Deborah Lipstadt wrote a new book on anti-Semitism. Then Pittsburgh happened

Good long and thoughtful interview, particularly on the enablers and the need to think outside one’s bubble:

The advance copies of Deborah Lipstadt’s new book, “Antisemitism Here and Now,” display a cover photo of a white supremacist carrying a tiki torch.

But that iconic image of the August 2017 white power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, could now be replaced by another one: Police tape cordoning off the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. Or perhaps the row of cut-out stars displaying the names of that massacre’s 11 victims.

“Antisemitism,” written earlier this year and due out in February, offers a concise and comprehensive overview of the various forms of Jew-hatred that have reappeared or intensified during the past few years. And before Pittsburgh, there already was plenty to write about: anti-Semitic attacks in Europe; the “alt-right” in the US; the persistence of Holocaust revisionism and denial; whether and when criticism of Israel qualifies as anti-Semitic; and of course Charlottesville.

Then the shooting happened. For Lipstadt, the renowned Holocaust historian and Emory University professor, the tragedy in Pittsburgh was both a surprise and a reaffirmation of her warnings.

Lipstadt, 71, spoke with JTA in New York City this week about what the Pittsburgh shooting means for American Jews and how Jews should fight anti-Semitism. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

JTA: What are your thoughts about the book following Pittsburgh?

Lipstadt: I wasn’t surprised by Pittsburgh, but I was shocked. I wasn’t surprised because I kept saying something’s going to happen in our country, and had been happening.

It would be easy to say everything changes after Pittsburgh, and I do think everything changed for Jews, for synagogues. Any synagogue board that in the past 10 days hasn’t met to discuss security operations is crazy. That’s the new normal.

We had one incident, a horrible incident — it doesn’t characterize our whole country — but it is disturbing. I tell the story, the one I end the book with, of walking into shul with a little friend who’s now 6 1/2, and her mother said, “Say thank you to the police officer for keeping us safe.”

She’s going to figure it out soon enough. She’ll look across the street at the church dead opposite our shul and there are no police officers there. How do you recognize a shul now if you don’t know exactly what the number is or what the cross street is? Look for the police officers. Kids recognize that.

There will be kids who say what do I want to go to Hillel for? There will be parents who will say, you know what? Why should I take my kid to a place where there’s danger?

In your book, you focus largely on people who enable or minimize anti-Semitism, as opposed to hardcore anti-Semites themselves. Why is that?

It’s “farfaln” [Yiddish, roughly, for “a lost cause”] to try to change those people. I could write about David Duke from here until the cows come. I’m not going to change David Duke’s mind. We all know David Duke is a lowlife of the first order, but it’s the people who might be influenced by David Duke who I want to reach.

Farrakhan, he’s a disgusting excuse for a human being. But it’s the people around him, Linda Sarsour, [Women’s March co-chair] Tamika Mallory, who have the voice of the press, who are listened to. They’re enablers. The enablers are much more dangerous to me than the people we recognize.

On some level, it’s the non-Hitlerian kind of anti-Semite, the one who doesn’t quite present as an anti-Semite, who’s much more dangerous because that’s the person who’s going to have access to the public.

How do you view Linda Sarsour’s activism and fundraising on behalf of Jewish causes, and her collaborations with progressive Jewish groups?

There are lots of people who proclaim they’re against anti-Semitism — “Pittsburgh? Terrible!” Linda Sarsour, you know. At the same time, on the other side of her mouth, she’s talking about don’t humanize Israel and when you wear a Jewish star it makes me feel unsafe. She’s talking out of two sides of her mouth.

[At an event in September, after criticizing Israel, Sarsour said, “If you’re on the side of the oppressor, or you’re defending the oppressor, or you’re actually trying to humanize the oppressor, then that’s a problem…” In 2017, speaking at a march protesting racism, Sarsour said, “I’m going to be honest, there are instances of things that happened to me at this space that made me feel unsafe.” Some people took that as a reference to Zionist signs.]

I don’t trust people like that. One of the reasons I’m particularly not trusting of someone like that is that there are so many Jews on the left who come so cheap. They wrote me, “Look, Linda Sarsour criticized Pittsburgh, look, she’s helped to rebuild a cemetery,” etc. Give me a break. Anyone who’s not going to criticize what happened in Pittsburgh … someone gets credit? OK, so she’s raising money to help rebuild a cemetery, that’s very nice. But at the same time she’s making awful statements about Jews. Not just about Zionists but about Jews.

Farrakhan, he called Jews termites, and Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory and leaders of the Women’s March are embracing him and praising him. He called us termites. How much more do you need?

On the right, is a person with 50 Twitter followers who sends a meme something we really need to be concerned about?

If it were one person with 50 followers I’d say let’s get a life. But it’s not one person with 50 followers. It’s 500 people with 50 followers and one of them with a thousand and another, like a Richard Spencer, who figures out how to take those 50 and 50 and 50 and turn them into something more acceptable and more mainstream.

It’s a ripple effect. The internet can be a weapon or it can be a great tool for connecting people. Given that we now have the internet, given that these right-wingers have learned how to use it, they have a tool they didn’t have before.

The thing that really galvanized it was, of course, having a president who — I don’t know if Donald Trump is an anti-Semite, I doubt that he’s an anti-Semite. But that’s the wrong question to ask. The question to ask is, does he enable anti-Semites?

[Lipstadt then refers to anti-Semitic abuse from Trump supporters directed toward reporter Julia Ioffe, who wrote a critical profile of Melania Trump in 2016.]

That would have been the moment for him to look straight into the camera and say, “Listen, this is not how I want to win the presidency. This is not what America is about.” Instead he said “I have no message for them.” [Trump told CNN, “I don’t have a message to the fans.”]

You have a president who glorifies violence. You have this violence, this glorification of violence. You put it together with white nationalism, white supremacy. At the heart of that white nationalism is a deep-seated anti-Semitism.

You criticize activists who lead the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel. But could you explain why you also have harsh words for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who they oppose?

Bibi has done a number of things. First of all, his welcoming and embrace of [Hungarian prime minister] Viktor Orban, who has been pushing this Soros imagery [billboards criticizing the liberal Jewish philanthropist George Soros] and cracking down on the Jewish community of Budapest in a horrible, horrible way.

No. 2, what happened with the critics of BDS and that policy of keeping them out [of Israel]. Not only is it antithetical to Israel being a democracy, but it steals us of our best argument against BDS. BDS says “shut down the conversation, don’t bring anybody who might disagree with you,” and we say “no, open up the conversation.”

Most of all, the Polish law [criminalizing blaming Poles for collaborating with the Holocaust]. When the Polish law came out, Israel was appalled and was absolutely critical of Poland for this law. But then they announced with great fanfare, with Bibi at the table, we’ve worked things out with Poland, and Poland is changing the law so that it’s not as offensive.

What they had done is essentially changed the punishment from criminal to civil, but at the same time taken away protections for professors and artists.

This bending to Poland on this law was realpolitik. Bibi did it because he wants Orban in Hungary and whoever’s leading the Polish government at the moment, and Austria, to be his friends. Now you can say that’s realpolitik, but don’t do that and then claim Israel is the primary spokesperson and the address for fighting world anti-Semitism when you have coddled an anti-Semite like Orban, when you have made room for a soft-core Holocaust denial law like the Polish law. When you’re talking about anti-Semitism, there’s a red line.

You criticize people on both left and right, anti-Israel activists and the Israeli prime minister. Do you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle trying to carve out space in the middle?

I call it as I see it. If I thought it was a losing battle I probably wouldn’t do it.

I think there are a lot of Jews who feel like I do. I think there are a lot of Jews who will read half the book and remember half the book, who will be appalled when I’m putting down the right and love it when I’m putting down the left and be appalled when I’m putting down the left and love it when I’m putting down the [right].

I’m not out to win a popularity contest. I hope I’m not a voice crying out into the dark. I didn’t write the book to convince people who already know what they think. If the book makes people a little bit uncomfortable, and makes them reassess where they are and what they’re doing and where they see things, that’s good, too.

So what should we do to fight anti-Semitism?

I compare anti-Semitism to herpes. For most of the time we’ve had herpes, it couldn’t be cured. And if you were suddenly under stress, boom, up would come a herpes infection. Anti-Semitism is like herpes. When a society is under stress, it appears.

I would say the following things: They won’t cure it, but at least it might help alleviate it.

Don’t see anti-Semitism only on the other side of the political transom from which you are located. All these Jews on the left who suddenly, when Trump was running, saw anti-Semitism on the right and began to get all upset about that. And they weren’t wrong. But they had a patch on.

All those people on the right who are now saying Pittsburgh was a one-off, but we really should be worried about BDS. Of course we should be worried about BDS, but if you’re on the right you can have a conversation with those people. If you’re on the left you can try to have a conversation with those people.

If you’re only seeing it on the opposite side of the transom, you’re instrumentalizing this for political purposes.

I call for civil society. It used to be we could take our lead from government and leadership. We can’t. So it becomes incumbent on civil society to take a role.

A healthy democratic society cannot tolerate anti-Semitism and racism. If that is festering in its midst, it says something is unhealthy about the society. It’s not just Jews for whom this is dangerous. This should terrify you. Because if this is happening to Jews, it may start with the Jews but it doesn’t end with the Jews.

Source: Deborah Lipstadt wrote a new book on anti-Semitism. Then Pittsburgh happened

Amazon’s Algorithm Has an Anti-Semitism Problem

As we are also seeing in the ongoing Facebook scandals, tech hasn’t managed to include ethical and moral considerations in its business models and algorithms:

In the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre, I invited my followers on Twitter to send me their inquiries about anti-Semitism. The response was overwhelming, and ran the gamut from questions about specific aspects of the prejudice to requests for advice on how to help fight it. One reader asked for more information about the Rothschild family, the Jewish banking dynasty that is a favorite bogeyman of anti-Semites and is typically used as a stand-in for the Jewish conspiracy that purportedly controls world affairs. He explained that some in his circle of friends regularly make bigoted remarks about the Rothschilds and their vast power and he wanted to set them straight. I’d written a report about the Rothschilds in school years ago, but figured there was probably better, more up-to-date material out there. So like anyone else, I went to Amazon.com and plugged in “history of rothschilds.” To my surprise, this is what I got:

amazonrothschilds
Rather than direct me to serious scholarship on the Rothschilds, like historian Niall Ferguson’s multivolume history on the family, Amazon first recommended blatantly bigoted content.

This isn’t the only instance of Amazon’s algorithm feeding intellectually bankrupt content to intellectually curious readers regarding fraught subjects. A search for “who did 9/11” yields this book as the #1 search result:

amazon911

As the book’s own blurb notes, its author, Nick Kollerstrom, is a “longtime member of Britain’s 9/11 truth group.” Among other conspiracies, the book contains an entire chapter entitled “9/11 and Zion” which blames the attack on the Jews. (Kollerstrom also happens to be a Holocaust denier who infamously declared, “Let us hope the schoolchildren visitors are properly taught about the elegant swimming pool at Auschwitz, built by the inmates, who would sunbathe there on Saturday and Sunday afternoons while watching the water polo matches.”)

Similarly, if one searches for “Jews and the slave trade,” the second, fourth, and fifth results are not scholarship on the subject, but notoriously anti-Semitic publications from Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Farrakhan has worked for years to mainstream the baseless anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews were behind the African slave trade.

(All searches above were done logged out from Amazon while incognito on Chrome, to ensure that the search results were the default ones, and not influenced by the specific user or their past search history.)

This isn’t Amazon’s first run-in with anti-Semitism concerns. Back in 2000, the company came under fire for stocking The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, one of the most influential anti-Semitic tracts in history. At the time, while firmly distancing itself from the bigoted content, Amazon insisted that it would not remove it from the catalog, because the company does not censor books. Today, copies of The Protocols on Amazon carry a cautionary message from the Anti-Defamation League and the following disclaimer from the company:

As a bookseller, Amazon strongly believes that providing open access to written speech, no matter how hateful or ugly, is one of the most important things we do. And because we think the best remedy for offensive speech is more speech, we also make available to readers the ability to make their own voices heard and express their views about this and all our titles in reviews and ratings.

It’s a reasonable defense. But it does not cover Amazon’s algorithm prioritizing the bigoted books over the legitimate ones.

The problem here is not that Amazon sells anti-Semitic material. The problem here is not that Amazon is trying to be anti-Semitic. It’s that the company is ignorant of anti-Semitic ideas, and so has not trained its algorithm to discount them. If a human librarian were asked about the Rothschilds, 9/11, or Jews and the slave trade, they would know how to distinguish between conspiratorial rantings and genuine documentation. They would also likely be aware of the anti-Semitic canards swirling around the subjects, and would steer interested readers away from them. Amazon’s vaunted search engine, perfectly tuned to maximize sales and the user’s shopping experience, has no such cultural competency.

Beyond the moral failure, these results also represent a straightforward professional failure. When a person searches for “history of rothschilds,” they are looking for historical information on the family, not a book featuring a shadowy figure squeezing blood out of globe. A bookselling algorithm that feeds readers misinformation is a broken bookselling algorithm.

If big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google want to get serious about combating online hate and misinformation, they need to start developing cultural competency on bigotry—and fast. They need not just coding experts working on their algorithms, but anti-hate experts who can flag conspiratorial currents. After all, it’s impossible for computers to identify a prejudice if they don’t know what it looks like. It’s about time we started teaching them.

Source: Amazon’s Algorithm Has an Anti-Semitism Problem

What has Germany really learned – and remembered – from Kristallnacht?

Good commentary with the lingering questions “What have we learned from the Shoah?”:

Last week, Germany memorialized the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht – “the night of broken glass” – during which 1,400 synagogues and innumerable Jewish businesses throughout the country were vandalized. There were dozens of killings on that day, Nov. 9, 1938. At least 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

It was the visible unravelling of the old as a violent new social order was born, yet the savagery had not emerged from a void, as many have since argued. For almost a century, anti-Semitic speech had been increasingly normalized in public discourse. The brutality of Kristallnacht was an unsurprising outcome once a leader able to channel hatred arrived on the scene.

As the 2018 memorial date approached, the German government banned a planned protest march by far-right groups. This was a risky move in a liberal democracy, but necessary, according to Thomas Lutz, who heads the Memorial Museums Department of the Topography of Terror Foundation in Berlin. Mr. Lutz told me he encouraged the authorities to take preventative action. He belongs to the postwar generations who have made moral responsibility and Holocaust education their life’s work – a group that is being tested as never before. The radical Alternative for Germany party (AfD) is a serious threat to the German liberal consensus. Having entered the political mainstream in 2017, its leaders are hostile to foreigners and to Holocaust memorialization in the name of resurgent ethnic nationalism.

Two political streams are emerging where, until recently, there was only one. The AfD is increasing its support, but last week the older ethos was also visible when a 94-year-old former SS guard went on trial for crimes committed in Poland. “Germany owes it to the families and victims to prosecute these Nazi war crimes even today,” the prosecutor said. “This is a legal and moral question.”

No country has made greater efforts to atone for Second World War crimes than Germany, the perpetrator state. Since the 1970s, schoolchildren have learned about the Holocaust through history classes and mandatory visits to concentration camps. Museums such as Mr. Lutz’s superb Topography of Terror, which details the Nazi regime in words and pictures, have been erected. Small and large memorials pepper Berlin, including the massive and unsettling Holocaust Memorial near the famous Brandenburg Gate.

On the other hand, the former East Germany did not parallel this education. According to Communist ideology, there were no war criminals east of the Wall: they all lived in the West; a fiction that blocked acknowledgement and reflection. At reunification in 1990, the two cultures were largely strangers, and in the subsequent years, the promise of measurable gain has not materialized in much of the East. One can plot the growth of animosity. Simmering resentments soared in 2015 when Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed a million poorly vetted refugees into the country. Postwar taboos against racist speech loosened, possibly liberated by trash talk from the new U.S. President. Permission to spout hatred almost always radiates from the top.

On the anniversary last week, Ms. Merkel delivered a powerful address in a reconstructed synagogue in Berlin. She decried the “worrying” rise of anti-Semitism in her country. She called for the safeguarding of protective institutions and the liberal values that underpin them. And she asked the seminal question we once thought we had answers to, but has since become ambiguous: “What did we really learn from the Shoah, this rupture of civilization?”

“Democracy is complicated,” she said. “It relies on balance between majority and minority, on the division of powers.” Then she addressed an evident truth: Those who felt left behind were looking for simple, not complicated, answers – and they were finding them among racist nationalists.

Given its 20th-century history, the revival of right-wing German nationalism is a fearful prospect – not least to Germans themselves. Yet as important as it is to march in the streets, simple confrontation is not an effective strategy. New research suggests that cultural memory has a shelf life of 70 to 80 years – exactly the time that has elapsed since the Holocaust. Better solutions to the economic problems and social resentments of those who feel outstripped must be reimagined.

Angela Merkel is Europe’s wisest leader, but she has been fatally weakened by the political rise of the extreme right in both parts of her country. In her forthcoming absence, others must defend the democratic values she embodies and with which she has served her country.

Her question, “What have we learned from the Shoah?” hangs in the air.

Source: What has Germany really learned – and remembered – from Kristallnacht?

The anti-semitism intersectionality gap

While I dislike the term “intersectionality,” I haven’t found an alternative term that describes how the interactions between race, class, gender and religion and their complexities.

But conflating Jews with Whites misses the commonalities of discrimination and prejudice, even if they play out differently with respect to Jews compared to other groups:

My mom is stoic and rarely ever cries. Last week she FaceTimed me from California, dewy-eyed, while I was in the subway in New York. She mentioned the news—11 Jews shot in a synagogue in Pennsylvania. I had already read about it in the morning, but talking about it with my mom forced me to feel it.

She told me, “It’s okay to feel sad.”

I forget sometimes that I’m allowed to feel sad for Jews. The discourse in the School of Social Work around anti-Semitism has dwindled in large part due to the hyperbolic conflation of Jewishness with whiteness. I am therefore quick to forget that Columbia often fails to treat anti-Semitism with the legitimacy it deserves. My mom’s simple acknowledgement allowing me to feel Jewish pain reminded me that it was ok to feel so deeply.

My experience in the Columbia School of Social Work has often made me feel hollow. It can seem like I have no role as a Jew in both the course curriculum and in class discussions. “How Jews Became White Folks” is my school’s single mandatory reading regarding Jewish people in contemporary society. And, even though this piece takes a dive into important assimilation markers of the American Jew, this is only a 20-page reading shoved in among the several books and 40 articles that make up our curriculum. In discussions, fellow classmates have confessed that they have become frustrated when Jewish people speak up about their experiences. On one occasion, I tried to explain to a close peer how my Jewishness guides my social justice work and she told me that I needed to stop talking, since my white privilege dominated any authentic form of solidarity I could claim as a Jewish person. During my time at Columbia, I often wonder if I truly belong at the School of Social Work.

Why do my peers dismiss my Jewish identity due to my white skin? Why do I feel so disingenuous for being Jewish in social justice work?

This message from my peers, that Jews are white, isolates the Jewish people from the broader cultural context. It creates an assumption that renders the dialogue around anti-Semitism obsolete and minimizes the Jewish experience. Not only is this generalization detrimental to understanding the nuances and diversity of Jewish identity, but it also inhibits an honest conversation about the ways being Jewish has been contextualized in discourses of race, ethnicity, and culture. Frankly, perceiving Jewishness as a mere form of whiteness or as just a religion is ignorant. Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel knew this, and cautioned us against these toxic and reductive comparisons when he said, “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.”

Intersectionality—the interrelation between race, class, and gender—is a central theme in our curriculum that promotes a solidarity-driven approach to social justice. Unfortunately, it seems that this ideology is not being taught to address issues pertaining to anti-Semitism. Social workers are often so concerned about abiding by these pre-established intersectionality guidelines that they unintentionally perpetuate the very kinds of discrimination that they supposedly oppose. Thus, Jewish students whisper to each other in the secrecy of dimly lit dive bars about our shared experiences of anti-Semitism, but we don’t risk speaking out in class. An intersectionality gap exists between engaging in discussions of anti-Semitism and those pertaining to other forms of racism. Rather than avoiding discussions of anti-Semitism, we must break the silence by discussing solidarity.

Before this shooting happened, people didn’t seem to care about the plight of the Jew. But I have found myself obsessed with the topic and unable to stop writing about it in different forms. I’m calling upon Columbia School of Social Work and schools of social justice everywhere to break this silence and take meaningful action to change their current practices of omitting Jewish identity and experience from their classrooms and conversations.

Source: The anti-semitism intersectionality gap

The anti-Semitic history that brought Canada’s MS St. Louis decision to light

Good read on how the history became known:

The telegram reached Prime Minister Mackenzie King as he was escorting the Royal Family in Washington in early June, 1939. Now was the time to show “true Christian charity,” said a group of writers, historians and business people, and let the 907 German Jews of the St. Louis come ashore.

But Mr. King said it was not Canada’s problem and left the matter to officials such as Frederick Blair, the architect of Canada’s restrictive immigration policies, known for his inflexibility. “The line must be drawn somewhere,” Mr. Blair wrote in an internal document.

Almost 80 years later, another Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, will apologize to Canadian Jews after Question Period on Wednesday for turning away the desperate refugees of the St. Louis, hundreds of whom would die in Nazi death camps. The purpose, he said last May, is to draw attention to this country’s failings, “as we vow never to let history repeat itself.”

The broader story – of Canada’s closed-door policy toward the Jews of Europe before, during and even after the war – is by now well-known. But that history, of which the St. Louis forms but one episode, might have slipped down a memory hole if not for a student’s discovery in public archives of that telegram entreating Mr. King to act, as well as memos revealing the chilly rejections that passed between government officials, which she copied and sent to her professor, Harold Troper, at the University of Toronto.

Intrigued, Prof. Troper sought additional expertise. A friend introduced him to Irving Abella, a labour historian. The two went to Ottawa thinking they might write an academic article on Canada’s prewar refugee policy. “We weren’t sure there was any story at all,” said Prof. Troper, still teaching full-time at the age of 76 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, in an interview. “Once we started digging, we found ourselves with a Niagara Falls of paper.”

They spent four years in archives and conducting interviews from Canada and the United States to Switzerland, Britain and France. The title of their 1982 book, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948, would be drawn from a remark by an anonymous government official, at a press briefing after the war, about how many Jews were now to be admitted into the country. “It was a sense of uncovering a scab,” Prof. Abella, 77, a professor emeritus of history at York University, said of the research. “We discovered how deep the commitment was to keep Jews out of Canada.”

The scholarly partnership came naturally to the two academics. Prof. Troper’s father was a garment worker, and Prof. Abella’s father ran a restaurant serving dairy meals to garment workers. Both had lost relatives in the Holocaust. (A “cascade of death,” Prof. Troper called it, in his family and that of his neighbours.) Prof. Abella had married a child of survivors, born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1946. (Rosalie Abella is now a Supreme Court justice, the first refugee to hold that post.)

“I was a Jewish kid raised in Toronto with a PhD in history,” Prof. Troper said. “It had never occurred to me … what Canada’s role in the unfolding events might be.”

In all, Canada took in fewer than 5,000 Jewish refugees between 1933 and 1945, a period in which the United States (which also turned the St. Louis away) accepted 200,000 and Britain 70,000 (plus another 125,000 into British-administered Palestine). As for the refugees on the St. Louis, they were taken in by Britain, the Netherlands, France and Belgium – but were ultimately safe only in Britain. Two hundred and fifty-four died in death camps.

Prof. Troper recalls finding appeals from European Jews to a Jewish immigrant aid agency, who understood Canada was closed to them but enclosed photographs of their children.

“I was so caught up seeing parents trying to give away their children so they would have a chance at life.” He went home early from his research that day, overwhelmed.

“You read many of the documents, there are anti-Semitic comments – as if they’re talking about the weather,” Prof. Abella said. “It was just normal conversation. And this was a time when anti-Semitism was current in Canada. There were no Jewish university professors in all of Canada in the 1930s. There were no Jewish doctors in hospitals. No judges who were Jewish.”

Prof. Troper says he will never forget an interview with Malcolm John MacDonald, who had been British High Commissioner in Ottawa. “He told us the year he spent in Ottawa he had never seen such anti-Semitism in all his life.”

“Nobody cared,” Prof. Abella said. “Jews were a marginal issue. There was never a full cabinet discussion about Jews. It was always talked about at the tail end of meetings, sotto voce.”

Quebec was an important influence on the government’s policy, he said. “Quebec was opposed to all immigration because it felt that its influence in Confederation would be undermined. And since Jews at that time were the most visible of the minorities allowed into Canada, [Quebec] led the campaign against Jewish immigration and threatened Mackenzie King with separation, with a crisis in Confederation.”

But it was Mr. King – in power for most of the 1920s and from 1935-48 – and his cabinet who were ultimately responsible for closing Canada’s doors, the authors wrote. The PM’s diary records his sympathy for the racial ideas emanating from Nazi Germany: He feared “too great an intermixture of foreign strains of blood.”

A pro-refugee petition from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Dec. 7, 1943.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS

The work of the two professors had an immediate impact. At a time when Vietnamese refugees were fleeing their country in boats, Canada’s top-ranking immigration official, Jack Manion, read their academic article, published long before the book, and gave it to the immigration minister, Ron Atkey.

”This should not be you,” he told Mr. Atkey, who then spoke passionately about it to cabinet. “He drew the parallels to our attention, was moved by it himself, and we all were,” Joe Clark, who was then prime minister of a Progressive Conservative government, said in a 2015 interview with The Globe and Mail. Mr. Clark then increased Canada’s resettlement of the Vietnamese refugees to 50,000 from 12,000. And on that resettlement program, widely viewed as a success, the current government modelled its intake of 50,000-plus Syrian refugees over the past three years.

Mr. Trudeau’s apology comes 10 days after a gunman, apparently angry about Jewish efforts to help refugees from Central America, shot 11 Jews dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

“For the guy who did the shooting in Pittsburgh,” Prof. Troper said, “when it comes to Jews and refugees, none continues to be too many.”

Source: The anti-Semitic history that brought Canada’s MS St. Louis decision to light

Roald Dahl Denied Commemorative British Coin Over Anti-Semitism

Notwithstanding how much we enjoyed as a family his stories, his personal history is pretty odious:

Roald Dahl, who passed away in 1990, would have turned 100 in 2016. But the Royal Mint, which has a tradition of issuing commemorative coins for notable British figures’ significant anniversaries — recent among them Jane Austen and Mary Shelley — never introduced the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Matilda” into celebratory circulation.

As The Guardian reports, the reason behind that curious choice has now been revealed: Dahl’s anti-Semitism.

Per files disclosed to The Guardian after a request through freedom of information laws, the decision not to honor Dahl was made during a 2014 meeting about potential coins for 2016. The minutes of that meeting note that Dahl’s centenary was brought up, but he was “Associated with anti-Semitism and not regarded as an author of the highest reputation.”

Dahl admirers might quibble with the latter statement, but the author’s anti-Semitism wasn’t just something others observed — it was something he openly proclaimed.

“I’m certainly anti-Israeli and I’ve become anti-Semitic in as much as that you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism,” Dahl told the Independent in 1990.

“It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it,” he later added. “There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media — jolly clever thing to do — that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

As the Forward noted on what would have been Dahl’s 100th birthday — September 13, 2016 — Dahl’s anti-Semitic statements also included a note, in a 1983 book review for the Literary Review, that the U.S. government was “utterly dominated by the great Jewish financial institutions over there.” That same year, he told the New Statesman that “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”

Notably, the Royal Mint’s decision predates the United Kingdom’s recent conflicts over anti-Semitism, which arose following the September, 2015 election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. Rather than Dahl, the Mint selected Shakespeare and Beatrix Potter for commemoration in 2016, markedly less controversial choices. Well, maybe. After all, 2016 marked 420 years since the premiere of Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” and only slightly fewer years of ongoing conflict over whether that play is anti-Semitic. Whether the Mint discussed that matter is as of yet undisclosed.

Source: Roald Dahl Denied Commemorative British Coin Over Anti-Semitism

Trump visit to Pittsburgh after deadly synagogue shooting met with anger, protests

Appropriate reaction – can’t stoke the fires of hate and then deny moral responsibility:

President Donald Trump visited a grief-stricken Pittsburgh on Tuesday in a trip meant to unify after tragedy, but his arrival provoked protests from residents and consternation from local officials in the aftermath of the synagogue shooting that left 11 people dead.

The hastily planned day trip – which the city’s mayor urged Trump not to make – was executed with no advance public itinerary and without congressional and local politicians. Some had declined to accompany the president, and others were not invited.

Trump did not speak publicly during his brief trip, instead quietly paying tribute at Tree of Life synagogue by laying flowers for the 11 victims and visiting a hospital to see officers who were wounded in Saturday’s shooting. But Trump’s trip to the area so soon after the attack tore open political tensions in the largely Democratic city, as residents angered by Trump’s arrival protested even as the first couple tried to keep a low profile during the solemn, afternoon visit.

“The sense in the community is that they didn’t think this was a time for a political photo shoot,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, D, whose congressional district covers the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the synagogue is located. “There are strong feelings in the community about him and the divisive nature of his rhetoric.”

Trump has faced charges in recent days that his harsh political tone and effort to stoke public fears about immigrants has fomented a rising right-wing extremism embraced by the man charged in the synagogue shooting and by the suspect arrested last week after a series of bombs were mailed to prominent critics of the president. Trump has pushed back, saying the media is responsible for the growing tensions across the country.

As the president touched down in southwestern Pennsylvania on Tuesday, almost 2,000 demonstrators assembled not far from where some of the shooting’s victims had been buried that day. The relatives of at least one victim declined to meet with Trump, pointing to his “inappropriate” remarks immediately after the shooting, when the president suggested the shooting could have been avoided if the synagogue had had an armed guard.

City officials said they were concerned about protests, which occurred on the same day as funerals for some of the victims, and were not involved in planning the visit – learning about it only when White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced it Monday.

The White House also declined to invite two Democratic officials who represent the area – Doyle and Sen. Robert Casey Jr.

“We received no call or any kind of correspondence,” Doyle said.

A spokesman for the city’s Democratic mayor, Bill Peduto, said he was invited to appear with the president but declined. Peduto had urged Trump not to visit Pittsburgh until after the funerals for the victims, saying, “all attention should be on the victims.”

The family of one of those victims – Daniel Stein, 71 – declined a visit with Trump in part because of Trump’s comments about having armed guards.

“Everybody feels that they were inappropriate,” said Stephen Halle, Stein’s nephew. “He was blaming the community.”

The White House said Trump spent about an hour Tuesday with the widow of Richard Gottfried, one of the 11 victims.

“She said that she wanted to meet the president to let him know that people wanted him there,” Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. Gottfried, 65, and his wife, Peg Durachko, had just celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary and were planning to retire soon.

Some residents said they welcomed the president even if it did anger some of their neighbors.

…..

The White House had asked the top four congressional leaders – House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., – to accompany Trump to Pittsburgh, but all declined, according to three officials familiar with the invitations.

Trump’s remarks and incendiary rhetoric in office contributed to the pushback his visit received before Air Force One touched down. Tens of thousands of people signed an open letter from a progressive Jewish group based in Pittsburgh saying he would not be welcome “until you fully denounce white nationalism” and “cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”

About an hour before Trump arrived, more than 100 protesters jammed onto a street corner in Squirrel Hill, the predominantly Jewish neighborhood where the synagogue is located and many victims lived.

“This didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Ardon Shorr said. “There is a growing trend of white nationalism. And that has been enabled by Trump, who traffics in the kind of conspiracy theories that we know were foremost in the mind of the shooter last Saturday.”

“He refused to cancel his rally when it would have been the decent thing to cancel the rally,” said Jonathan Sarney, 72, referring to Trump’s campaign stop in Murphysboro, Illinois, held the same day the shooting occurred. “And now he’s coming to intrude on the funerals when it’s an indecent thing to do.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Kay remains largely in denial about the impact of Trump’s words and rhetoric in providing social license for others to express hate and the moral responsibility, if not direct responsibility, for such hate crimes: Barbara Kay: Trump’s rhetoric didn’t cause this massacre

How Bigots Easily Exploit the Bible for Anti-Semitism

All religious texts, if taken out of historical and social context, have parts that can be used to justify violence:

In the wake of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, many people are struggling to understand the roots of Robert Bowers’s hatred.

Bowers, who allegedly shouted “All Jews must die” as he opened fire, has an established record of anti-Semitic rants on social media. There is some debate about whether Bowers’ alleged violence was inspired by statements by the current president or actually provoked by a sense that President Trump had “betrayed” right-wing radicals. Bowers himself, however, squarely grounds his perspective in a different source: the Bible.

On his Gab page, Bowers has written, “jews are the children of satan. (john 8:44)… the lord Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” On this single point Bowers is not wrong: The Gospel of John does in fact identify “the Jews” (hoi Ioudaioi, in Greek) as being “of [their] father the Devil.” Throughout the Gospel of John, in fact, “the Jews” are repeatedly identified as the opponents of Jesus. Not some group of Jews, not some fringe group, but “the Jews.” While some New Testament scholars might protest that “Ioudaioi” should actually be translated as “people from Judea” and, thus, not taken as a reference to an entire religio-ethnic group at all, that’s simply not how it is translated in English New Testaments.

While the association of Jews with Satan is most explicit in the Gospel of John, in all four of the canonical gospels a (presumably) Jewish crowd calls for the death of Jesus, and Jewish authorities spearhead efforts to arrest and convict him. In Matthew, the Roman governor Pilate asks the people whom they want to see released: Jesus or a common criminal. When they call for the criminal, Pilate washes his hands of responsibility for the death of Jesus. The crowd responds in unison, “His blood be on our hands and on the hands of our children” (Matthew 25:27). The Jews, the writings of the New Testament tell us, shoulder responsibility for the death of Jesus. This is despite the fact that, in first-century Roman Judea, only the Romans had the power to condemn a man to death.

The legacy of these stories is devastatingly clear. They laid the groundwork for and nurtured nearly two thousand years of anti-Semitism. There is no doubt that stories about the death of Jesus can provoke violence. In the medieval period, when the death of Jesus was publicly performed in passion plays at Easter time, riled-up audience members would spill out onto the streets and attack Jewish members of their communities. To be sure, as Paul B. Sturtevant has written in a brilliant piece forThe Public Medievalist, the situation was complicated. Some Christians, for example, were paid by Jews to protect them. But the legacy of this period is felt even today in unsympathetic portraits of Jesus’s Jewish contemporaries in TV adaptations of the Easter story.

Historically speaking, the demonization of Jews was a rhetorical strategy for the first followers of Jesus. Annette Yoshiko Reed, a professor in the department of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, told The Daily Beast that this was “just one of a broad continuum of different strategies by which followers of Jesus made sense of their relation to Judaism.” John 8:44 was part of “an inner-Christian debate in which there were also others who were stressing instead the Jewishness of both Jesus and authentic forms of Christianity.

All of that is lost when the Gospels are read in a world in the modern world. “The shooter’s quotation of this passage,” said Reed, “is an example of what happens when that one strategy is taken out of its original context and re-read in terms of distinctly modern notions of identity as predicated on biologically essentialized ideas of ‘race.’”

Mark Leuchter, a professor of religion and Judaism at Temple University agrees. “Once the New Testament became holy specifically to Christians, the original context for [the] debate was lost.” Statements from the New Testament “became [for some] the justification for anti-Jewish violence and hatred… and are still used to facilitate anti-Jewish bigotry in ways that many Christians don’t even realize.” As evidence of this subtle bias Leuchter cited the use of the term “Pharisee” by “well-meaning Christians” as an insult against people obsessed with law, when the historical Pharisees were actually more like ancient liberal activists. Examples like this contribute to what Leuchter calls a “cartoon version of Judaism that is presented as devoid of morality, holiness or humane values.”

Of course, while many American Christians may hold outdated views about Judaism, it is only a tiny fraction of them that resort to outright violence. Meghan Henning, a professor of Christian origins at the University of Dayton, told me that “a segment of Christians in the United States, who have been shaped by the ideals of white nationalism, still use anti-Semitism as a lens for reading their Bibles.”

It is, as Reed says, the transplanting of texts from a period when “whiteness had no meaning” to the modern context of contemporary American white supremacy that gives this passage its horrifying power.

Source: How Bigots Easily Exploit the Bible for Anti-Semitism

The Tone-Deaf Israeli Reactions to the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Interesting account of the gap between Israeli and American Jews:

For Jews around the world, now is a time to mourn and come together, as the dead from the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue are buried. And yet it also reveals how far apart we are.

To be sure, most responses to the massacre were sincere and uncontroversial. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as all of Israel’s leading politicians, issued heartfelt and apolitical responses to the massacre.

But not all.

In an interview with an Israeli religious newspaper, Rabbi David Lau, Israel’s Ashkenazic chief rabbi (a governmental position), declined to call Tree of Life Synagogue a synagogue, describing it instead as “a place with a profound Jewish flavor.” Other ultra-Orthodox newspapers have followed suit, referring to it as a “Jewish center.”

To American Jews who care about Israel, that’s a painful reminder that Reform, Conservative, and other non-Orthodox Jewish denominations are not recognized by the Jewish state. The state does not recognize conversions performed by non-Orthodox rabbis. And plans for a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Western Wall have been floated and canceled for a generation now—most recently by Netanyahu, who flatly broke his promise to American Jewish leaders to create one last year.

Nor is the tone-deafness exclusively on the right. Israel’s opposition leader, Avi Gabbay, said the attack should inspire “the Jews of the United States to immigrate more and more to Israel, because this is their home.”

Meanwhile, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett headed to Pittsburgh to offer condolences, saying, in part, “our hearts go out to the families of those killed, and we pray for the swift recovery of the injured, as we pray this is the last such event. Jewish blood is not free.”

First, sending the ultranationalist Bennett to “comfort” mostly liberal American Jews rubs salt in the wound. Bennett, perhaps more than any other Israeli politician, has legitimized open racism against Arabs, sworn his opposition to a two-state solution with Palestinians, and moved the “Overton window” of Israeli nationalism far to the right. Thanks to his party, Jewish Home, comments that would have been too racist for polite conversation a decade ago are now routinely made on the floor of the Knesset.

Second, Bennett’s line about “Jewish blood” is both creepily blood-nationalist and a common justification for harsh military responses against terrorists, their families, their neighbors, and even their whole villages.

What revenge is Bennett planning to take against Robert Bowers, anyway? Bennett’s rhetoric is tone-deaf, alienating to most American Jews, and part of the very hypernationalist crisis that brought this tragedy into being in the first place.

These and other comments point to a vast and growing gap between Israel and the majority of American Jews.

Take the nationalist populism of President Trump. Among American Jews, Trump’s approval rating hovers around 21 percent. Mostly liberal American Jews are appalled by his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-media, and anti-science rhetoric. In Israel, however, 69 percent of Israelis express confidence in Trump’s leadership. If you assume that hardly any Israeli Arabs (21 percent of the population) share that confidence, that’s a roughly 85 percent approval rating among Israeli Jews.

There are many reasons for that widespread support. Trump has shifted the United States from being an “honest broker” for Middle East peace to being an unapologetic partisan for Israel, symbolized by the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (the status of which is still disputed under international law). Trump’s broadsides against Muslims and his anti-Obama birtherism resonate with the prejudices of many Israeli Jews, many of whom believe they are surrounded by hostile, uncivilized enemies.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” in the words of pro-Israel extremist Pamela Geller.

Most important, though, right-wing Israelis, together with the majority of Orthodox, right-wing Jews in America, have a fundamentally different understanding of Judaism than the majority of American Jews, whose experiences are colored by American liberalism and the immigrant experience.

For the former, Judaism is Am Yisrael, the Nation of Israel, a source of patriotism and allegiance. For the latter, Judaism may be a culture, or a religion, or a nation, but it is defined not by blood and loyalty, but by ideals of justice, fairness, and compassion. When those ideals are transgressed, liberal Jews see Judaism betrayed. Whereas, for many on the right, you’re either for us or against us, and if you’re against us, you’re anti-Semitic and that’s that.

“Pittsburgh is why most American Jews oppose Trump. Israeli leaders seem not to understand that.”

For the former, the lesson of the Holocaust is that Jews must always be strong and defend themselves. For the latter, the lesson of the Holocaust is that baseless hatred is wrong and leads to tragedy.

For the former, Jews everywhere exist in solidarity with each other. But progressive American Jews may find more in common with other oppressed minorities than with right-wing Jews, who oppress minorities themselves.

For the former, Muslims and Arabs, often confused with each other, are the implacable enemy of the Jewish people. For the latter, violent rejectionists—be they Muslim, Jewish, or Trump-loving-Christian—are the enemy.

For the former, supporting Israel means supporting the Israeli right’s vision of a strong ethno-state triumphant over its enemies. For the latter, supporting Israel means helping calmer, more rational voices prevail so that peace and justice can be achieved for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Each side has biblical proof-texts, Jewish history, and plenty of emotional appeals they can make. We all have our friends or relatives who have died at the hands of terrorists, anti-Semites, or enemy soldiers. No one ever wins this argument. (We are Jews, after all.)

But the results are profoundly different conceptions of what it means to be a Jew.

When most American Jews hear Trump bash “media elites,” Muslims, Mexicans, Democrats, or victims of sexual assault, we see our deepest values transgressed, and we see ourselves in the crosshairs next, because we, too, are an often despised minority.

But when right-wing Israelis and American Jews hear Trump bash Israel’s enemies, they are encouraged and emboldened. They say anti-Semitism, which Trump has condemned, is totally separable from the white-nationalism, Islamophobia, transphobia, racism, and populism that he has tolerated or encouraged. They say Trump is on our side.

And yet it’s not just he said/she said. There are still facts. And the facts are that the alt-right’s most ardent members, people like Cesar Sayoc Jr. and Robert Bowers, do not separate anti-Semitism from their hatred of immigrants, Muslims, people of color, gays, liberals, and journalists. They say so quite clearly, in words and deeds.

In short, Pittsburgh is why most American Jews oppose Trump. Israeli leaders seem not to understand that.

Source: The Tone-Deaf Israeli Reactions to the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Trump, the Jews and anti-Semitism: A Dangerous Double Game

Good summary:

U.S. President Donald Trump has long been dogged by accusations that he stokes anti-Semitism both by the language and references he uses and by hiring and embracing figures who actively promote a hyper-nationalist, racist and discriminatory agenda for the United States. This accusation took on a whole new relevance in the wake of the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, in which a white nationalist killed 11 congregants during a baby naming ceremony.

Trump closed his winning 2016 presidential campaign with an ad that many observers slammed as blatantly anti-Semitic. In his first month in office Trump again sparked scandal when the White House left out any mention of Jews while marking Holocuast Remembrance Day. After topping off a campaign littered with dozens of such incidents, the accusations surrounding Trump and anti-Semitism reached a boiling point at his first solo press conference in February 2017, where, responding to a question about recent threats to Jewish centers across the country and rising anti-Semitism, Trump declared, “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

The day before that press conference, Trump hosted a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where he was also pressed to address rising anti-Semitism in America. Trump answered, “As far as people – Jewish people – so many friends, a daughter, a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening, and you’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love. OK? Thank you.”

After Trump responded, Netanyahu came to his aide saying,“I think we can put that to rest,” despite the fact that Trump never used the word “anti-Semitism.” Trump’s daughter Ivanka is a convert to Judaism and married into an Orthodox Jewish family.

In the campaign ad that Trump released back on November 5th, 2016, four villains are blamed for the problems the everyday American is facing – which Trump promised to fix as apart of his “make America great again” pitch for the presidency. Those villains were Hillary Clinton, George Soros (financier and philanthropist), Janet Yellen (then Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs CEO). Three out of the four are Jewish.

As Soros and Yellen come onto the screen in the ad, the narrator says, “The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests. They partner with these people who don’t have your good in mind.”

In August 2017, Trump stunned the nation when he declared that “both sides” were culpable for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which claimed the life of a counterprotester. A torchlit march that preceded the day of violence featured white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

Trump later clarified his original remarks and openly condemned the white nationalists. However, veteran journalist Bob Woodward wrote in his recent book “Fear,” that Trump felt, “That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made. You never make those concessions. You never apologize. I didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. Why look weak?”

The book put Bob Woodward in the Trump family’s crosshairs and resulted in an additional anti-Semitism scandal for the Trump clan when Eric Trump, the president’s youngest son, said of some of the claims in the book, that “It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels.” Using the word “shekel” is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope going back to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in the New Testament.

Jewish journalist Julia Ioffe’s April 27 profile of Melania Trump in GQ irked the first lady enough that she tweeted criticism of it calling it, “another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting” and that Ioffe had “provoked” the deluge of anti-Semitic hate online that followed the publication of the profile, including from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which urged its followers to “go ahead and send her [Ioffe] a tweet and let her know what you think of her dirty kike trickery.”

Jews funding immigration

Last week both Soros and Clinton were sent bombs in the mail by a Trump supporter who targeted almost a dozen Democrats and CNN – the news network Trump often singles out as “fake news” and as an “enemy of the people.”

Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, who invited a Holocaust denier to this year’s State of the Union address, posted a video on Twitter this month which shows people in Guatemala being handed money. Gaetz, without citing evidence, suggested in the Tweet that Soros was funding a migrant caravan headed towards the U.S. He wrote on Twitter, “BREAKING: Footage in Honduras giving cash 2 women & children 2 join the caravan & storm the US border @ election time. Soros? US-backed NGOs? Time to investigate the source!”

Trump tweeted the exact same video a day later, writing, “Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?”

The gunman in Pittsburgh, Robert Bowers, who yelled “All Jews must die” before opening fire, made anti-Semitic comments online and expressed anger at a Jewish group which helped refugees.

Bowers wrote on an alt-right social media platform, that “HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.”

HIAS is an American nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees.  Another post from Bowers that apparently referred to HIAS read, “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy evil jews Bringing the Filthy evil Muslims into the Country!!” Bower’s massacre of worshippers is the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in American history and his motive as of now appears to be a white supremacist driven hate of Jews and his belief that the Jewish community aids refugees and immigrants entering the U.S.

Bower’s summed this up in post he made weeks before the shooting, “There is no #maga as long as there is a kike infestation.”

Ungrateful

In December 2015, Trump again waded into anti-Semitic waters when he said in a speech addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” adding, “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”

However, despite his claim at the RJC that he is above transactional politics, Trump in September of this year seemed to complain that the U.S. Jewish community was not more grateful after Trump moved the U.S. Embassy, in a ceremony which included Pastor Robert Jeffress who believes “Jews are going to hell,”  from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

A report from the Jewish People Policy Institute, a Jerusalem-based think tank, in September quoted a White House official who claimed the move should have generated praise from within the Jewish community, but that Trump is treated unfairly.

“We can take justified criticism, but if Obama had transferred the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the American Jewish community would have been united in applauding him!” the official said.

Earlier this month, Mark Mellman, who once ran Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid campaign in 2015, published a poll with the Jewish Electorate Institute that found roughly seventy-five percent of Jewish Americans plan to vote for the Democrats in the midterm elections, with only a quarter voting Republican.

Additionally, Fifty-six percent polled said they disapprove of the embassy move, while only 44 percent said they approved.

Growing anti-Semitism

A new report released Friday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found far-right extremists have increased an intimidating wave of anti-Semitic harassment against Jewish journalists, political candidates and others public figures of next month’s U.S. midterm elections.

ADL researchers analyzed more than 7.5 million Twitter messages from Aug. 31 to Sept. 17 and found nearly 30 percent of the accounts repeatedly tweeting derogatory terms about Jews appeared to be automated “bots.”

The study also found a “surprising” abundance of tweets referencing “QAnon,” a right-wing conspiracy theory that started on an online message board and has been spread by Trump supporters.

“There are strong anti-Semitic undertones, as followers decry George Soros and the Rothschild family as puppeteers,” researchers wrote.

Trump, who has been pushing his “America first,” anti-globalist message since announcing his campaign in 2015, took the unprecedented step last Monday of outright declaring, “I am a nationalist.”

“A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can’t have that,” Trump said at a rally in Houston.

“You know, they have a word – it’s sort of became old-fashioned – it’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word.”

Trump’s rhetoric helped him win in 2016 by whipping up his base and energizing voters. His rallies have become a central feature of his presidency and while he may say he is “the least anti-Semitic” and “least racist person” ever – his rhetoric has reshaped the Republican Party and deeply divided Americans.

From Virginia to California, the Republican Party has an unprecedented amount of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis on the ballot this year. The GOP has actively worked to both distance and remove some of these candidates off the ballot in some cases, while unhappily accepting them in others.

In Virginia, Republican Corey Stewart is running for the U.S. Senate as a self-described neo-Confederate, championing a “take back our heritage” platform. In Illinois, Arthur Jones, a candidate for the state’s 3rd Congressional district boasts of his membership in the American Nazi Party. Anti-Semitic GOP candidate, John Fitzgerald, made it through his open primary and will appear on the ballot in California’s 11th Congressional District. Fitzgerald’s campaign has urged to “end the Jewish takeover of America.”

Source: Trump, the Jews and anti-Semitism: A Dangerous Double Game