Tuesday's election marked a stunning victory for Donald Trump. And, in the background, something else as well. The election marked the greatest victory and validation for anti-Semitism in America since 1941.
We all saw it coming, those who supported Trump and those who opposed him. We knew it early on. And we couldn't stop it. Because Trump's own people – in particular his closest and most senior Jewish advisors, among them his son-in-law Jared Kushner – let it fester and grow, unfettered, unopposed, unacknowledged. Free.
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To the direct benefit of anti-Semites and those who, like Trump, have coddled them and turned a blind eye to them and, in the end, leveraged them to their own advantage, the renaissance of Jew-hate in America has effectively split the Jewish community between an overwhelmingly liberal majority and the pro-Trump minority.
There are now just two kinds of Jews in America. And one of them voted for Trump.
How serious is the split? You can gauge it from the actions and reactions of Trump's senior advisor on relations with Israel, David Friedman, who, interviewed last month on Channel 2, was asked about an Anti-Defamation League Task Force study detailing an enormous and sudden rise in anti-Semitic online attacks on Jewish journalists and journalists believed to be Jews, whose reports were seen as anti-Trump.
“The spike in hate we’ve seen online this election cycle is extremely troubling and unlike anything we have seen in modern politics," ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said at the time. "A half century ago, the KKK burned crosses. Today, extremists are burning up Twitter.” An ADL statement said: "These aggressors are disproportionately likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, or part of the 'alt-right,' a loosely connected group of extremists, some of whom are white supremacists."
Friedman, was asked point blank about the study. Were there anti-Semites actively supporting Trump and harassing his opponents? His answer was a flat no.
Friedman, the president of American Friends of the Bet El settlement, went on to say that Greenblatt was entirely discredited because in the past, the ADL leader had supported the dovish but pro-Israel J Street organization.
He also accused Clinton supporters and advisors of anti-Semitism.
"…[A]re J Street supporters really as bad as kapos? The answer, actually, is no. They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps. The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one? But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas – it’s hard to imagine anyone worse."
We saw it coming. We should have done more. The memes of Trump gassing Jewish journalists, the photo-shopped images of Jewish journalists interred at an Auschwitz-like "Camp Trump," the use of the term "kike-servative" to describe the many Republican Jews who opposed Trump's candidacy and pointed to the anti-Semitic connection.
We knew that the Trump campaign would do nothing to stop it. We knew it in April, when Jews responded loudly and clearly that Trump's adoption of the slogan "America First" bore offensive and frightening connotations.
Before it became a winning slogan for Donald Trump, "America First" was a code. On the eve of the worst war the world has ever known, it was Nazi-sympathizer Charles Lindbergh's code for an America which put White Christian Americans of European ancestry before all else. And which pictured Jews – as Trump did just last week by implication – as enemies of America.
We should have done more. We should have known that Jewish organizations who are in the pocket of pro-Trump billionaire Sheldon Adelson, like the Zionist Organization of America – which charges leftists with anti-Semitism nearly daily – would do nothing about this. Jack all.
We should have done more. And now there is going to be more to do. Much more.
We should have been more active in countering the preposterous but widely spread lies about Hillary Clinton being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
Trump's kid-gloves coddling of anti-Semites and their vicious works have served him in good stead. Now the haters will be only too happy to return the favor by stepping up their attacks.
On Wednesday, the anniversary of Nazi Germany's murderous Kristallnacht pogroms which pre-figured the Holocaust, Trump's victory gave anti-Semites across America an additional reason to raise a glass in celebration.
Within minutes of the announcement of Trump's victory, former Klan leader David Duke - whom the ADL has called "perhaps America's most well-known racist and anti-Semite" - tweeted, "This is one of the most exciting nights of my life - make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!"
And we, all of us, the Jews, helped them get there.
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