To coin a phrase: how is this presidential campaign different from all other presidential campaigns?
Because, for the first time in American history, anti-Semitism has been a factor.
Never, ever before this.
I am referring to the blatant anti-Semitism that has been emerging from certain corners of the Trump campaign, especially from the alt-right movement.
I am referring to the fact that every time a reporter who happens to be Jewish criticizes Trump, anti-Semitic messages and tweets follow. According to the ADL, there have been 19,000 Twitter mentions of journalists that contain at least some anti-Semitic content.
Many of those messages have been horrific.
Read one reporter’s account:
I saw images of my daughter’s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her. I saw her face photo-shopped into images of slaves. She was called a “niglet” and a “dindu.” The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with “black bucks.” People sent her pornographic images of black men having sex with white women, with someone photoshopped to look like me, watching.
Yes, you will notice that this appeared in the National Review, the conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. — a man who had the courage to expel an anti-Semite like Joseph Sobran from the pages of the magazine.
I daresay that if Buckley were still alive, he would be condemning the anti-Semitic vitriol that has emerged during this presidential campaign.
Why isn’t Hillary doing the same thing? Why isn’t she talking about this on the campaign trail — especially in heavily-Jewish areas where those words would count?
Let’s leave Hillary alone for a moment.
What about the Jews, themselves?
Consider: in my home state of Florida, the vast majority of Jews are expected to vote against Trump.
But not the Sunshine State’s Orthodox Jews; they are two-to-one in favor of him.
Can someone explain that to me, please?
Can someone explain to me how the Jews that are the most Jewishly-learned; the Jews who presumably understand Jewish history (and its lessons) more than anyone else; the Jews who are most likely to scream about anti-Semitism; the Jews with the most sensitive early warning system to Jew-hatred — can someone explain to me why they would support Donald Trump?
Set aside, for a moment, every Jewish value that Trump has trashed — the Jewish commitment to equal rights for citizens and non-citizens; caring about the handicapped, and believing that all people are made in God’s image.
How about the anti-Semitic tweets? How about the simple fact that someone at a Trump rally recently started chanting “Jew-S-A!” — and then went on to assert that Jews control the media, a common theme among white supremacists?
Don’t Orthodox Jewish supporters (and other Jewish supporters) of Trump understand that if they attended a Trump rally, they would find themselves rubbing elbows with bonafide Jew-haters — with the real “deplorables” — with the spiritual descendants of the Cossacks whose principle form of entertainment was planning pogroms?
How could this have happened?
- They think that Trump will be better for Israel. In fact, Hillary’s positions on Israel are well within the range of “acceptable” thinking on Israel — reflecting a centrist (or, sometimes, slightly left of center) position on the conflict that is identical to that of many mainstream American and Israeli organizations.
But, as for Donald Trump: if he trashes previously-made international agreements and treaties, this will diminish American influence in the world. A diplomatically-weakened United States will not be much use to Israel.
- They don’t like some of Hillary’s alt-left supporters, like Black Lives Matter and pro-Palestinians.
I have been critical of their actions as well — especially BLM’s espousal of anti-Israel positions.
But, there are several differences between them and Trump’s alt-right supporters.
- They don’t exist to foment anti-Semitic hatred. As much as I disdain BLM’s anti-Israel positions, the Jews and the Jewish State are not forefront in their minds. The death of black Americans is.
- They don’t send anti-Semitic tweets to Jewish reporters who deign to criticize Hillary Clinton.
- They are not threatening to kill Donald Trump.
- I fully expect that if Hillary Clinton loses the election, her leftist supporters will be angry and disillusioned, and will let it go at that. If Donald Trump loses, we cannot expect the same level of sportsmanship from the alt-right.
But, back to Hillary’s silence on the anti-Semitism in the Trump campaign.
And, not only that — how is it possible that the anti-Semitism among Trump’s supporters never came up during the debates?
Is it possible that anti-Semitism has become the hatred that dare not speak its name?
Is it possible that, in some quarters of American society, accusations of anti-Semitism have become so passe that they no longer matter? Is it possible that the hatred of Muslims and immigrants has now achieved pride of place in the pantheon of American phobias?
Is it, somehow, uncool to mention anti-Semitism?
I cannot answer these questions.
But, I do know this.
If Hillary Clinton plans on raising those issues, the clock is ticking.