Like racism, antisemitism is a scourge. Since Trump became president, this scourge has risen dramatically and it doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. It must be faced and stopped.
I grew up hearing and reading the phrase “Never Again”, meaning that we can never again allow the rise of fascists to commit another Holocaust. According to Wikipedia, “In the context of genocide, the slogan was [first] used by liberated prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp [in April 1945] to express anti-fascist sentiment.” I learned my lesson well and I am resolutely anti-fascist.
I was pleased to read that “President Joe Biden announced a new plan [in May 2023] to fight hate, bias, and violence against Jewish people and combat an alarming rise in antisemitism”. In contrast, I was displeased that Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s response to this plan of fighting antisemitism was “When they say stuff like this, they mean they want to go after conservatives.” If so-called conservatives are conserving antisemitism and other forms of bigotry, then yes, we will go after them.
While we remember past atrocities, we must also remember the frighteningly similar statements and actions of the current Republican Party:
REMEMBER that Rep. Boebert is not the first to clump together conservatives with racists and antisemites. Social media algorithms, for example, have a hard time blocking white supremacist and antisemitic posts without also blocking so many Republican accounts. The underlying connections are inescapable.
REMEMBER that the Republican Party opposed investigating and expelling nazis and other white supremacists from the US military. What valid reason would there be to retain them?
REMEMBER that Trump in 2016 tweeted an image using a Star of David to symbolize Hillary Clinton’s “corruption”.
REMEMBER that Trump hosted a private meal for a Holocaust-denying white nationalist (Nick Fuentes, who said “I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians” and that Jews should leave the US or be converted) and a rapper who has spewed antisemitic conspiracies (Kanye West, who said to right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones “I like Hitler” and “I also love nazis.” Trump supporter Alex Jones, in turn, periodically references the “Jewish mafia”.).
REMEMBER that it was right-wing racists who attacked synagogues in Pennsylvania and California, shooting and killing Jews in those temples. The shooting at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the deadliest attack against Jews in American history, in which 11 people were killed and several others were injured. Cecilia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the deadly assault was inspired by elements of Trump’s rhetoric.
REMEMBER that a featured speaker at a major gathering of US Republicans in Budapest, it was a popular Hungarian TV talk show host (Zsolt Bayer) who called Jews “stinking excrement” and used racial slurs against Blacks who was a featured speaker at a major gathering of US Republicans in Budapest. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who glorifies nazi collaborators yet was praised and endorsed by Trump, was the keynote speaker on the first day of the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) Hungary conference, which the US Holocaust Memorial Museum protested. Other racists and antisemites were also speakers.
REMEMBER that it is people on Fox Noise who amplify the neo-nazi so-called “great replacement theory”, fearing Jews and other minorities will “replace” White Christian men. As they admitted to lying about their views in court, we don’t know whether they actually believe this or not, but they are saying and repeating this old fearmongering drivel, nevertheless.
REMEMBER that Republicans in a “Unite the Right” rally marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 with nazi flags, nazi salutes, and tiki torches chanting “Jews will not replace us!” Trump later said some of them were “very fine people”, despite how deplorable they are. One Trump supporter, who was said to be “deeply into Adolf Hitler and white supremacy”, purposely drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and seriously injuring many others.
REMEMBER that in 2022, all Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against condemning the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, the great replacement theory, and a House commitment to combat hatred and racial injustice. All Democrats voted in favor.
REMEMBER it is Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz who agreed with racist Tucker Carlson about his repugnant views and also positively mentioned the “great replacement theory”. Not nearly his first offense.
REMEMBER it is Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar who promoted an antisemitic website that denies the Holocaust, praises Adolf Hitler as “a man of valor”, and is pro-Kremlin. Not nearly his first offense.
REMEMBER it is Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who has a history of racist, islamophobic, and antisemitic remarks, including her infamous “space laser” post. Not nearly her first offense. MTG previously shared a video claiming “an unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists, and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands.” She was promoted by her Republican colleagues, not censured, for her vile comments and actions.
REMEMBER that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) wrote that Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King “had relationships with Austria’s far-right Freedom party, which has stumbled through repeated neo-nazi scandals; that King had deployed an antisemitic smear about George Soros, the Jewish-Hungarian philanthropist [who survived the Holocaust]; and that King had endorsed foreign politicians linked to antisemitic and neo-nazi groups.” Not nearly his first offense.
REMEMBER that Trump stated that Jewish Americans in real estate were “brutal killers” and “not nice people”. Trump also retweeted antisemitic memes from fascist organizations. Not nearly his first offense.
REMEMBER that some Trump supporters at the January 6 insurrection were wearing shirts announcing “Camp Auschwitz” and “6mwe” (6 million wasn’t enough, grotesquely referring to the estimated number of Jews killed by nazis in the Holocaust). “Prosecutors have found that Trump’s January 6 rally”, according to Jonathan Chait’s “The GOP’s Surrender to the Antisemites”, “attracted a significant number of people who share Hitler quotes, hold membership in neo-nazi organizations, have a fixation with “white genocide,” and the like.” Both Trump and DeSantis are saying that they might pardon them if they become president.
REMEMBER that the KKK, neo-nazi, and white supremacist groups have endorsed Trump for president, while other neo-nazi groups have endorsed DeSantis for president. DeSantis supporters outside Disney World in June 2023 were waiving nazi flags and had a Make America Florida banner, while also featuring racist and homophobic slurs. Even if Trump and DeSantis aren’t nazis themselves, the nazis want them as leaders, which should tell us something.
REMEMBER that it is Republicans who support authoritarian Trump and DeSantis who are carrying Confederate and nazi flags, banning books, suppressing history, denying rights to the LGBT community, and outlawing abortion.
REMEMBER that many Republican politicians use Gab as a social media platform, including the Wyoming Republican Party, describing it “an awesome platform”. Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba stated that “We don’t want people who are Jewish.” Torba is very open about wanting the US to be a White Christian nation with a White Christian economy.
REMEMBER that it is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that documented over 100 right-wing candidates running for office as Republicans in 2022, espousing a range of extremist ideology, including “support for QAnon; ties to anti-government extremists like the militia movement and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association; white supremacy; and antisemitism.” The ADL suggests that even though many would not win their elections, they are normalizing hateful ideologies.
REMEMBER that Russell Walker overwhelmingly won his North Carolina Republican primary election (65%), even though he said “What is wrong with being a white supremacist? God is a racist and a white supremacist” and “Jews are not Semitic they are Satanic as they all descend from Satan.”
REMEMBER that Cynthia Hughes, the founder of the Patriot Freedom project, told the crowd at Trump’s “Save America” rally in Pennsylvania about her nephew Tim Hale-Cusanelli, who was convicted for participating in the January 6 insurrection. Hughes neglected to mention that the Navy investigated Hale-Cusanelli and he is reported to have said a slew of hateful things, including that Jews “are ruining everything and did not belong here” and that “Hitler should have finished the job”.
REMEMBER that it was Republicans in a few states that banned versions of the Diary of Anne Frank and Maus, important books about the Holocaust. Maus was also banned in Russia and burned in Poland, just as so many Jews were.
We must fight fascism wherever and whenever it rears its ugliness. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a large majority of Jews consistently vote Democratic, not Republican. Three-quarters (74%) of Jews voted for Democrats in the 2022 Midterm Elections because Jews know that the Republican Party is socially unjust, too corrupt, increasingly racist and antisemitic, and could be an existential threat to religious, racial, and sexual minorities, to American democracy, and to our environment. 2022 is consistent with other modern US elections in which Jews voted between 68% – 78% for Democrats.
Likewise with other religious, racial, and sexual minorities, who disproportionately reject the Republican Party. Jews also disproportionately donate to and participate in many social justice organizations and campaigns.
According to Jonathan Chait, the GOP “has become a party in which antisemitism has gained a foothold. No recent development in American life has done more to throw American Jews’ safety and civic equality into doubt.”
The Republican Party is an existential threat to Jews and other minorities, including me and my family. Never forget and never again. They must be stopped. NEVER AGAIN IS NOW!