Trump and the Anti-Semites

Posted on 2016 November 20



Breitbart is the most pro-Israel site in the United States. — Steve Bannon

An acquaintance wondered if Donald Trump’s choice for White House chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, was an anti-Semite. The acquaintance cited an editorial released by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. I replied:

I’ve read some stuff at Breitbart over the years, and I didn’t get the feeling it was anti-Semitic. But it is a loudmouth conservative rag that takes issue with the GOP. 

I’ve thought of Trump as the favorite of the Alt-Right, but I also haven’t seen him as anti-Semitic. (Basically he’s pro-working class and anti-foreign, which cuts both left and right, depending on whether he’s on it about foreign countries competing on price [left] or Mexicans pouring into the country [right].)

I’ve also wondered how long it would take for Alt-Righters to decide Trump isn’t really on their side. On “60 Minutes” yesterday Trump told vicious Alt-Righters to “Stop it.” It reminds me of how hard-Lefties became impatient when Obama didn’t adequately serve their doctrinaire interests.

If I had to bet, I’d wager Steve Bannon isn’t specifically an anti-Semite. But he is a Tea Party-style conservative, and most American Jews vote Democrat, so there’s liable to be misunderstanding — especially if, at some point, he takes aim at a Jewish left-wing pundit. I can’t rule out altogether that he’s anti-Jewish, but it’s hard to fathom how that would get any traction in Washington. Besides, the new administration’s issues don’t have much at all to do with American Jews or gays or pot smokers or cigar smokers or most other minorities that have been caught up in controversy.

Bear in mind also that Haaretz is left-wing, and the entire Left is sore right now, but Israelis will come around if, as is distinctly possible, Trump sides with Israel more than Obama did.

Remember: Trump barely has majority power in D.C. He won’t want to step on toes where he doesn’t have to.

Here’s a mildly left-wing analysis of Steve Bannon that squirms about him but doesn’t come out and say he’s an agent of evil or anything:

Since then, I looked deeper into charges that the right-wing news outlet Breitbart is anti-Semitic. I sent my observations to the concerned acquaintance:

The big complaint about Bannon is that he’s an anti-Semite. The chief evidence is one headline on Breitbart: “Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew”.

Ouch. That sounds bad. Democrats featured the headline prominently during the presidential campaign. (There’s also a claim by Bannon’s ex-wife that he made anti-Semitic remarks to her, though apparently she made the charge during divorce proceedings.)

I found the Breitbart article, and it’s a May 2016 diatribe against Bill Kristol, a prominent conservative Jew who campaigned against Trump during the primaries. It’s written by David Horowitz, a fellow conservative Jew and Trump partisan who finds fault with Kristol for causing strife within “the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation”:

“I am a Jew who has never been to Israel and has never been a Zionist in the sense of believing that Jews can rid themselves of Jew hatred by having their own nation state. But half of world Jewry now lives in Israel, and the enemies whom Obama and Hillary have empowered — Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS, and Hamas — have openly sworn to exterminate the Jews. I am also an American (and an American first), whose country is threatened with destruction by the same enemies. To weaken the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation, and between America and the forces intent on destroying her, is a political miscalculation so great and a betrayal so profound as to not be easily forgiven.”

So the anti-Semite complaint against Breitbart — and, by extension, Steve Bannon — centers on one article by a Jewish political theorist who’s simply angry at another Jewish political theorist for being insufficiently loyal in fighting against anti-Semitism. 

Personally, I think Horowitz is full of crap, accusing a fellow Republican of party disloyalty — and therefore disloyalty to worldwide Jewry — for failing to support Horowitz’s preferred candidate during the GOP primaries. Sheesh. But at least the piece is not anti-Semitic. In fact, Horowitz stops at one point to pay homage to a couple of prominent African Americans. So the essay is not even racist.

One thing’s for sure: Breitbart can be incendiary. And even chauvinist. But anti-Semitic? Not so much.

Wait, Don Pardo, there’s more! Bannon’s 2014 speech at the Vatican laments the loss of “Judeo-Christian” principles to secularism in the West.

…None of this is meant to prove that Trump is a good leader, or that you should have voted for him. Still, the Left ignores the inconvenient evidence and continues to pound away at Trump and his advisors, Hell-bent (as it were) to convince us that Trump is Voldemort.

Maybe The Donald is something of a Severus Snape. But Voldemort?? Don’t say that name!!


Posted in: Politics