Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg has cut right through Trump’s cynical manipulation of antisemitism to target his opponents. And she insists that most Jewish-Americans “cannot stand Trump”.
This comes amid Trump’s recent attempts to smear vocal opponents (like congresswoman Ilhan Omar) as antisemites and ask them to ‘apologise to Israel’ for proudly opposing the occupation of Palestine.
Trump’s cynical ‘weaponisation’ of antisemitism
After Trump’s attacks on progressive congresswomen last week, Ruttenberg tweeted that she was ‘praying for their safety’. And she soon called out Trump’s ‘weaponisation’ of antisemitism allegations:
She went on to remind people that Trump has exploited antisemitic tropes himself:
Trump has long enabled conspiracy theories about George Soros (a Jewish immigrant born in Hungary). He suggested, for example, that Soros was funding the refugee ‘caravan‘ of people fleeing to the US in 2018. There was no proof for this claim. This was the kind of antisemitic conspiracy theory that led one far-right fanatic to murder 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue and may have caused one Trump supporter to send a mail-bomb to Soros just days before that. Soros is the high-profile subject of numerous far-right conspiracy theories around the world. Advisers to right-wing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly played a key role in sending these theories “into overdrive”.
Ruttenberg continued with more examples:
And she suggested that Trump – as the person “commanding furious, chanting crowds inciting violence” – had no moral authority on the issue of racism:
She had previously stressed that antisemitism is essentially “the fine print of white supremacy”:
Trump is pandering not to Jewish-Americans, but to “his Evangelical base”
Ruttenberg believes that Trump isn’t weaponising antisemitism allegations to impress Jewish people, but to rally to what she calls “his Evangelical base”:
Trump has controversially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. He’s moved the US embassy there, amid international outrage. He has also called for official recognition of Israel’s authority over stolen Syrian land. And he has formed a close relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu; the man who oversaw Israel’s war crimes during its 2014 attack on Gaza (which reportedly killed at least 1,483 Palestinian civilians).
Ruttenberg had previously stressed that, in this context, it’s the evangelical right which is really driving Trump’s shamelessly pro-Israel agenda:
And as she pointed out:
American Jews, by and large, cannot stand Trump.
Indeed, in one recent poll, 71% of Jewish respondees disapproved of Trump. In another poll, 70% viewed Trump “unfavorably”. And 73% thought Jewish-Americans were “less secure than they were two years ago”; while around 60% blamed Trump (at least in part) for recent antisemitic massacres.
Jewish Democratic Council of America executive director Halie Soifer echoed this sentiment at CNN:
Many Jewish Americans reject the President’s transparent attempt to divert the country’s attention from his own moral failings, just as we reject his attempts to politicize Israel and the rise of anti-Semitism. … Jews have experienced the devastating consequences of hatred and intolerance throughout history and do not want to be used as political pawns in Trump’s Twitter feed.
White supremacy and the status quo
To shout down progressive voices, Trump cynically uses the Jewish people as a political football – all while emboldening the very far-right extremists behind rising antisemitic murders. As Ruttenberg makes very clear, Trump is no ally to the Jewish people. Instead, stopping Trump and his fascist allies is key to defeating antisemitism and all forms of toxic racism.
Featured image via screenshot