For a while I explained this sentiment thusly: Trump may not be personally anti-Semitic, but anti-Semites sure seem to love Trump. After all, I’ve received countless emails attacking me for being Jewish when I’ve written articles criticizing the Republican frontrunner… even though none of those pieces actually identified my religion (for more on that, click here). Even though this didn’t prove that Trump was himself an anti-Semite, it certainly reflected the inherent bigotry that he stirs up in his supporters.
Then Trump decided to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition earlier today and forced me to revise my earlier opinion. I don’t care that Trump’s daughter married a Jew and converted to his religion – the man is an anti-Semite and I’m calling him out as such.
Here are some choice quotes from his speech, courtesy of the good folks at Vox:
“Stupidly, you want to give money. …You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”
“I’m a negotiator, like you folks.”
“Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”
Trump was also booed by the audience for refusing to state that Jerusalem ought to remain the undivided capital of Israel, an offense that I don’t particularly consider to be racist. On the other hand, check out this attack on the national character of the Jewish State:
“A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things. They may not be, and I understand that, and I’m OK with that. But then you’re just not going to have a deal.”
It is at this point that I must doff my hat to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who had the courage to call The Donald out on the intolerance embedded in that comment:
“Some in our own party actually question Israel’s commitment to peace. Some in our own party actually call for more sacrifice from the Israeli people. They are dead wrong, and don’t understand the enduring bond between Israel and America.
“Let me be crystal clear: there is no moral equivalence between Israel and its enemies. Understanding that fundamental truth is essential to being the next Commander in Chief. This is not a real estate deal with two sides arguing over money. It’s a struggle to safeguard the future of Israel.”
Even before Trump made these reprehensible remarks, many Republican Jews had already expressed reservations about his candidacy. In an article with Mint Press News, Republican political consultant Nathan Wurtzel (who is Jewish) pointed out that “there are a lot of folks who are, to be charitable, into white identity politics, and to be uncharitable are outright racists, who are supporting Trump. It’s very off-putting and disturbing.” Former Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), who is also Jewish, observed that “in order for us to become a party [of anyone] other than white men, we need to be reaching out. I think Trump’s language and perspective is a long-term negative in terms of building the party.”
Indeed it is, and Coleman’s remarks speak to a much deeper truth. In the ugly world of racial bigotry, there is usually very little distinction between hatred of one minority group and hatred of another. The precise stereotypes often differ, to be sure, as does the exact way in which the prejudice manifests itself. Nevertheless, individuals who are predisposed to racist worldviews are more likely to apply that mindset to a multitude of minority groups than not. Trump’s recent remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition are just one more demonstration of this reality – and Jews throughout America should take note, and be cautious.