Jewish Groups Accuse Trump Campaign of Antisemitism Over Ad of Sanders as Biden Puppet Master

Ben Sales
Bernie Sanders (L) and Joe Biden during the Democratic Party primary debate, 2020.
Bernie Sanders (L) and Joe Biden during the Democratic Party primary debate, 2020.Credit: Matt Rourke,AP
Ben Sales

Two left-wing Jewish groups are accusing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign of antisemitism over an ad showing Bernie Sanders holding Joe Biden as a puppet.

The ad, according to screenshots posted on Twitter, has Biden dangling like a marionette from strings that are wrapped around Sanders’ fingers with text reading “Joe Biden: The radical left’s puppet.” Sanders, who challenged Biden from the left in the Democratic presidential primary, is Jewish.

IfNotNow and Bend the Arc said the ad perpetuates the antisemitic stereotype of Jews nefariously pulling the world’s strings. The accusation that Biden is a puppet of the far left is a frequent one among Trump supporters, who often use images of Sanders to illustrate the argument.

“There’s a long, dangerous history of Jews being scapegoated as all-powerful puppet masters,” Bend the Arc tweeted Tuesday. “Trump is using this antisemitic lie to spread fear & division.”

Antisemitic cartoons throughout history have included images of Jews as puppet masters. In a tweet from 2018 regarding a different cartoon, the Anti-Defamation League wrote, “Even if no antisemitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events perpetuates #antiSemitic tropes.”

Trump has also accused Biden of being the puppet of non-Jews. A Trump ad with a similar theme from May reads “Joe Biden: China’s puppet” and features a video of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping standing behind Biden and moving his mouth like that of a ventriloquist’s dummy.

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