Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Just when one assumed that maybe the issue of anti-Semitism had run its course in this campaign, along comes Donald Trump and his son in law to stir the pot once more. This was accomplished through three separate acts; Trump publicly stated that he wished the despicable ad of Hillary adorned with money and Stars of David had not been removed from his web page. He stated that there was no problem with it. Jared Kushner defended his father-in-law as not an anti-Semite. Finally, Kushner’s cousins attacked Jared for disgracing his family’s name and history in not outing anti-Semitism when he sees it.
The problem in Trump campaign on one level is–as has been observed before–that Trump apparently can never make a mistake. Once again he blames others and can never admit that he does anything wrong or lies. So when found to have made a mistake with the ad he turns it around against those who made an issue of it.
Even assuming his rebuttal was correct, Trump never condemned his followers who used blatantly and explicit anti-Semitic language against Dana Schwartz whose open letter to Kushner in the Observer exposed and publicized the Clinton tweet. The type of anti-Semitic attacks to which she was exposed–as had been those that another conservative Jewish reporter, Bethany Mandel, who had also received for attacking Trump–were as virulent and obnoxious as those used by the Nazis.
Meanwhile, Kushner himself defended his father-in law but also never addressed the anti-Semitism that Trump followers continue to generate. Rather than facilitating its being rejected, all the intense tumult that Trump and Kushner have generated, has only exacerbated the problem. Then Trump and Kushner turned around and tried to place the blame on the media.
In the Clinton campaign there also was some disturbing anti-Jewish sentiments expressed by Max Blumenthal—the son of Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary’s very close friend and adviser—who is a strong supporter of the Palestinians and long-standing critic of Israel. The son wrote extensive criticism of Eli Wiesel following his passing. While Max is not involved in her campaign, Clinton publically disassociated herself with his comments. She disavowed any sympathy for his “hateful” remarks and expressed her own long standing respect and friendship with Wiesel. Regardless of her relationship with Sidney Blumenthal, unlike Trump she did not hesitate to condemn “the offensive and hateful” comments attacking Wiesel.