I was surprised to read the picture of Steve Bannon painted by Jonathan S. Tobin in his op-ed “Hating Bannon no excuse to cry ‘wolf’ about anti-Semitism” (Nov. 9). If I didn’t know better, I would have concluded that Bannon is a normal, hard-line conservative who calls himself a “Leninist.” You don’t have to dig very deep to conclude that he is far from being a normal conservative. He is known in political circles as a “bomb thrower” whose policy is to take no prisoners.
I found three statements of Tobin’s of particular interest: “… between the two of them [Bannon and President Trump], they’ve done a lot to coarsen American political life.” Both of them can take credit for the anti-black/Latino/immigrant feelings which form the core beliefs of most Trump supporters and which were largely repudiated in the recent election.
You don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface of many Trump supporters to find an anti-Semite. Yes, I know that many Jews supported Trump; my Jewish friends tell me, “Obama was worse.”
Another statement that I found interesting: Morton Klein, president of ZOA, leaped to “Bannon’s defense, noting, among other reasons, his record of steadfast support for Israel.” I have never known that being an anti-Semite and supporting Israel were mutually exclusive.
The third is a classic understatement: “There’s a lot to dislike about the way Bannon and Trump have flirted with dog whistling to extremists.” They haven’t just flirted with the whistles, they have blown them loud and clear. Just look at the many clips from Trump’s campaign appearances when he offered to pay the expenses of supporters who roughed up protesters. Neither of them spoke out after the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., when the marchers shouted about taking the country back from the Jews. I’m sure that he agreed with the president about “good people on both sides.” You can judge a person by the company he keeps or the candidates he supports. Case in point: Bannon’s support of Roy Moore in Ala.
There was one piece of information that was glaringly absent from Tobin’s column — the allegation of Bannon’s former wife that her husband insisted on removing his child from a school because of too many Jewish children. I don’t “hate” Mr. Bannon for being an anti-Semite. I dislike him and his former enabler for attempting to destroy the values that have made this country great.
Herbert S. Glickman