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The JC Leader: Trump triumphant. So what now?

For Jews, these are worrying times.

    Donald Trump at the New Hampshire primary, by Michael Vadon
    Donald Trump at the New Hampshire primary, by Michael Vadon

    It is not an accusation, merely a statement of fact, to describe Donald Trump as a racist, misogynist bully. That such a man can be elected as President of the United States is deeply chilling.

    For Jews, there is one specific aspect of his ascendency that is so worrying. His campaign was self-consciously antisemitic. One of his main themes was that a global elite was conspiring against ordinary Americans. This is not only a classic antisemitic meme; the examples cited by Mr Trump were all – every one of them – Jewish, such as George Soros and the President of the Federal Reserve. Anyone who denies this element to Mr Trump’s campaign is living in a self-deluded fantasy.

    Fantasy may be an apposite word. Perhaps the past few decades, when the US preserved a global order that destroyed prejudice rather than cementing it, was merely a short-lived fantasy.

    With our history, that is a desperate prospect.

    Many of us have always looked to the US as a beacon of freedom. When the Third Reich looked unstoppable and Britain stood alone, it was the US that then sacrificed so many of its sons to defeat the Nazis. In the Cold War it was the US, through Nato, that ensured the Soviet Union was held in check. And in recent years Nato has helped preserve the long-delayed freedom of Eastern Europe from the Warsaw Pact.

    All that is now threatened. Mr Trump cites Vladimir Putin as a role model and believes Nato no longer has a purpose. The message is clear: far from standing up to an aggressive tyrant, he will willingly acquiesce in that aggression.

    For Jews, these are worrying times. We have already been scapegoated by Mr Trump, so it is no supposition to suggest that worse may be to come. History shows that when bullies take charge, they turn on the Jews.

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