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In final campaign ad, Trump plumped for Jew-hate

    Images from the Trump advert in which prominent Jews are targeted
    Images from the Trump advert in which prominent Jews are targeted

    The jubilant Donald Trump campaign has been accused of using a dirty tactic in its final push to victory: antisemitism.

    Mr Trump signed off his electioneering drive with a video that was widely seen as an appeal to the so-called American alt-right, hardliners with a strong disdain for the establishment.

    The villains in the video are Hillary and Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and three other prominent figures, all Jews, who are presented as propping up the allegedly corrupt and money-driven establishment.

    After images are shown of piles of banknotes, Mr Trump is heard saying that trillions of dollars were at stake in the election for "those who control the levers of power in Washington". At the same time, an image of Jewish tycoon George Soros comes into view.

    Next, as Mr Trump is heard claiming the establishment has "stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations", viewers see the Jewish business executive Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. The other supposed establishment conspirator whose face can

    be clearly identified is the Jewish economist Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve.

    Commentators were quick to point out that there are many executives and economists who could have been used to illustrate Mr Trump's argument, but the campaign opted for images and footage of Jews.

    Jonah Pesner, who directs Reform Judaism's advocacy arm in Washington, said the video was "almost a replay, a modern interpretation, of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion", referring to the notorious fake text supposedly outlining plans for Jewish world domination.

    The Jewish Democratic senator Al Franken said on CNN that when he saw the video he "thought that this was something of German Shepherd whistle, a dog whistle, to a certain group in the United States". He too referred to the Protocols, saying: "It clearly had sort of Elders of Zion kind of feel to it, international banking crisis - plot or conspiracy, rather, and then a number of Jews."

    Mr Franken called the video "an appeal to some of the worst elements in our country as a closing argument".

    American Jewry's leading antisemitism watchdog, the non-partisan Anti-Defamation League (ADL), was forthright. "Whether intentional or not, the images and rhetoric in this ad touch on subjects that antisemites have used for ages," the organisation's CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, stating that the political candidates should steer clear of "painful stereotypes and baseless conspiracy theories".

    Mr Trump's adviser on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, hit back, telling journalists "the ADL should focus on real antisemitism and hatred, and not try to find anywhere none exists", and suggesting that the hate watchdog had involved itself in "partisan politics".

    But the video was no bolt out of the blue. Much of the audio came from the controversial speech that Mr Trump gave last month at a rally in Florida. He said then: "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors," - and met swift criticism from the ADL and other Jewish voices.

    In July, Mr Trump tweeted a picture of Mrs Clinton inside a Star of David with the words "most corrupt candidate ever". The campaign then changed the shape to a circle and insisted that it had chosen the original shape as a "sheriff's star".

    In January, he retweeted a post about the election by @WhiteGenocideTM. In February he tweeted a quote from Benito Mussolini and, after being told about its origins, asked rhetorically: "What difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else?"

    Last week, a Trump supporter approached journalists at a rally, insisting that Jews control the media and chanting "Jew-S-A", a play on USA. The Washington Post called the incident the "latest reminder of white supremacist support for Trump".

    After Mr Trump's last-push video was released, the Washington Post -- banned on reporting on Trump rallies for part of election season, even as hard-right journalists had access, because of unflattering coverage - upped its criticism. "Antisemitism is no longer an undertone of Mr Trump's campaign," wrote columnist Dana Milbank. "It's the melody."

    Publishing his piece just before polling day, Mr Milbank wrote: "When the election returns come in Tuesday night, it will be November 9 in Germany - the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 'Night of Broken Glass' at the start of the Holocaust when Nazis vandalised synagogues and businesses. I pray that on this solemn anniversary, Americans tell Donald Trump and the world that we are never going back there."

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