Donald Trump, not for the first time, decided to dabble in antisemitic tropes over the weekend while delivering a speech to the Israeli American Council advocacy group in Florida.
The President began by acknowledging the profession of many assembled and throwing in his favoured “Pocahontas” slur in reference to Elizabeth Warren for good measure:
A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You're brutal killers. Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me. You have no choice. You're not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that.
Having warmed up his audience by telling them they’re “not nice people at all”, Trump added:
You're not going to vote for the wealth tax. ’Yeah, let's take 100 percent of your wealth away.’
The implication that Jews wouldn’t possibly vote for Warren’s wealth tax reinforces centuries old stereotypes relating to Jews and money. Remarkably, the president wasn’t finished yet and even went on to claim Jewish Americans do not “love Israel enough”, invoking a dual loyalty trope generally viewed as antisemitic.
The President of the United States is incapable of addressing Jewish audiences without dipping into the deep well o… https://t.co/cQQJVI3rfs
The idea that Jewish Americans are as loyal to Israel as their own country is an antisemitic trope Trump seems particularly keen on. In August of this year he claimed:
In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel.
In 2017, of course, there was the Charlottesville Rally that involved, amongst other horrors, neo-Nazis and Klansman chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. How did Trump respond to this clash between literal Nazis and those protesting against them? Naturally he condemned the “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides”.
In a 1991 book, John O'Donnell, the former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, said Trump told him: “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day” and later confirmed in an interview with Playboy (which he no doubt reads for the articles) that what was written was “probably true”.
In 2015, he told a room of Republican Jews: "I'm a negotiator, like you folks". When all these comments are collected, it feels like the president seems to think that Jews are obsessed with money.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Trump is a classic American antisemite, in that he truly believes antise… https://t.co/1XpL7ftR64
— David 2022-RELATED PUN Walsh (@David 2022-RELATED PUN Walsh)
Perhaps the most troubling of the myriad ways in which Trump has engaged in antisemitism over the years relates to conspiracy theories. In the closing stages of his 2016 campaign, he unveiled an ad featuring three prominent Jews, Janet Yellen, Lloyd Blankfein and George Soros, accompanied by narration saying “those who control the levers of power in Washington” who “partner with these people who don't have your good in mind”. Linking Hillary Clinton to a global Jewish conspiracy is undoubtedly sinister and speaks for itself.
Trump’s latest comments about Jews are nothing new, but they must be called out on each and every occasion. As with most of the president's rhetoric, we can't allow this stuff to be normalised.