Ilhan Omar is not anti-Semitic, but Donald Trump is, and keeping that in mind is key for media organizations that seek to properly cover and understand anti-Semitism, according to a Salon story Thursday.
Anti-Semitism is “fundamental to white nationalist thought,” wrote Paul Rosenberg in “Eight mistakes the media makes about anti-Semitism in America today” – subhead: “Our collective understanding of anti-Semitism has been warped by Donald Trump. Time for some historical truth.”
“And white nationalists have no bigger, better representative on the world stage today than Donald Trump.”
Omar, the freshman Democrat from Minnesota, twice has had to apologize for blatantly anti-Semitic remarks and was the focus of a resolution that, although pressure from party members caused it to change from a direct condemnation of her to one of all bigotry, still focused unmistakably on her remarks.
Trump criticism of Democrats – that it has “become an anti-Israel party” and an “anti-Jewish party” – is “an example of how careless references to ‘anti-Semitic tropes’ or ‘motifs’ obfuscates rather than clarifies them,” Rosenberg wrote. “That makes it sound as if Trump and … Omar are doing something similar. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Saying anti-Jewish things on a semi-regular basis, such as that Jews have undue influence over the government and politicians bow to them because of campaign contributions – “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she tweeted – does not make her anti-Semitic, Rosenberg claimed.
“What evidence is there that she hates Jews because they are Jews?” he wrote. “Or that she has a worldview or ideology based around that?”
Her apology speech to Democrat colleagues who were preparing to censure her by name was, “in fact, the exact opposite of anti-Semitism,” Rosenberg wrote – emphasis his.
It’s not the Democrat Party that has gone anti-Semitic, he wrote. Eight of the nine Jewish senators and 25 of the 27 Jewish members of the House of Representatives are Democrats, he pointed out. And besides, that watered-down resolution stated the House “rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance.”
It did this to, as directly as possible, refute the anti-Semitic claims Omar made that prompted the resolution.
This is all about campaign positioning, he wrote. “Pretending that Democrats are anti-Semitic is one of the few cards they’ve got to play going into the 2020 elections,” Rosenberg wrote. “Which is one more reason why we must be very clear about what anti-Semitism really is, what purposes and interests it serves, how it relates to other forms of bigotry, and why it’s being politically manipulated by Trump and his allies.”
He then says the media has the “responsibility not to further anti-Semitism by clouding and obscuring what is going on.”
Rosenberg claims “hatred of Jews is used to justify attacks on a wide range of liberal policies associated with them, and conversely, opposition to those policies serves to justify hatred of Jews.”
The real Jew haters aren’t Muslims, Rosenberg states. They are Christians who blame Jews for crucifying Christ “despite the fact that the Roman authorities ordered and carried out the execution.”
Rule No.4 for Rosenberg was a warning against “failing to note or explain anti-Semitism’s long history of association with the right, in Europe as well as America,” despite it being led in the U.S. by the Democrat-formed Ku Klux Klan and in Europe by the far-left Nazis of Germany.
Rule No. 6 is to avoid “failing to note or explain how Donald Trump has significantly boosted the profile and power of anti-Semitism.” His example was an academic who tried to blame Trump for the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings, even though the shooter was an avowed anti-Trumper.
“’Cultural marxism’ is a term used interchangeably with ‘political correctness,’ one of Trump’s signature bogeymen,” Rosenberg wrote. “And the bogeymen behind it are all Jews!”
He never mentions that Trump’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are all Jewish.