It hasn't been easy being Jewish in America in the age of Donald Trump. If you need an explanation as to why, look no further than the Trump supporter who started chanting "Jew-S-A!" at reporters covering a rally in Phoenix on Saturday night.
Trump supporter George Lindell, who now has claimed he pronounced U-S-A that way because he is used to speaking Spanish (even though he is not Hispanic) was also caught on camera saying, "We’re run by the Jews, OK?"
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway may have criticized CNN's Jake Tapper for attempting to "besmirch" Trump supporters by saying many of them are racist and anti-Semitic. But considering that Trump himself refuses to disavow these supporters except in the most curt and politically expedient fashion possible, it's hard to believe that she's genuinely surprised at the charge of bigotry.
While Trump's racist comments against groups like Mexicans and Muslims are well-known, his anti-Semitism has been more subtle. Earlier this month Trump claimed there was an international plot by bankers who were planning to rig the election for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. This is a charge that's reminiscent of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that circulated in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, particularly those espoused in "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
"Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty," Trump tweeted at one point, "in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors."
Trump also came under fire in July when he retweeted a picture of Clinton with a Star of David superimposed over her image. The words "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever" were included inside the star, and although the Trump campaign denied anti-Semitic intent, it failed to explain how the campaign could have been unaware that the candidate had retweeted an image from a white supremacist website.
Donald Trump has a lot of anti-Semitic supporters, and I should know. I was a target once.
In December I criticized Trump for a series of anti-Semitic jokes he made. In response, Andrew Anglin — whose popular neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer has openly championed Trump's campaign — decided to condemn the "piece up by Jew parasite Matthew Rozsa."
When I responded by ridiculing his logic (as well as a particularly flimsy attempt at referencing "The Dark Knight" trilogy), Anglin complained, "So you get called a 'Jew parasite,' you respond by calling me a 'white supremacist' and a 'professional racist,' then claim I’m too stupid to understand that Bane is the bad guy in DKR."
Hey, I never said that anti-Semites have thick skins.
Considering that Trump is notoriously sensitive when the targets he bullies fight back, it stands to reason that his less powerful racist backers would behave the same way. Nevertheless, Trump has made it an increasingly scary time to Jewish in America.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, told CNN that Lindell's actions were "deplorable," even as Trump's campaign has used the phrase as a rallying cry. But what will happen to Lindell, and Aglin, after Nov. 8?