U.S. Elections: The Peculiar Search for Antisemitism

Yes, there have been noxious anti-Semitc comments by one of the candidates: not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. Journalists scouring only the Trump record for anti-Semitism–but not both sides equally–betray their own insincerity, and dishonorably misuse this serious issue for partisan purposes. 

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post 

In this strangest of election years, one element of political discourse keeps getting stranger: the crusade to uncover any smidgen of anti-Semitism.

With great zeal, journalists – particularly in the Jewish media – have gone to extraordinary lengths hunting for the slightest hint of anti-Jewish hostility.  Their findings have been enlightening, though perhaps not exactly as intended.

Donald Trump has faced some unusual charges, under the apparent premise that Trump, deep down, must be an anti-Semite.  One “proof” came from discovering that, nine years ago, the ex-wife of new Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon claimed in divorce proceedings that Bannon had made disparaging comments (unwitnessed) about how Jewish parents raised their children. Every major media outlet ran with the story.  It was little-noted that the same Steve Bannon, a former banker at Goldman Sachs, later ran Breitbart News with a staunch pro-Israel outlook and a disproportionately Jewish staff, including overtly-Orthodox star writers Ben Shapiro and Joel Pollak.

Trump has also been tarred with the anti-Semitism brush for criticizing Hillary Clinton’s corrupt connections to global financial powers and special interests–not a word about Jews, but deemed anti-Semitic because anti-Semites make similar allegations about Jewish global financial powers.  Trump has also been attacked for re-tweeting messages not remotely anti-Semitic themselves, but containing images originally crafted by anti-Semites.   Such sensitivity!

Even this newspaper ran a front-page “special report” on Trump’s supposed “complex history” with Jews.  After two full pages (including nine paragraphs devoted to the lunatic ruminations of David Duke, whose support Trump has repeatedly disavowed), the story found only, if anything, Trump’s pro-Jewish bias.  This was spun as Trump’s problematic “affirmative prejudice” regarding Jews—that he respects and admires Jews too much.

Has that really been our biggest problem with political leadership throughout history?  One can never be too careful, I suppose.

On a certain level, such accountability for even a whiff of anti-Semitism is welcome.  Which makes it all the more curious why the media has ignored more overtly anti-Semitic statements.  How have journalists not excoriated the candidate for berating a campaign manager as a “f—ing Jew bastard” in front of multiple witnesses?  Or yelled at a Jewish political consultant asking for a raise, “Money—that’s all you people care about is money”?

Oops—my mistake—now I get it: those noxious statements didn’t come from Trump; they were said by Hillary Clinton.

Further examples abound.  Arkansas State Trooper and Clinton bodyguard for seven years, Larry Patterson, reported hearing Hillary use anti-Jewish epithets between 10-20 times, including calling her husband a “Jew Boy” or a “Motherf—— Jew.”  (He also reported that they both used the “N” word.)

Former Congressman Earl Hilliard blamed an election loss on “Jewish interests” and “Jewish media;” Hillary appointed him to her campaign’s leadership team.

In a 2011 email, former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a Hillary adviser, suggested that the U.S. treacherously and covertly generate Palestinian unrest to weaken the Netanyahu government and push Israel to the negotiating table.  Hillary Clinton, self-declared “unshakeable” ally of Israel, reacted by…asking an aide to print out a copy for her.

Clinton repeatedly praised unhinged anti-Israel articles by aide Sidney Blumenthal’s son, Max—a man so pathologically hateful of Israel as to be disavowed even by the hard left.  After one rant connecting Benghazi with “Ultra-Zionist Jews,” Hillary emailed Sidney: “Your Max is a Mitzvah.”

In her 2000 Senate race, a fundraiser for Hillary (at which she spoke) was hosted by the American Muslim Alliance, which has variously sanctioned terrorism, supported Hamas, published anti-Semitic statements, denounced Jews and defended jihad.  She accepted their $50,000 donation—but recorded the donation in federal filings as coming from the American Museum Alliance.

In the 1980s, Hillary chaired the New World Foundation, which funded various far-left organizations.  Under her leadership, the foundation made an unrestricted grant to Grassroots International, which funneled money to PLO-affiliated groups on the West Bank.  This was while the PLO was a U.S.-designated terror organization officially committed to the annihilation of Israel.

In 1973, Hillary and future-husband Bill went to visit a politically connected friend in Little Rock.  When she saw a menorah on the door, she refused to get out of the car.  Bill apologized to his host, saying “I’m sorry, but Hillary’s real tight with the people in the PLO in New York.  They’re friends of hers, and she just doesn’t feel right about the menorah.”

The list goes on.  Hillary has denied some of the stories; but what respectable journalist accepts Hillary Clinton’s word, especially against the word of several witnesses?

Each of these documented stories implicates Hillary herself, not her campaign staff or supporters.  How does the media, professing such ultra-sensitivity to anti-Semitism when involving Donald Trump, justify not delving into any of these incidents involving Hillary?

Anti-Semitism is intolerable. Period. Journalists refusing to pursue anti-Semitism equally on both sides of an election betray their own insincerity, and dishonorably misuse this serious issue for partisan purposes.  Though the election approaches, let’s see whether any honorable, evenhanded journalism yet emerges.

Abe Katsman is an American attorney and political commentator living in Israel.  He serves as Counsel to Republicans Overseas Israel.

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post 

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