Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not In A Vacuum

The recent attacks of vandalism in Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats against Jewish community centers are part of a pattern, according to Josh Marshall.

Anti-semitism is almost inevitably and almost always part of rightist political movements. It is a natural feature. This is not always explicitly so. It is not always that way at first, but eventually it is always there.

That is the case with Trumpism.

There are various theoretical reasons why this might be so. The most obvious is that rightist politics usually base themselves on cultural, racial or religious purity and unity. This makes Jews outsiders by definition. These rightist movements are also generally looking for outsiders to define themselves against and to pivot against. But these theories matter less than history. Why this is so is much less important than a lengthy historical record which demonstrates that it is so.


We are of course seeing arguments now about whether this outbreak of anti-Semitic agitation is tied to Donald Trump. I see little point in actually participating in this argument. Republicans and Trump supporters who deny the connection don’t really believe what they are saying. It is obvious that they are connected. We’ve never seen anything like this in decades. Are the KKK and anti-Semitic white nationalist groups really just confused when they say that Trump is the best thing that has happened to their groups in decades? Are we supposed to ignore that the President’s top advisor has clear ties to all of these groups and has spent years bringing them to greater prominence?

This is all obvious – obvious enough that there’s really no point debating the point. Whether Trump personally has antipathy toward Jews is irrelevant. His movement and his actions enable and encourage hostility toward Jews and the hostility inevitably spills over into violence. It is not yet as lethal. But it is no different in its basic contours to the immigrant bashing that led to the murder of the Indian immigrant Garmin employee in Kansas.

It’s not a far stretch to say that when you lead a movement that is attacking an entire community based on their faith — Muslims, for example — you’re opening the hatch to attack other communities as well; “Hey, while we’re bombing a mosque, what about those other folks who don’t worship like us?”

Trump’s recent statement against anti-Semitism was too little too late, and when the Ann Frank Center said so, his minions slammed them for being ingrates.  That right there is enough to tell you that he’s paying nothing but pre-programmed lip service, which actually proves the point.

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