US President Donald Trump added to his repertoire of racist comments this week, by making his latest, most openly anti-Semitic remark yet.
“Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat – I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” he said.
He later clarified that this “disloyalty” he claimed US Jews are guilty of is towards Israel. But it is hard to escape the feeling that Trump was actually accusing American Jews of being disloyal to the US – and to him.
Either way, his comments were disgustingly anti-Semitic.
Unlike British Jews, a substantial majority of whom vote Tory, American Jews overwhelmingly vote for the Democrats. A whopping 79 per cent of American Jewish voters opted for the Democrats in last year’s mid-term elections.
So it seems likely that Trump intended his comment as a form of revenge against the American Jewish community for voting against him.
Trump’s comments were not merely “shockingly divisive” or “reckless” as the mealy mouthed commentary of Israel lobby groups on both sides of the Atlantic put it. (Some of these groups, including the Republican Jewish Committee, openly supported the racist comment.)
His comment was anti-Semitic – potentially deadly in its effect. Trump smearing Jews as “disloyal” is likely to incite further violence against the community by white supremacists, in the mould of the deadly anti-Semitic attacks in Pittsburgh and Poway, California.
For all the guff on both sides of the Atlantic about “left-wing anti-Semitism,” hatred and racism targeting Jews remains a right-wing phenomenon.
The killers of Jews today are the supporters of Trump and of the far right.
Despite the confected Labour anti-Semitism “crisis” in the UK, there remains no evidence that the Labour Party or the left more widely has any more of a problem with anti-Semitism than the general population. The polling in fact shows that anti-Semitism within Labour is far lower than in other parties.
The very same Israel lobby groups which falsely smear US lawmakers Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as well as UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, as anti-Semitic, have offered at best very muted criticism of Trump’s openly anti-Semitic comment.
Even the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews only called Trump “reckless” and did not accuse him of anti-Semitism. The same woman, Marie van der Zyl, only in July called Corbyn “personally responsible for having turned a once great, anti-racist party into a cesspit of anti-Semitism” (based on a totally spurious and discredited BBC documentary).
This shows the priorities of the Board of Deputies and other Israel lobby groups – defending Israel.
For the Israel lobby, pro-Israel politicians like Trump get a pass for their anti-Semitism. But supporters of Palestinian rights like Jeremy Corbyn get defamed and smeared with false and confected allegations of anti-Semitism as a political weapon.
But unfortunately for the lobby, as one of their own ranks admitted in undercover footage revealed last year, “anti-Semitism as a smear is not what is used to be.” More and more people are waking up to the fact that the Israel lobby habitually uses fabricated allegations of anti-Semitism against its enemies.
Trump’s comments, though alarming and disgusting, have a long, dishonourable vintage.
The idea behind them is that liberal or left-wing Jews are “disloyal” to the state, while Jews that support Zionism, the foundational and ruling ideology of Israel, are “loyal” Jews that “we” can trust. The implicit idea here, is that British or American Jews are not “really” British or American, and should instead “go back” to “Israel”.
This is pure racism.
This openly fascist ideology is one which even the Nazi party embraced in the 1930s.
This racist myth was also endorsed by none other than arch British imperialists Arthur Balfour and Winston Churchill.
Balfour, whose eponymous declaration infamously gave away Palestine to European settler-colonists, displacing the indigenous Palestinians in its wake, was a racist against Jews, as well as against Arabs.
He described the immigration of East European Jews to Britain as causing “undoubted evils”.
Even more starkly, Churchill wrote in 1920 that “international Jews” were responsible for “a worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization.” This viciously anti-Semitic myth would later be echoed by the Nazis, who spread the same calumny. In words that could have been used by Hitler himself, Churchill accused these Jews of being adherents of a “sinister confederacy”.
Churchill, who was a supporter of Zionism, praised Zionist Jews as “national” and “loyal” Jews who Britain could work with to promote the interests of its empire. He contrasted them to his imaginary “international Jews” – portrayed as subversives, Bolsheviks, Marxists and other assorted troublemakers.
The outright support for, or failure to condemn as anti-Semitic, Trump’s comments by the Israel lobby this week is just the latest sign that Zionism is racism.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.