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Anti-Semitism in the US (plus Tweets)

Most days I see examples of the fact of the high level racism in the US*. In particular, there is plenty of exposure of the racism against African-, Hispanic-, Latino-, and Native-Americans on my TV screen. When it comes to the sites I look at on the internet, the focus seems to me more about whether Muslims are getting a fair deal unless there’s a particular story that the media is focusing on that relates to race. The tweets I see are a pretty mixed bag when it comes to different forms of prejudice.

However, statistically, the group in the US that suffers the greatest prejudice is Jews or those with Jewish ancestry. (In some studies it’s atheists, but they don’t suffer violence as much as Jews.) That was brought sharply into focus by the horrific attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh a couple of days ago.

Eleven people were murdered by gunman Robert Bowers, and six more injured (including four police officers). In addition to those crimes, the 46-year-old was charged with hate crimes. The hate crimes charge is because Bowers’ is clearly rabidly anti-Semitic. His social media was apparently (I cannot check because it’s now been taken down) full of virulent anti-Semitic messages.

George Soros

CNN writes that Bowers was of the belief that Jews were funding the caravan of asylum seekers currently making its way towards the US from Central America. However, it’s my understanding that the belief of Bowers and his fellow extreme right-wing ignoramuses is more specific than that. They believe one specific Jew is the culprit in that case: they think businessman George Soros is funding the caravan. They have adopted the carton below as theirs.

 

Anti Soros cartoon

 

Ben Garrison

Cartoonist Ben Garrison is known for his anti-Semitic cartoons and is a self-described admirer of Trump. This is not Garrison’s first anti-Soros cartoon and it’s not the first time the far-right have adopted one of his cartoons. (Bowers himself is NOT a Trump supporter because he thinks Trump isn’t tough enough on Jews.) However, the extreme right are not the only ones using this cartoon. The National Republican Congressional Committee are also using it, and far more widely, influencing far more people. They actually name Soros in anti-Democratic ads they are currently running, appealing to the worst instincts of their supporters.

All aspects of right-wing politics have it in for Soros. You don’t have to go to the extremists to find people making up conspiracy theories about him. The reality is he donates a lot of money to the Democratic party. The rest of hogwash. Just a few hours ago, we got this on the network from which most Republicans get their news:

 

 

 

 

Here’s another of Garrison’s cartoons, representing the “ZOG”, as he sees it:

 

Garrison cartoon of a ZOG.

 

Note: Protocols of the Elders of Zion

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was debunked almost a century ago. (Check out this post for more info about it.) It’s still fodder amongst conservative Islamist groups such as terrorists like Hamas. To see it come up as if it’s a real thing in US politics without any push back is quite frightening. But then Lou Dobbs is one of those who thought the Florida bomber was a left-wing person trying to make the right look bad.

Racist Political Ads

Last week there was publicity about racist ads being run in Florida against the Democratic candidate. These were not put out by the Republican party, but I could find no evidence of the Republican candidate condemning them. Now, this one is running, and is still running following the attempted bombings and the Pittsburgh murders. Unlike the Florida one, it is from the GOP itself. It frankly horrifies me. Remember too that Soros was the first of those targeted by Florida bomber Cesar Sayoc last week.

 

The Democratic party in the US are good at calling for a more inclusive society. They appear to largely live up to that in the way they operate too. However, they’re not that good at being specific at calling people out. On the one hand, they want to appeal to all those who are marginalized in society. On the other, they don’t want to lose the votes of the white working class who feel like they are getting a hard time too. Personally, I think it’s possible to do both. The problem in my opinion is that the Democrats are focusing too much on the feel-good factor and not enough on specific policy items. They can’t win an election by being anti-Trump – they have to be for something as well.

 

*Disclaimer

I’m not claiming that New Zealand is perfect when is comes to racism. We’re not. Unfortunately, humanity hasn’t yet evolved to the stage where there’s a single country where there’s no such thing as racism. However, I do think there’s a lot less racism here than in the US.

 

Tweets

Political Tweets

To this typically dreadful tweet from the US president, Molly Hodgdon had an appropriate reply:

 

I began a post about Cesar Sayoc a few of days ago that never got finished. However, this article includes many of the things I did and, of course, a lot more that I did not.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Environmental Tweets

Well, it runs on wind and solar power, and doesn’t use up any land, so that’s good for the environment! How’s this for a cool way to live?!!!

 

Fun Tweets

I bet plenty of us know a kid we’d love to show this!

 

Creepy Crawlies Tweets

Here’s a device for all you kind people out there:

 

Other Animals Tweets

There’s something about pandas!

 

Cat Tweets

The comment on this tweet is so true!

 

There’s a good reason we all love watching cats play!

 

Wee cuties …

 

An oldie but a goodie …
(Via Ann German.)


 

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22 Responses to “Anti-Semitism in the US (plus Tweets)”

  1. Yakaru says:

    “His social media was apparently (I cannot check because it’s now been taken down) full of virulent anti-Semitic messages.”

    So now we know what it takes to get Twitter to take down anti-Semitic messages.

    • Exactly! Twitter and Facebook are full of anti-Semitic stuff. Remember that is used to be possible to market to anti-Semites on Facebook? Anti-Palestinian stuff, and atheist stuff gets you banned easily.

  2. Randall Schenck says:

    I’m not sure why such an uptick in the attack on Jewish people and institutions. Probably a combination of Trump and that thing we call the internet. One part of this I do not really understand is the media and even law enforcement’s desire to learn all they can about the background and lives of those doing the murders or terrorism. Maybe the experts need these things for their files, I am not sure. The prejudice and bigotry is all created from ignorance and bottom dwelling stupidity so how much background detail do we need?

    The person who will win the prize is the one that can separate all the simply ignorant from the ones who pick up the guns and go out and kill. So far they show no sign of accomplishing this. It is like separating the insane from the normal. We don’t do that either and that brings us back to one issue – gun control. Nobody does it like America so we win the awards every time. This is the region of ignorance I would rather talk about and do something about and to hell with all the detail about nuts verses insane and bigots verses not.

    I could probably live with a batch of Trump loving ignorant people and I do. After all, I live in Kansas. But knowing they are all packing guns or have a closet full of AR-15s, that is another story. By the way, there is a two part show on Frontline (PBS) tonight and tomorrow at 8 am. The subject is Face book. I must tape it because it’s the same time as Rachel’s show.

    • That’s a good point about the guns. I often wonder if I’d be too scared to speak out the way I do if I lived somewhere like rural Alabama where everyone is a Trump-loving Christian and carrying a gun.

      There’s a good reason the sort of scenarios like this latest lot of murders rarely happen in the rest of the world, and that’s because of how guns are viewed. A big proportion of NZers have guns. You can even get a licence when you’re as young as 16, but the Police issue all licences so that’s pretty rare. Almost no one has a hand gun and they’re almost impossible to buy. Further, only the military has auto and semi-auto weapons. Guns are viewed as being for hunting – ducks, pigs, deer mainly. Lots of people in the US have the idea they need them for protection, though the statistics don’t support that idea. So they get them for that and end up killing themselves or a family member (purposely or accidentally).

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Yes, that’s a good one. Back when they actually hunted with guns. I saw a guy in the grocery store the other day packing a gun. Had the holster and everything. Maybe he was going to shoot a 1/2 gallon of milk?

        They say the guy that killed all the people in church had more than 20 guns. When he went into the church he had one AR-15 assault rifle and 3 hand guns. They also said he used all of them.

        • In most countries, a guy with his history wouldn’t get a gun licence. Unfortunately, the 2006 SCOTUS decision has opened things up there. It’s my understanding that fewer people actually own guns these days, but those that have them tend to have a lot. They seem to have the mentality that they need to protect their lifestyle from the government. I’m not sure the government would care about their lifestyle as long as they DIDN’T have guns.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Truth be told, there is really no way to know how many guns are out there in the U.S. It is true that a certain portion own lots of guns while there are many who have none. If you think about how urban the population is, there should be very few guns there, in the cities, but I am afraid there are tons of them there. Especially the hand guns and those are the worst, doing the most killing.

            I got rid of 7 or 8 guns at least after my dad died a couple of years ago. They were mostly hunting type guns and I had no need for any of them. Only people involved in hunting are even interested in those type weapons. That has always been my point. Guns for hunting are not what the killers are using 99 percent of the time. The guy that went into that church did not have one hunting gun there, it was all guns to kill people. So the next question should be, why do we need or want those guns? Just because there is a second amendment, that is ridiculous. The second amendment is simply something that has been hijacked to allow the manufacturers to get rich while killing lots of people.

          • I can only endorse this comment!

  3. Mark R. says:

    Trump’s going to visit Pittsburgh, but the religious leaders told him not to come unless he denounces White Nationalism. Of course, he denied it all when asked by reporters. It’s a true sign of American politics when an entire group of people wants nothing to do with their President. Anyone paying attention knows Trump has done nothing to mitigate the divisions of this country; indeed he his strategy is to make the divisions starker. America is becoming more and more unhinged with every passing day. Hopefully in a week, we can start putting breaks on this train wreck.

    And I agree with Randall that getting rid of the guns is the best way to make sure the loons don’t get them.

    • The post I started before this one that didn’t make it to the site (though it still might) is called, ‘President Trump Fails The Leadership Test’. It was inspired by his reaction to the Florida bomber, but, of course, there are plenty of other things that can be included in a post like that.

      I also think the way he is leading the country is egging on those on the fringe (both left and right) to react violently. The majority who are capable of controlling themselves remain in control, but those who are susceptible are encouraged by rhetoric like his from a leader. Imo, he has a lot to answer for in this and the Florida bomber case. He’s not responsible, but he is in a position where his behaviour makes a difference.

      • Mark R. says:

        It’s also noteworthy that Trump missed a HUGE opportunity here (and I’m glad he did). This kind of tragic terrorism (the bombs and shooting) is an opportunity for a President to show leadership (I think this is what you may have been referring to). To be cynical, these kinds of tragedies are almost a “gift” to a normal sitting President, one who has normal feelings of empathy. And right before the midterms he couldn’t try and bring the country together. Instead, he makes a dispassionate teleprompter speech. He could have went crazy denouncing the violence and separating himself from the bomber and his views or the shooter as a hateful anti-Semite. He could have cancelled his rallies to show support and concern. Instead, he acts like Trump, and instead of gaining independents or disgruntled republicans (which I’m sure he could have done if able), he’s just turned them off further.

        • That was indeed an aspect of the post. As you say, any previous president would have been able to use his empathy to bring the country together and start healing the divisions following recent events. The other terrible event that could have been far worse was the guy who wanted to shoot up a predominantly Black church the other day, but had to “settle” for murdering a couple of people in a supermarket instead.

          I hear commentators going on about Free Will, and so Trump isn’t responsible. At the same time many ifof them recognize that he’s created a climate that makes these things more likely, so they instinctively recognize the reality of determinism even if they don’t know about it.

  4. Jenny Haniver says:

    During just these past few days, I heard two radio programs that were apropos to these abominable events. Not long before the massacre, Michael Krasny interviewed the philosopher Jason Stanley on his new book, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101867902/philosopher-jason-stanley-on-how-fascism-works. Stanley does not equate Trumpism with fascism, he makes clear distinctions but he discusses the congruences and the authoritarian mentality in light of what’s happening today. Monday (today in the States, as I write this), Terry Gross replayed parts of an interview she’d done with Derek Black, “a young man who was once a leading voice in the white nationalist movement but has since denounced his views ” along with an interview with Eli Saslow, a journalist who has written about Black https://www.npr.org/2018/10/28/661633763/eli-saslow-traces-a-straight-line-from-white-nationalism-to-the-synagogue-shoote. The things Black and Saslow address are specifically pertinent to decoding the motive and meaning of the massacre at the synagogue — the ‘invasion the migrant hordes’ was right out of the white “nationalist” playbook and the term “nationalist” is explained in the context and history of those who describe themselves as such; and how Trump plays all this quite nicely, despite the seeming chaos (or, rather, the chaos he causes thereby).

    • Those interviews sound really interesting. I hope I can find the time to check out the links.

      Btw, your comments get caught up in the spam filter every time there’s more than one link. If you don’t want to wait for me to notice that’s happened and release them, you could spread the links into separate comments.

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        Thanks for the info. Usually, when there’s more than one link, the post appears but there’s a notice “awaiting moderation.” That didn’t happen this time — nothing happened, and since the name and email template on your site no longer saves my info and I have to enter it afresh each time I want to post a comment, and you informed me that the problem is on my end, I thought this must be related to that or perhaps I’d been banned from your site and didn’t know it. With that in mind, I went to another computer to post an inquiry, only to find my comment posted and your explanation, which I greatly appreciate. I still must figure out why my screen name and email address are no longer permanent on your site because I have no trouble with WEIT.

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        This is so strange. I just posted a reply to your response and I don’t see it. No links and it was brief. I’ll send this and see what happens.

        • I think that the WordPress issue where names aren’t saved (which has happened to many sites) has caused you to be put on a watchlist because of the comment with links, especially as you tried to post the same one three times. That’s something that spammers do. You may be okay now because I’ve approved theses two comments. Fingers crossed! (‘Cause that makes a difference! 😀 )

  5. nicky says:

    “…a white nationalist community, and he saw the distinction between white nationalism and white supremacy as being one that he didn’t want anything bad for anyone else — he just wanted everybody to be forcibly put in different spaces, and that that was not about superiority, it was just about the well-being of everybody. ”
    That sounds suspiciously like Mr Verwoerd, nearly the definition of ‘Apartheid’, and we all know how that worked…

    • That’s an old canard of racists – they insist it’s just about the best for everybody. It’s the same with religious folks too only wanting people of their own religion in their country, or having a national religion, which these days is mostly Muslim countries, but most have done it in the past.

      On principle, I disapprove of Israel. However, because of the centuries of historic and ongoing virulent anti-Semitism, and a few other issues, I’m prepared to put my usual objections aside in their case.

  6. nicky says:

    Slightly off topic, if you allow me, in Brazil they have just elected a “Mr Trump” on steroids.
    I’m not so sure where he stands on anti-semitism (Just as we don’t really know the stance of Mr Trump), but I’m quite suspicious.
    He has called for the execution of his opponents, makes regularly racist and misogynistic remarks and wants criminals executed rather than face trial (cf Mr Duterte?). He calls the indigenous population ‘parasites’.
    Now I do not think Mr Trump is a nazi, but Mr Bolsonaro comes much closer.
    The greatest threat he poses to the world is that he wants to ‘privatise’ the Amazon (cut the rainforest down, in other words). The Amazon is about the world’s largest carbon sink (IIRC, it sinks about 13% of the world’s CO2). Grubbing it up will have disastrous consequences for climate change, not to mention the irreversible biodiversity disaster it would cause.
    Scary times.

  7. Curtis says:

    Unfortunately, anti-semitism is present on both the left and right extremes. This articles talks about the anti-semites at the US women’s march.
    https://nypost.com/2018/11/04/dont-join-this-years-womens-march-unless-youre-good-with-anti-semitism/

    • There’s no doubt there’s anti-Semitism on the left too, especially at universities where the pro-Palestine movement is strong. I’ve commented extensively in other fora about my disappointment in the Women’s March leaders fawning all over Louis Farakhan. However, this post is about the anti-Semitism supported by Trump, not all anti-Semitism. If it was about all anti-Semitism, it would have included the problems on the left too.

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