Anti-Semitic Vitriol Bombards Journalist Who Profiled Melania Trump

Julia Ioffe says her coverage of Trump's wife was not 'heavily critical,' but Trump supporters found reason to harass her with hate speech bordering on threats.

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Journalist Julia Ioffe was targeted in anti-semitic tweets after writing a profile of Donald Trump's wife Melania.
Journalist Julia Ioffe was targeted in anti-semitic tweets after writing a profile of Donald Trump's wife Melania. Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

Both Donald Trump and his supporters have drawn criticism for racism and aggressive behavior, and an anti-Semitic backlash against a Jewish journalist's profile of Trump's wife Melania is doing little to change the poor perception of Trump's campaign.

Julia Ioffe, a regular contributor for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist at Foreign Policy, was bombarded by hateful tweets, phone calls and emails, seemingly from Trump supporters, in the 24 hours after the Melania profile was published in GQ Magazine on Wednesday.

"This is not a heavily critical article. There is nothing in it that is untrue," Ioffe told The Guardian in response to the wave of inflammatory comments, many of which were specifically anti-Semitic. "If this is how Trump supporters swing into action what happens when the press looks into corrupt dealings, for example, or is critical of his policies?"

One image Ioffe received showed her face imposed over that of an Auschwitz prisoner with the caption: "Julia Ioffe at Camp Trump." Another featured the hashtag #GASTHEKIKES while yet another Twitter user linked to an article by the white supremacist site The Daily Stormer which bore the headline, "Empress Melania attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!"

Ioffe also said she answered an anonymous caller who played a recording of a speech by Adolf Hitler.

"The irony of this is that today, when I was getting all of this horrible anti-Semitic shit that I've only ever seen in Russia, I was reminded that 26 years ago today my family came to the U.S. from Russia," Ioffe told The Guardian. "We left Russia because we were fleeing anti-Semitism."

While Ioffe says her writing was not overly critical of Trump's wife, Melania criticized the article, saying that is was "yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting."

Ioffe's profile revealed that Melania has a half-brother who is estranged from the family. 

"I started the day off having a sense of humor about it but by the end of the day, after a few phone calls like this ... it's hard to laugh," Ioffe told The Guardian. "We've seen the way he [Trump] bids his supporters to attack the media, his proposal to change libel laws to make it easier to sue journalists. What happens if Donald Trump is elected?"

Trump himself has been criticized for retweeting an account called "@WhiteGenocideTM," which gives its location as "Jewmerica" and features an image that references George Lincoln Rockwell, a prominent figure in the neo-Nazi movement in the United States. 

In November, Trump retweeted and then deleted a collage attacking former Florida governor Bush that featured a swastika.

More recently, the Anti-Defamation League urged Trump to reconsider his "America First" slogan, touted during his first major foreign policy speech this week, citing its "anti-Semitic use in the months before Pearl Harbor by a group of prominent Americans seeking to keep the nation out of World War II."

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