This week, Donald Trump echoed a far-right trope which the Nazis used in the 1930s and 40s. It wasn’t the first time he’d done it, either.
British journalist Mehdi Hasan, however, made a clear and important assessment in response. And it’s one that you’ll rarely hear in the mainstream UK media.
he’s basically referred to American Jews as secret Israelis with dual loyalties to their prime minister abroad. This is the third time he’s done it as president…
I just think we need to deal with this very dangerous idea that says, ‘being pro-Jewish means you have to be pro-Israeli, or being pro-Israeli means you’re automatically pro-Jewish and you’re immunized from the charge of antisemitsm’. Lots of antisemites support Israel and [its current prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu. It doesn’t mean anything.
"We need to deal with this very dangerous idea that says being pro-Jewish means you have to be pro-Israeli or being pro-Israeli means you're automatically pro-Jewish & you're immunized from the charge of anti-Semitsm. Lots of anti-Semites support Israel & Netanyahu." -me on @CNN: pic.twitter.com/I9vJCwS8gB
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) August 22, 2019
The far right has long had a love affair with Israel – that doesn’t mean they aren’t fascists
As +972 Magazine highlighted, Israel has both a historical and recent record of supporting far-right governments around the world while receiving their support in return. It supported apartheid South Africa, Cold War dictatorships in Chile and Argentina, and the genocidal regime in Rwanda. And today, it’s moving more and more to the right, becoming bolder in its discrimination as it does. It’s not just the Donald Trump administration which is supporting Benjamin Netanyahu’s regime, either. It’s the far right in Italy, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Germany, and beyond – many of which have fascist and antisemitic pasts (and presents).
No amount of support for Israel’s government, meanwhile, can hide Trump’s long relationship with antisemitism. As Hasan said on CNN:
Regardless of Donald Trump’s views on Israel… he’s always been an antisemite. This is not a controversial opinion. The facts are there. He was an antisemite in the 1980s when Ivana said he kept a book of Hitler speeches next to his bed; he was an antisemite in the 90s when his casino manager said he only wanted short guys in yarmulkes counting his money; he was an antisemite in 2013 when he shamed [comedian] Jon Stewart on Twitter for having a Jewish birthname.
Call out the nonsense
The establishment media in the UK, however, has long played along with the offensive and dangerous idea that support for Israel means support for Jewish people, and that opposition to Israel means opposition to Jewish people. A number of prominent Jewish and Israeli figures have been vocal in calling this out. Indeed, failing to call this out allows Trump and other hard-right figures to use support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine as a shield to deflect allegations of racism against them.
We desperately need more journalists like Mehdi Hasan. Because that would make the fight against fascism and the dangerously complicit establishment media so much easier.
Featured image via screenshot
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?