Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion Politics

The new old anti-Semitism

Let’s stipulate that we don’t at this point know who’s been calling in bomb threats to Jewish community centers and other institutions (like, on Monday, the Hebrew High School of New England, two miles from where I live).

The FBI is on the case, but evidently lacks the ability to penetrate the robo-call technology that enables callers to mask their phone numbers and voices. For all the g-men know, just one 17-year-old sitting in his basement in his underwear is responsible for every one of the hundreds of calls that have come in five successive waves during the past two months.

Or maybe not.

But here’s the thing. In the alt-right world, bona fide anti-Semites are claiming that this is all just a Jewish false flag operation, designed to pin responsibility on them. And on Tuesday, the alt-White House decided to head in that direction.

Senior Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci tweeted out the possibility that Democrats are to blame. And the President himself, meeting with state attorneys general, repeatedly asserted that “sometimes it’s the reverse” — suggesting that the threats are all about making his supporters look bad.

Why would it make his supporters look bad? Because in the past bombers of JCCs have been just the kind of white supremacists who are today embracing Donald Trump.

The fact that the President has gotten around to condemning the threats — including in his address to Congress Wednesday — is beside the point. By giving credence to the false flag theory, he’s letting the anti-Semites off the hook, and letting them know he’s got their back.

That’s ugly stuff. From the self-proclaimed “least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life” it’s, well, anti-Semitic.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service


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  • Breitbart and the Daily Caller report every (of the rare) false flag incident to convince their followers that the rest of the attacks are similar. This nonsense is being accepted and repeated by Trump’s hard-core followers.

  • Mr. Silk, your progressive politics are showing – and it’s not a pretty sight.

    You say, “Why would it make his supporters look bad? Because in the past bombers of JCCs have been just the kind of white supremacists who are today embracing Donald Trump.”

    But the article you cite to support that assertion makes no mention of “white supremacists,” nor does it make any connection at all to Donald Trump. The only attempt the article makes at nailing down the source of the threats is “someone using robo-call technology” – hardly identifying (or even hinting at) a connection to the President.

    Here’s a better answer:

    Why would it make his supporters look bad? Because it’s already been demonstrated that his detractors will use anything they can come up with – or invent – to make him (and his supporters) look bad.

    That answer is based on an already established and substantiated pattern of progressive behavior. Your “answer” is based on an entirely fact-free speculation.

    Par for the progressive course.

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