A Jewish Graveyard in Grand Rapids, Michigan Was Defaced With Trump Spray Paint

Donald Trump has always said that he is a great friend to people of Jewish faith. How could he be anti-Semitic, Trump argues, his son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish and his daughter Ivanka converted when she married him.

But the president has also been slow to condemn his supporters who have anti-Semitic beliefs. After white supremacists marched in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us,” Trump famously referred to them as “very fine people.”

And now, it seems that some of Trump’s supporters associate his name with anti-Semitism and racism. A Jewish cemetery was recently defaced with vandals spray painting the name Trump on headstones.

Notably the incident took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trump will be holding the final rally on his campaign in Grand Rapids.

The vandalism was first reported by the Anti-Defamation League of Michigan, who tweeted, “We are appalled by the reported desecration of gravestones at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI. We are in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism.”

We are appalled by the reported desecration of gravestones at the Ahavas Israel Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI. We are in close touch with the Jewish community and Law Enforcement to investigate this vandalism. pic.twitter.com/mVeGrlsWxE read more

Republican Senator Pulls Ad Showing Jewish Democrat with Exaggerated Nose

A  Republican senator has deleted a Facebook ad depicting his Democratic opponent with a large, digitally manipulated nose. The campaign claims it was an error.

Georgia Senator David Perdue’s campaign has pulled the ad, which showed Democrat Jon Ossoff with House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish.

According to graphic design experts who spoke to Forward, Ossoff’s nose had been lengthened and widened digitally. The ad also contained language that could construed as anti-Semitic: “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia!”

The Perdue campaign said the ad was the product of an external vendor and they defended the senator’s record.

Sitting U.S. Senator David Perdue's digital attack ad distorted my face to enlarge and extend my nose.

I'm Jewish.

This is the oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history.

Senator, literally no one believes your excuses.https://t.co/PiA7P4O4M2 read more

Understanding Trump’s Support for Israel as Part of his Racist, Anti-Semitic Agenda

President Trump, we should know by now, is the master of distraction, making it hard for the news cycle to keep up with his endless string of controversy-inspiring tweets and incendiary behaviors.  As the media gets caught up in dissecting the language and meaning of one text, he is on to something else.

It is important, though, that we preserve a memory of the catalog of hate and horrors that have occurred under and, really, been inspired by Trump’s divisive and deadly leadership so the record is clear and, more importantly, so we can comprehend and challenge the social, particularly racial, dynamics he is engineering.

As I wrote about recently in  PoliticusUsa, our conversation, particularly in the media, tends to get bogged down in argument over whether or not Trump is racist instead of describing, explaining, and understanding how racism is working—and how Trump promotes its working—in U.S. society to the detriment of the majority of Americans.

Preserving this memory is particularly important in the context of Trump’s urging of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib be barred from entering Israel as part of a congressional delegation on grounds that they are anti-Semitic.

Certainly, both have criticized Israel’s treatment of and policies toward the Palestinian people, as are many Israelis as well as Jewish people around the globe.  A critique of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitic, nor is a call for the humane treatment and even sovereignty of the Palestinian people.

And what do we make of Trump’s implicit endorsements of anti-Semitism and the general promotion of hate, often resulting in deadly violence, his peculiar brand of leadership has inspired?

Trump has been an ardent of supporter of Israel, and yet arguably a purveyor of anti-Semitism.

How do we understand what we might call this anti-Semitic brand of Zionism?

It is worth teasing out a bit the relationship between anti-Semitism and support for Zionism.

They are really not strange bedfellows at all.

Consider that the Ku Klux Klan supported the efforts of the Black activist Marcus Garvey from the 1910s and 1920s who started the Universal Negro Improvement Association and advocated for a Back to Africa movement.

Why would the KKK support a Black activist? Well, think about it, Garvey wanted Blacks to live away from whites. The call for Black sovereignty and separation, which Garvey viewed as freedom from white racism, dove-tailed nicely with the KKK’s own desire for segregation.

So, along the same lines, we can see that supporting a homeland for Jews is not inconsistent with anti-Semitism.

More to the point, however, it is crucial to understand the relationship between the theology of evangelical Christians, upon whose support Trump depends, and Zionism.

Evangelical Christians have long supported Zionism not because they have affection for Judaism and its adherents but because of their powerful belief in biblical prophecy that declares the Messiah’s second coming will and must be preceded by God’s gathering and resettling of the Jewish people in a homeland. For decades, support for Israel has been a key component of political platform of the evangelical right, as is evident in the words of prominent spokespeople such as Pat Robertson.  The Christian narrative of the Messiah’s return cannot be fulfilled without the existence of Israel.

Understanding these dynamics is important in light of Trump’s positioning himself, in his support for Israel, as the crusader against anti-Semitism, and Tlaib and Omar as anti-Semites because of their critique of Israel and expressions of support for Palestinians.

Here is where it’s important we sustain a memory of Trump’s presidency thus far.

Let’s start here:  Jews will not replace us.

We must always remember the episode in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia that witnessed white torch-carrying marchers vociferously chanting those words at a white supremacist Unite the Right rally.

It is also worth remembering President Donald Trump’s statement that among those marchers were some “very fine people,” as he refused to condemn their anti-Semitism and white supremacism overall.

Also worth remembering is Robert Bower’s October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a hate crime that took the lives of 11 Jewish worshippers.   Before this relentless and inhuman 20-minute attack on those worshipping in the synagogue, Bowers had authored a social media post ranting against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for bringing in “invaders in that kill our people.”

Amidst the constant eruptions of new tweets from Trump and new behaviors from him and his administration, setting off renewed and repetitive discussions in the media about whether or not Trump is racist, there is risk this long line of events will recede from our memory.

Indeed, the killer in the recent mass shooting in El Paso, motivated by anti-immigrant hate, very much echoed the language of Bowers in his use of the rhetoric of “invasion” to characterize immigrants entering the United States.  Obviously, this rhetoric also very much echoes that Trump has employed since the inception of his 2016 campaign for president, which, it is now widely understood, has cultivated a fertile ground not just for overtly racist rhetoric and policy, but for overtly racist deadly violence.  While the rhetoric of El Paso shooter has been understood as influenced by Trump’s, I have not seen the connection made to Bower’s.

As we chart this pattern and put the pieces of Trump’s tweets and behaviors together, it becomes clear that Trump’s support for Israel is part and parcel of, and absolutely consistent with, his larger nativist platform manifested in his anti-immigrant policies, his overt racism as seen in his attacks on inner cities, and his calls for those he labels “others,” such as Omar and Tlaib, to go back to where they came from.

Jews will not replace us, a chant Trump refused to condemn, is consistent with chants of Immigrants will not replace us, People of color will not replace us, and so on down the line.

Let’s not forget this brief history of Trump’s racism amidst his constant distractions.


Opinion: Poway Shooting Proves That Trump Has To Go

This was going to be a column on what looks to me like softening Republican support for Donald Trump. Instead it’s going to be about an aspect of one of the reasons Trump should be impeached.  I will write that other column, but not today.

Trump stokes hatred toward most Americans.  He has transformed hate crimes to domestic acts of terrorism and therefore is derelict in his duties.  That is impeachable.

Many of us, me included, have focused on the Trump campaign’s willingness to take help from a hostile foreign power to cheat its way to the White House. This past week, there was reporting that former Secretary of Homeland security was ordered not to mention Russia’s cyber-attack on our democracy because that reality would hurt Donald Trump’s fragile ego.

And if we’re going to talk about snowflakes, let’s talk about the privileged white male in the White House who equates constructive criticism, questions or simple difference of opinion with hate of him. For the record, I don’t hate you, as a human being. I hate the ideas you defend. There is a volume of difference between hating the act and hating the person, as I’m certain any preacher of any religion will explain to you.

No, Mr. Trump hate is when you grab your gun, go to a place of worship and kill people in prayer. Hate is when you weaponize a car to strike silent a women because she had the courage to condemn the ideas that caused a World War. Hate is what makes it possible to back a serial adulterer while telling the monagomous gay man to repent. Hate is what makes it possible to throw rolls of paper towels at survivors of natural disaster in one part of the country, while assuring survivors of natural disaster in a maga part of the country they’ll get all the help and support they need.

You are the personification of hate and you have used it as a weapon against Americans, with help from the one person you consistently praise: Vladimir Putin.

The fact that, finally, after the many hate crimes inspired by your rhetoric, even you recognize that the Poway Synagogue shooting was a hate crime, doesn’t absolve you from the role you had in making that crime possible.

Guess what. I don’t give a damn if Trump’s ego is too fragile to handle the deadly reality that his presidency is pandering to white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.

Mr. Trump, you whine about how people are out to get you! Bullsh*t! Jews know what living under siege is really like because we are the first to be scapegoated by demagogues like you.  We’re the targets in 50% of all the hate crimes inspired by the ideas you defend.

The Palestinian people who are treated by Israel’s Netanyahu similarly to the way you treat: Americans who are black, brown, Muslim, opponents of hate, members of the free press, Democrats, women who think and don’t need to make themselves look Aryan to feel good about themselves and pretty much anyone who disagrees with you.

Mr. Trump, you chose to use the presidency to defend, to DEFEND, the ideas people that make mass shootings at Synagogues more frequent. This is the second one this year!  Hate crimes have soared since you started your moronic maga campaign and Jews were the targets in 50% of those hate crimes. And no, it’s not going to be normalized! Not while I’m breathing!

No, the answer is NOT more guns! It is re-funding the organizations that monitor hate, and who help people who hate return to sanity. It’s about recognizing that a president who promotes hatred is a threat to our national security – and especially a threat to innocents who are routinely targeted by those “very fine people” Mr. Trump actively, passionately, and frequently defends.

This is why 2020 is a national identity election. Those who celebrate the latest mass shooting at a Synagogue will undoubtedly vote for Mr. Trump. Most of us will be looking for someone who embraces the idea that a president must be president to everyone in America.

Muslims Raise Thousands for Jewish Shooting Victims

Nearly $50,000 has been raised through a Muslim crowdfunding site for the victims of the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. The site was started by two Muslim nonprofit organizations.

The fundraising campaign was launched on the site LaunchGood, which is a crowdfunding site specifically designed for Muslims. It reached its initial goal of $25,000 in less than six hours, and is now working to raise its new goal of $50,000.

“The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones,” the website description reads. “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”

The fundraiser was started by two Muslim-American nonprofit groups, Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change. They say they are working in partnership with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh who will assist them in distributing the money to the victims and their families.

The website language also makes direct reference to the 11 people who were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday. According to the Anti-Defamation League, this was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in United States history. The suspected gunman has been charged on 29 federal counts.

The funds will go to help families of victims pay for funeral expenses and medical bills, according to the LaunchGood page.

“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America,” the page reads. “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”

This is a good move for the Muslim community. There is no question that the current political environment, thanks to Donald Trump,

fosters a “toxic environment” for violence. read more

How Donald Trump Has ‘Fostered the Toxic Environment’ For Violence

Our nation is on edge, and according to The Washington Post, this may be because President Donald Trump has “fostered the toxic environment.”

While every American yearns for a president who will calmly provide leadership and promote unity, we have a president who instead stokes fear and incites violence through his hateful rhetoric.

Over the past week we have had:

  1. The killing of two African Americans in a grocery store near Louisville, Kentucky,
  2. The mailing of pipe bombs by a Trump supporter who was targeting a dozen high-profile Democrats and Trump critics, and
  3. A mass murder that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh Jewish synagogue.

And what has the president done?

He has continued to attempt to use fear of a Central American caravan of refugees as a wedge issue to help Republicans in next week’s midterm elections.

In other words, at a time when the nation needs to be brought together he is continuing to try to tear us apart for his own political gain.

Of course Trump has mouthed the right words, denouncing the attacks. But after reading words from a teleprompter he then goes to hold more rallies where he inflames the white supremacist passions of his unhinged supporters.

According to The Post:

“The president and the GOP, in a cynical pursuit of political power, have gone beyond partisan political combat into outright demagoguery against racial minorities, foreigners and prominent Jewish political figures.”

The article mentions that Jewish Democratic donor George Soros, has become a major focus of Republican attack ads ahead of the midterms. Even after a bomb was found in Soros’ mailbox last week, and even after the horrific massacre in Pittsburgh yesterday, right-wing commentators, as well as Trump, have continued their anti-Semitic attacks.

For example, with no evidence, Trump and many right-wing media personalities have accused Soros of paying for protesters at his rallies and

paying for the Central Americans in the caravan read more

Anti-Semitic Violence Soars to Highest Level in Decades

In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased nearly 60% a report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) showed earlier this year.

“In its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, @ADL_National found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose 57% in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data”

In its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, @ADL_National found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose 57% in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data https://t.co/WegNxSB6A1 read more

Another Anti-Semitic Holocaust-Denying Republican Is Running for Congress

For some reason political candidates who deny the Holocaust ever took place are finding a home in the Republican Party. The latest is John Fitzgerald who, by finishing second in a California primary, has made his way onto the November ballot as a Republican candidate for Congress in the state’s 11th congressional district.

Fitzgerald is openly running as a Holocaust denier, and in an interview with The New York Times called it a “complete fabrication.”

In November Fitzgerald will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier in the district near San Francisco which is solidly Democratic.

Even though Fitzgerald appears to have little chance to win, it is disturbing that someone with his extreme views has once again won a Republican primary for Congress.

In February we reported on Arthur Jones, a retired insurance agent in Illinois, who won the GOP nomination for Congress in his district. We described Jones as “a Holocaust denier, anti-Semite, white supremacist and former American Nazi Party leader.” Jones called the Holocaust “an international extortion racket.”

What we said about Jones at the time could also apply to Fitzgerald:

“By espousing the thoughts he has about the Holocaust, Jones demonstrates poor judgement on a level that must preclude him from getting anywhere near making the most basic decisions that affect people’s lives.

As important as judgement is, or in Jones’ case, the obvious lack of it, denying the Holocaust illustrates that the man lacks a moral compass, on the level of someone like Donald Trump.”

On his campaign website  Fitzgerald tells people to be aware of “Jewish supremacism.” Last week on a radio show hosted by an anti-Semitic host he said that “everything we’ve been told about the Holocaust is a lie,” according to The Times.

He also told The Times that the Holocaust was a “complete fabrication” and he said that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks were actually committed by the Israeli government in an attempt to influence U.S. policy toward Israel.

Just last week Fitzgerald posted on his website a new article entitled: Why Are Powerful Jews Pushing Mass-Immigration And Forced-Multiculturalism Throughout The U.S. And Europe?

Clearly the man is an extremist, yet by representing the Republican Party on the November ballot he has at least an outside chance of being elected to Congress.

According to The Times article Fitzgerald said that because he has “friends that are Jewish” he should not be considered anti-Semitic.

“I have no issue with any people. I have issues with people who lie. It’s the elitists who control it all,” Fitzgerald was quoted as saying.

Because he finished second in the primary and was running as a Republican, the California Republican Party automatically endorsed Fitzgerald in the race.  After learning about his anti-Semitic views, however, they are no longer supporting him.

“As always, California Republicans reject anti-Semitism, and all forms of religious bigotry, in the harshest terms possible,” party chairman Jim Brulte said in a statement. “We reject John Fitzgerald’s campaign and encourage all voters to do the same.”

Fitzgerald told The Times that both political parties are controlled by “Jewish elitists” so he didn’t expect to get support from the party establishment.

Last month the GOP in California also denounced Republican Senate candidate Patrick Little because he also denied that the Holocaust ever took place while calling for a U.S. “free from Jews.”

Last year we reported that

the Anne Frank Center had called upon White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to be fired read more