Over the Top Even for Trump
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Any Americans of any political persuasion who were not outraged by the anti-Semitic tropes expressed by President Trump in the Oval Office press gaggle, need to look much more deeply into themselves and into their own character. They need to consider as well whether they truly recognize how racist and prejudiced the President truly is.
For those American Jews—such as the Republican Jewish Coalition– who are defending the anti-Semitic slurs uttered against Jews who support Democrats and the Democratic Party–they need to spend time reviewing Jewish history; even American History. Their apparent political loyalty to the President and to the Republican Party clearly have distorted their view of history.
The President yesterday challenged the loyalty of American Jews directly and explicitly. He did so because most American Jews support the Democratic Party and do not support him or his policies including his views concerning U.S. policy towards Israel. Specifically, Trump attacked Jews for challenging the President and even the policies of the Government of Israel. The President implied that Jews who voted or supported Democrats were not only disloyal Americans but bad Jews.
An attack on the patriotism and loyalty of American Jews because of their political persuasion and party affiliation is repugnant to fundamental American values. It is another example of Trump’s total lack of understanding of America, of democracy, of free speech, and Jewish history. Charging Jews of disloyalty to the United States because they do not support his policy on Israel or because they question policies of the American or the Israeli Government is contemptable.
This attack on Jewish loyalties is not new. From the 1950’s through the 70’s Senator J. William Fulbright was one of the leading Democratic foreign policy voices in the country and the longest serving Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He consistently charged that Jews controlled the Senate, the media, and determined all of U.S. Middle East policy. Fulbright charged Jews with having divided loyalties but not that they were disloyal to the U.S. He never singled out Republicans or Democrats.
For Jews the most alarming observation should be that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who considers himself and the Government of Israel to be the most important single voice in defense of the concerns of world Jewry, has been silent. The silence and timidity of the Government Israel has been appalling. Trump has Bibi so deep in his political pocket that Netanyahu cannot even stand up to defend American Jews from anti-Semitic attacks.
For the world, the most frightening aspect of this entire blow-up is that it resonates with many of Trump’s supporters and his base. Trump is playing the exact same card that Adolf Hitler played when he lied and fabricated myths about the Jews. As he repeated the lies over and over again, more and more of the German nation believed him. The bigger the lies and the more preposterous the allegations the more the German volk devoured his diatribes. Truth never mattered to Hitler nor does it appear to matter to Trump.