White supremacists have been taking to social media to antagonize political journalists, who dare make a statement that negatively frames presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. On top of this, and more troubling, there has been little push-back from the Trump campaign to condone this type of hatred. Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, writes:
The anti-Semitic hate, much of it from self-identified Donald J. Trump supporters, hasn’t stopped since. Trump God Emperor sent me the Nazi iconography of the shiftless, hooknosed Jew. I was served an image of the gates of Auschwitz, the famous words “Arbeit Macht Frei” replaced without irony with “Machen Amerika Great.” Holocaust taunts, like a path of dollar bills leading into an oven, were followed by Holocaust denial. The Jew as leftist puppet master from @DonaldTrumpLA was joined by the Jew as conservative fifth columnist, orchestrating war for Israel. That one came from someone who tagged himself a proud future member of the Trump Deportation Squad.
Just weeks later, I found myself staring down a social-media timeline filled with the raw hate and anti-Semitic tropes that for centuries fueled expulsion, persecution, pogroms and finally genocide.
“I found the Menorah you were looking for,” one correspondent offered with a Trump-triumphant backdrop on his Twitter profile; it was a candelabrum made of the number six million. Old Grand Dad cheerfully offered up a patriotic image of Donald Trump in colonial garb holding up the Liberty Bell and fighting “against the foreign hordes,” with caricatures of the Jew, the American Indian, the Mexican, the Chinese and the Irish cowering at his feet.
I am not the first Jewish journalist to experience the onslaught. Julia Ioffe was served up on social media in concentration camp garb and worse after Trump supporters took umbrage with her profile of Melania Trump in GQ magazine. The would-be first lady later told an interviewer that Ms. Ioffe had provoked it. The anti-Semitic hate hurled at the conservative commentator Bethany Mandel prompted her to buy a gun.
Beyond journalism, stories of Muslims assaulted by Trump supporters are piling up. Hispanic immigrants are lining up for citizenship, eager to vote. Groups that have been maligned over centuries at different times in different regions now share a common tormentor, the alt-right, a militant agglomeration of white nationalists, racists, anti-Semites and America Firsters that have been waging war on the Republican establishment for some time. Their goals: Close the borders, deport illegal immigrants, pull out of international entanglements and pull up the drawbridge.
I retweeted the choicest attacks for all to see, and with each retweet, more attacks followed, their authors gleefully seeking the exposure. Some people criticized me for offering it, but I argued, perhaps wrongly, that such hate needed airing, that Americans needed to see the darkest currents in the politics of exclusion animating the presidential election.
An official at Twitter encouraged me to block the anti-Semites and report them to Twitter, but I have chosen to preserve my Twitter timeline as a research tool of sorts, a database of hate, and a shrine to 2016. The only response I blocked and forwarded to Twitter was a photo of my disembodied head held aloft, long Orthodox hair locks called payot photoshopped on my sideburns and a skullcap placed as a crown. I let stand the image of a smiling Mr. Trump in Nazi uniform flicking the switch on a gas chamber containing my Photoshopped face.
“Thanks to @jonathanweisman for redpilling at least 1.5k normies today by retweeting premium content. Epitome of useful idiot,” responded one tormentor whose Twitter handle is too vulgar to repeat, even if I wanted to. Maybe he was right.
And still, we have heard nothing from Mr. Trump, no denunciation, no broad renouncing of racist, anti-Semitic support, no expressions of sympathy for its victims. The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday released what can only be described as equivocation as an art form: “We abhor any abuse of journalists, commentators and writers, whether it be from Sanders, Clinton or Trump supporters. There is no room for any of this in any campaign.”
Sheldon Adelson, perhaps the most prolific Jewish donor to Republican causes, has not only endorsed Mr. Trump but is also encouraging Jews to rally round him.
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