Many have noticed how Donald Trump ignored a question about antisemitism at Wednesday’s press conference. Few have noted how Benjamin Netanyahu supported him.
The Trump-Netanyahu press conference of Wednesday was an orgy of perverse ‘love’, and a shared love of hate against Palestinians, Iran and ‘radical Islam’, as I had noted yesterday.
In this conference, a question was asked at a point by one reporter: “Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we’ve seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic — anti- Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder, what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the states and in Israel and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?”
Trump’s response was stunning.
It was widely commented in mainstream media as avoiding the question. Here’s a short overview:
Washington Post: “Trump was asked a question about anti-Semitism. His answer was about the electoral college”.
Time: “President Trump Was Asked About Anti-Semitism. He Responded by Talking About His Win”
The Independent: “Donald Trump brags about electoral college victory while answering question on anti-Semitism”
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA): “President Trump answered a question about anti-Semitism by boasting about his election victory”
As Emily Jane Fox of Vanity Fair wrote in her piece titled “Donald Trump Answers Question About Anti-Semitism by Bragging About His Electoral Win”, “When Trump chimed in to answer, it was almost as if he heard nothing after “even after your victory.” What the reporter did was open the door for him to talk about that victory, and since the door was open, Trump did a victory lap right on through”.
Trump was indeed asked a serious question. It’s a serious matter that in the immediate wake of his election, there was a wave of hate incidents. The Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 867 hate incidents in the 10 days after the elections, where most were anti-immigrant related, but also 100 cases anti-semitic (about 12%). The statistic includes 80 vandalism and graffiti incidents of swastikas, without specific references to Jews.
So, it’s an issue to be regarded seriously. The reporter was asking specifically about antisemitism, and as a side note referring to general racism and xenophobia.
Trump’s response is worth all the mentioned scrutiny and critique. This is not one where you just change subject. But he really did. Here’s how he opened his answer:
“Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had — 306 electoral college votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221, but then they said there’s no way to 270. And there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there.”
AFTER that, he bothered to give his attention to ‘racism’ and ‘division’, still no mentioning of antisemitism:
“I will say that we are going to have peace in this country. We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on. There’s a lot of bad things that have been taking place over a long period of time. I think one of the reasons I won the election is we have a very, very divided nation, very divided. And hopefully, I’ll be able to do something about that. And I, you know, it was something that was very important to me”, Trump said.
Indeed, Trump is a model of ‘unification’ and anti-racism…even by Republican Lindsay Graham, Trump is a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot”
But let that be for now – when is Trump finally going to address the anti-Semitism question?
Then it comes: “As far as people, Jewish people, so many friends; a daughter who happens to be here right now; a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening. And you’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love. OK? Thank you”, Trump concluded.
Before I go on to analyze Trump’s response on Wednesday, it’s important to note that there’s an extra story in this regard, from yesterday (Thursday), because Trump had a ‘solo’ press conference yesterday where he really lashed out against ‘the press’. Here he was also asked a question in the same area, by reporter Jake Turx, and Trump simply ditched it by saying that Turx ‘lied’ because it was supposed to be a ‘straight simple question’ (and apparently it wasn’t, for Trump), said the question was ‘insulting’ (although Turx made a point of noting that it’s not personal), and finally condemned the press for being so disingenuous, as it were: “that’s the way the press is”, Trump summarized.
Here’s the exchange:
“So, first of all, my name is Jake Turx. I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We have an understand that you have Jewish grandchildren — you are their zayde [granfather in Yiddish, ed.]. However, what we are concerned about and what we haven’t being heard addressed is how the government is planning to take care of it. There are reports that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to—”
“He said he was going to ask a easy question — okay sit down, I understand the rest of your question. So here’s the story folks, number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have seen in your entire life. Number two, racism. The least racist person.
We did relatively well — quiet, quiet, quiet — see he lied about what was going to be a very straight simple question. I hate the charge. I find it repulsive, I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the Prime Minister, you heard Netanyahu yesterday. Did you hear him, Bibi, he said I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and said forget it so you should take that instead of getting up and asking a very insulting question like that. Just shows you about the press but that’s the way the press is.”
But let’s return back to Wednesday, with Trump bringing up his family in all this. What was Trump doing here? He was using his family as a kind of general whitewash of anti-Semitism. The suggestion is, that since he has a Jewish son-in-law (Jared Kushner, who is also White House Advisor), since his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism, and since they thus have Jewish children, there couldn’t possibly be a problem with anti-Semitism. Isn’t this the same type of rationale employed by Breitbart contributor and “alt-right” ideologue Milo Yiannopoulos, who has Jewish heritage and is openly gay (another community persecuted by the Nazis), as Yoav Litvin recently noted? Isn’t it like “some of my best friends are blacks”?
Excuse me, that’s quite disgusting. And the question remained in the press conference — what is Netanyahu going to do about it? Usually he doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to tackling anti-Semitism. In his 2015 speech to Congress (the one where he got 23 standing ovations, which comedian Jon Stewart described as being “by far the longest blowjob a Jewish man has ever received.”), Netanyahu said:
“We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.
Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us.”
Of course – Iran. How could Netanyahu even resist this opportunity when it was Purim?
But when it comes to Trump and the question of antisemitism, it’s a different story.
The reporter who asked Trump the question, was also asking Netanyahu a question, unrelated to antisemitism. The reporter asked:
“And Mr. Prime Minister, do you agree to what the president just said about the need for Israel to restrain or to stop settlement activity in the West Bank? And if we could follow up on my friend’s question — simple question: Do you back off from your vision to the (inaudible) conflict of two-state solution as you lay out in (inaudible) [Bar-Ilan, ed] speech? Or you still support it? Thank you.”
So whilst Netanyahu did answer that question, he still felt that it was necessary to add support to Trump’s answer about antisemitism, although he was not even asked about it.
Here’s what Netanyahu said:
“And finally one — if I can respond to something that I know from personal experience, I’ve known President Trump for many years, and to elude to him or to his people, his team, some of whom I’ve known for many years too — can I reveal, Jared, how long we’ve known you? Well, he was never small, he was always big.
He was always tall. But I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time. There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.”
To which Trump responded by saying “Thank you very much. Very nice. I appreciate that very much.”
Of course Trump appreciates it. Netanyahu just gave him a pass. He was signaling that he’s going to put that question completely to rest when it comes to Trump and his America.
You see, the question wasn’t about Trump, it was about antisemitism. Trump made it personal, used his family to divert from it, and Netanyahu went with it.
It is not strange. Zionists have historically had a very selective approach to antisemitism, according to whether it had aided their aims or not. And antisemites have also had a selective approach to Jews, and often appreciated the exclusivist aspect of Zionism, as opposed to assimilationist Jews – just like Alt-Right Richard Spencer did in his debate with rabbi Rosenberg a few months ago.
And the Jews that Trump is married in and affiliated with, those are not just any Jews. They are certainly not assimilationists. Jared Kushner is an ultra-nationalist-religious settlement supporter, who sits on the board of directors for the family Kushner Foundation, which funds rabidly violent settlements and radical religious settlement institutions, such as the radical Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, as Judy Maltz noted in Haaretz in December. This particular yeshiva was banned from funding in 2011 by the Israeli Government, as it has served as a base for launching violent attacks against nearby Palestinians villages and Israeli security forces, as well. The Yeshiva published the book Torat Hamelech in 2009, advocating that babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”The Yitzhar rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur further opined in the book, that the prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’ applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,”, and that non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination”.
Jared Kushner is thus very arguably abetting genocide and terror.
Believe it or not, Peter Feaver in Foreign Affairs (Tuesday) has seriously suggested that Jared Kushner become National Security Advisor “Yes, there is a concern about nepotism, but those concerns have already been bridged with his current appointment.” Yes, an in-law with almost zero political experience for White House Advisor, that’s not nepotism. Right, why not take it to the next level then: National Security Advisor, no less.
So Kushner is the ‘wonderful Jew’ that Trump is married in with, the one that Netanyahu just adores. I can see that ‘love’, “a lot of love…a lot of love” as Trump was answering.
It doesn’t seem to matter that Trump is a racist and that his son in law supports genocide. Because it’s not Jews who are being targeted – it’s Palestinians, and Muslims in particular. And that dovetails really nicely with the ‘radical-Islam’ agenda.
For Netanyahu it seems that when crying ‘antisemitism’ doesn’t fit the political agenda, then it just gets whitewashed with some lame, vague, family ‘love’.
That fits Trump’s as well as Netanyahu’s racist agendas.
All you need is ‘love’.