Commentary

Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism. Her father is an anti-Semite.

April 14, 2016: Jewish women hold signs and chant during an anti-Trump rally. Hundreds of demonstrators protested presidential candidate Donald Trump near Penn Station.
April 14, 2016: Jewish women hold signs and chant during an anti-Trump rally. Hundreds of demonstrators protested presidential candidate Donald Trump near Penn Station.Photo: Shutterstock

Donald Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat – I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

He didn’t say originally to whom this would be “disloyal,” though later in front of a gaggle of reporters on the White House lawn he clarified, “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel and only weak people would say anything other than that.”

So any Jewish person who votes for a Democrat is both ignorant and disloyal to Israel, possibly to the United States as an ally of Israel, and by implication, to Trump himself as an alleged defender of Israel.

The context of Trump’s charge developed as controversy swirls around first-term Representative Ilhan Omar, (D-Minn). In 2012 she tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

This year she wrote that U.S. support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby,” signifying Benjamin Franklin who appears on the $100-dollar bill. A few weeks later, she told an audience in D.C. that “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Confronted about this latter remark by her Democratic colleague, Nita Lowey, Omar replied, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committees.”

Reps. Omar and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) were to visit Israel until Trump intervened.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” he tweeted. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

Just hours after Trump vomited this on Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially banned U.S. Reps. Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel as they had planned.

Trump seems not to understand the irony in his attack on Omar since we must chastise both Omar and Trump for invoking the centuries-old antisemitic trope of Jews allegedly having duel loyalties.

It goes back to Europe in the Middle Ages when the nobility and the larger citizenry accused Jews of isolating themselves and having no desire to integrate and hold allegiance to the state. Jews were blamed as national churches conducted massive campaigns, often brutal, to convert Jews to Christianity, and as monarchs forced Jews onto the poorest lands or from their countries entirely.

Trump, though, won’t settle by invoking the antisemitic trope of disloyalty or dual loyalties, but goes so much further into the domain of Jews as cheap money-grubbers and controllers of financial systems and governments. This long-established libel gave populations throughout Europe justification for wide-scale attacks and government sponsored pogroms.

John O’Donnell, in his 1991 book, Trumped!: The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump, said Trump had told him: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” O’Donnell was a top executive at Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza Casino.

This year, in a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump said that the recently reelected Netanyahu was “your prime minister.” This implied that Jews are not or cannot be U.S. citizens, but are actually only citizens of Israel.

Before the Republican Jewish Coalition in December 2015, Trump gloated that “I’m a negotiator like you folks, we are negotiators … Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates them — perhaps more than any other room I’ve ever spoken in.”

Trump also argued that the assembled Jews wouldn’t support him because he couldn’t be bought: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy?”

The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia brought together white supremacists, members of the alt-right, neo-Confederates, neo-fascists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and far-right militias chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us.” They killed a counter-protester by plowing a car into the crowd.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” said Trump about the rally. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent.” He later stated that “There were very fine people on both sides.”

Trump has focused his venom on George Soros. He erroneously accused him of funding protesters of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and also suggested that Soros might have funded the refugee caravan from Central America.

This added to the conspiracy theory that Jews are bringing immigrants into the United States to replace white people (thus the “Jews will not replace us” chant of the neo-Nazi white nationalists at the Charlottesville rally).

The shooter of the horrific murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh killing 11 parishioners and wounding 6 others, including four brave police officers, blamed Jews for bringing in an invasion of nonwhite immigrants to the United States who will diminish and slaughter the white race.

“The Washington establishment and the financial and media corporations that fund it exist for only one reason: to protect and enrich itself,” stated Donald Trump in his rally speech in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 14, 2016.

He continued, “For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests…[i]t’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 of large corporations and political entities….This is a conspiracy against you, the American people, and we cannot let this happen or continue. This is our moment of reckoning as a society and as a civilization itself.”

Trump certainly has no general grasp the history, but he definitely understood how to use the propaganda of fascism to sway public opinion.

While his wife, Melania, finally admitted to plagiarizing the words of Michelle Obama in her speech before the delegates at the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016, Donald will never admit to lifting sentiments and words verbatim from the notorious Protocols of a Meeting of the Learned Elders of Zion.

The Protocols was a fabricated antisemitic text dating from 1903 that was widely distributed by Russian Czarist forces to turn public opinion against a so-called “Jewish Revolution” for the purpose of convincing the populace that Jews were plotting to impose a conspiratorial international Jewish government.

It is the alleged minutes of a late 19th-century meeting where Jewish leaders planned to subvert the minds, morals, and cultures of non-Jews by controlling politicians, the press, and world economies for world domination. The Protocols was translated into many languages and circulated throughout the world.

During his Florida speech, Donald Trump succeeded in having his antisemitic leitmotiv dog whistle heard, since, among many of his ardent supporters, the racist white supremacist so-called “alt right” received it loud and clear.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader and current racist radio host, David Duke, added his praise of Trump’s “incredible speech” on his radio show on October 14, 2016.

“Donald Trump had an incredible speech last night in West Palm Beach, maybe the strongest, most all out speech concerning the war that is being waged against us and the war that is being waged by the oligarchs who control the international banks and the globalists….” he charged.

“These Jewish supremacists and these Jewish radicals who have been dominating international banking, the financing of politics and leaders, bribing them in effect, the people who have controlled the media, the people who have controlled the political apparatus in so many countries, who have controlled much of the academia, much of the discourse, they’re crazy….They’re willing to risk World War III for their political objectives in the Middle East, in Israel, and elsewhere.”

The white nationalist website, The Right Stuff, celebrated Trump’s Florida speech. Lawrence Murray wrote an article affirming that “somehow Trump manages to channel Goebbels and ‘Detroit Republicanism’ all at the same time.”

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister for Propaganda and Public Education, wrote and spoke continually of an alleged “Jewish conspiracy” to undermine German culture and civilization itself. Speaking at the September 1935 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, for example, Goebbels connected Bolshevism with international Jewry. He warned Nazi party members of a supposed international Jewish conspiracy to snuff out western civilization.

Toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump ran an ad portraying three rich Jews — then-Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and financier George Soros — with the narration denouncing “those who control the levers of power in Washington” and the “global special interests” who “partner with these people who don’t have your good in mind.”

Donald Trump, during his campaign, tweeted a picture of Hillary Clinton with $100 bills and a six-pointed Star of David evoking the age-old stereotype of Jews as money grubbing cheats. The meme was also on a neo-Nazi website. Trump did not apologize, but he ultimately took the tweet down from his site.

Wayne Allyn Root, a far-right conspiracy theorist, asserted that Jews in Israel regard Trump as something akin to “the King of Israel” or “the second coming of God.” Does Root not realize that Jews do not believe in Jesus as the son of G*d or in a “second coming?”

Of course, Trump delighted in Root’s words, and only half-jokingly announced to a group of reporters that “I am the Chosen One.”

Though he talks about Jews, Trump does not talk to us. He directs his comments to conservative Christian Evangelicals.

He is stirring up what Christians call “The Rapture” in which Armageddon will come in the area of Israel. Jews will be sacrificed so that “good Christians” will go forth to meet Jesus on the final judgment day. It is a cynical use of the Jewish people to conform to prophecy in the Christian testaments. Many of these people are known as “Christian Zionists.” They use Jews for their own supposed “purposes.”

It does not matter that Trump’s son-in-law is an orthodox Jew, that his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism, and that he has Jewish grandchildren. It does not matter that Trump has employed Jewish people and counts Jews among his friends.

What is clear is that when anyone uses an already marginalized group to advance their own agendas or careers by tokenizing or feigning support, that itself is an act of oppression. Donald Trump uses Jews, and by so doing, he demonstrates his hateful antisemitic bigotry by attempting to weaponize Jewish bodies.

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