle, but lashed out at "dishonest media," saying "that’s just a star." 

 

The original image was created on an online messaging board for neo-Nazis and white supremacists

Debate it!

Was Donald Trump's tweet anti-Semitic and does it deserve the media attention it received? 

 

From two articles published in The Guardian earlier this week. The first was written by Dana Schwartz, a writer for a newspaper owned by Donald Trump's son-in-law and de facto campaign manager, Jared Kushner. The second is his public response.

No and no: 

By Jared Kushner, "The Donald Trump I Know"

 

It’s that simple, really. Donald Trump is not anti-Semitic and he’s not a racist. Despite the best efforts of his political opponents and a large swath of the media to hold Donald Trump accountable for the utterances of even the most fringe of his supporters—a standard to which no other candidate is ever held—the worst that his detractors can fairly say about him is that he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive.

 

In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless.

If even the slightest infraction against what the speech police have deemed correct speech is instantly shouted down with taunts of “racist” then what is left to condemn the actual racists? What do we call the people who won’t hire minorities or beat others up for their religion?

 

I tell people that Donald Trump is a Rorschach test. People see in him what they want to see—if they dislike his politics, they might see other things they dislike, such as racism. He will touch subjects politicians try to avoid. This is part of why he appeals to so many.

 

Yes and yes: 

By Dana Schwartz, "An Open Letter to Jared Kushner, From One of Your Jewish Employees"

 

It takes only a basic knowledge of world history or an understanding of how symbols work to see a wall of cash, a Star of David, and the accusation of corruption and not see the subtext.

 

How do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this. Your father-in-law’s repeated accidental winks to the white supremacist community is perhaps a savvy political strategy if the neo-Nazis are considered a sizable voting block—I confess, I haven’t done my research on that front. But when you stand silent and smiling in the background, his Jewish son-in-law, you’re giving his most hateful supporters tacit approval. Because maybe Donald Trump isn’t anti-Semitic. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think he is. But I know many of his supporters are, and they believe for whatever reason that Trump is the candidate for them.

 

The worst people in this country saw your father-in-law’s message and took it as they saw fit. And yet Donald Trump in his response chose not to condemn them, the anti-Semites who, by his argument were obviously misinterpreting the image, but the media.

Learn More...

  1. Donald Trump's speech responding to the backlash
    • "That’s just a star." (and more—strangely—on Saddam Hussein)
  2. Hillary Clinton's response
    • “Donald Trump’s use of a blatantly anti-Semitic image from racist websites to promote his campaign would be disturbing enough, but the fact that it’s a part of a pattern should give voters major cause for concern. Now, not only won’t he apologize for it, he’s peddling lies and blaming others.”
  3. The original source of the image
    • "The image was previously featured on 8chan's /pol/ — an Internet message board for the alt-right, a digital movement of neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white supremacists newly emboldened by the success of Trump's rhetoric — as early as June 22, over a week before Trump's team tweeted it."
  4. Jared Kushner and his role in the Trump campaign
    • "Mr. Kushner has become involved in virtually every facet of the Trump presidential operation, so much so that many inside and out of it increasingly see him as a de facto campaign manager."