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Donald Trump Has a Lot of Goddamn Nerve

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 21, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 21, 2019 |


It wasn’t enough for Trump to start a race war in America by stirring divides — often violent — between nonwhites and whites. Now, he’s determined to drum up religious divides in America, too, between Muslims and Jews, who often are the two marginalized groups who have each others’ backs the most.

Yesterday during a press conference, Donald Trump said that “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat” show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” I don’t even know where to begin with this, except that he’s using an anti-Semitic trope often deployed by white nationalists in order to curry favor/demand loyalty from Jews. Basically, he’s saying, if you’re not loyal to me, you’re not loyal to Israel. The irony is rich here, because he’s demanding dual loyalty from Jews — to the United States and Israel — which is precisely the thing that Trump (and many Democrats) criticized Ilhan Omar for: She was lambasted by folks on both sides of the political spectrum because they perceived that Omar was suggesting that Jews have dual loyalty. Meanwhile, Trump is demanding that very same dual loyalty.

I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but Jews are not monolithic. I mean, 80 percent of Jews voted for Democrats in the United States, while in Israel, only 26.4 percent of Israelis voted for Benjamin Netanyahu’s party — he had to cobble together a coalition to maintain power in an election earlier this year and was unable to gain a majority, so there’s going to be another election in September. So, basically, Trump is demanding that Jews in America — who vote Democrat — pledge loyalty to an Israeli government voted in office by 27 percent of Israelis.

We all get what Trump is doing, however. He and Bibi are pals because they essentially employ the same ultra-nationalistic political strategies: Trump divides America by appealing to whites’ fear of minorities and immigrants, while Netanyahu wins elections in Israel by appealing to Jews’ fears of Palestinians (I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t also mention that Hamas succeeded by stoking hatred against Jews). There are a lot of good people in America, Israel, and Palestine (see, e.g., HBO’s Our Boys), but there are a lot of bad actors among the governing class in all three areas.

Meanwhile, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are advocating for Palestinians because of the conditions in the West Bank and a lot of Jews in America and Israel absolutely agree with Tlaib and Omar (because, again, Jews are not monolithic). All the same, a lot of Jews in America also disagree with Tlaib and Omar on a number of other issues (BDS, among them), but it does not mean they support Trump, because — in case I didn’t mention it — Jews are not a monolith. They are capable of nuance. Like anyone, they can separate and untangle different issues and vote accordingly, unlike the religious right who apparently are willing to toss aside all of their other core beliefs to vote for a racist, philandering, hateful, and unforgiving man because he decided in 2012 to become anti-choice because it would suit his political career.

I mean, look: At the end of the day, this is all designed to pit Muslims against Jews, and “good Jews” against “bad Jews,” all of which ultimately benefit Trump’s white nationalist base. It’s reprehensible.

Finally, I leave you with this:

“All of a sudden, she starts with tears, tears — I don’t buy it,” Trump said re: the above video. “I don’t buy it for a second.” Not all Jews agree with Omar and Tlaib, but very few doubt their genuine concern for people of all color and religion. For Trump to doubt those tears only illustrates how completely incapable he is of compassion.

Header Image Source: Getty Images