We don’t know too much about Grafton E. Thomas, the man suspected of carrying out an attack on the home of a Hasidic rabbi in the New York City suburb of Monsey on Saturday night.
We know, according to reports in The New York Times, that he referred to Hitler in his journal and did Google searches on terms like “why did Hitler hate the Jews” and “prominent companies founded by Jews in America.”
We also know that there’s been a rash of anti-Semitic violence in New York City, with several people accused of assaulting Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, mostly in Brooklyn. In at least one of the cases, the attacker confessed: “Yeah, I was there,” she said. “Yes, I slapped them. I cursed them out. I said ‘F-U, Jews.’”
In none of this have we found any evidence that these individuals were motivated by, or even sympathizers with, President Donald Trump.
Guess who’s getting the blame, though — at least from those on the left?
As Fox News reported, California Rep. Eric Swalwell was among the vanguard of Democrats blaming the president — at least indirectly — for the attack in Monsey.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America. And it’s being stoked by @realDonaldTrump who won’t condemn it and Trump’s lawyer, @RudyGiuliani, who just this week said he’s “more Jewish than Soros.” ICYMI, my @jdforward op-ed on what we must do: https://t.co/5wVUoVyS5w
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 29, 2019
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America. And it’s being stoked by @realDonaldTrump who won’t condemn it and Trump’s lawyer, @RudyGiuliani, who just this week said he’s ‘more Jewish than Soros,’” Swalwell said.
In a piece for the leftist Jewish publication The Forward, Swalwell wrote that “President Trump has tacitly or explicitly empowered extremism in ways not seen in generations.”
“Case in point: the President, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, far-right allies like former Fox News anchor Glenn Beck, and racist Congressman Steve King, for years have relentlessly attacked Jewish philanthropists including Michael Bloomberg and George Soros,” Swalwell wrote.
Ah yes, that old canard. Don’t like the gun control programs pushed by Bloomberg or the multitude of left-wing causes that Soros bankrolls? That has nothing to do with your conservatism or support for the Second Amendment.
It’s all because you’re basically an alt-righter. Start tweeting out those Pepe memes, you bigot.
Swalwell was hardly the only one. Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, known for not-entirely-covert anti-Semitism herself, tweeted that “folks still don’t see the connection with his words and how it ignites violence.
“He fuels people’s anger & misguided hate. Instead of leading with compassion, he simply gaslights and laughs about it,” Tlaib wrote.
Leaving aside the fact that this proves there remains a 1:1 correlation between people who use the verb “gaslight” in a sentence and those who don’t know what they’re talking about, here’s what the president tweeted after the Monsey attack:
The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2019
After the 2018 attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, he voiced similar sentiments.
“Anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history,” the president said in a White House statement.
Meanwhile, here’s Ariel Gold, national co-director of liberal activist group Code Pink:
This is Trump’s America https://t.co/3g0vLWEVMu
— Ariel Gold אריאל ?☮️ (@ArielElyseGold) December 29, 2019
What are the odds that now with 9 attacks during Hanukkah alone, Trump will apologize for his repeated use of antisemitic tropes and dog whistles and commit to no more? Jared and @IvankaTrump, you wanna speak to dad? https://t.co/XU8DP8Hrch
— Ariel Gold אריאל ?☮️ (@ArielElyseGold) December 29, 2019
Speaking of anti-Semitic dog whistles, Rep. Ilhan “All About the Benjamins” Omar of Minnesota actually retweeted Swalwell’s anti-Trump message, apparently unconcerned that lightning might strike her down in front of her iPad.
Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, who is both Jewish and a member of the same party caucus of Omar and Tlaib, also went after Trump on social media:
So sad but predictable. His conduct has made unacceptable conduct acceptable. It will take decades to cure . https://t.co/Np50uxVWP5
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) December 29, 2019
I’ve long felt it was inappropriate to blame members of the Democratic Party for anti-Semitic violence even as they countenance radicals like Omar, Tlaib and others who haven’t just gone in for the boycott, divest and sanctions movement that aims to isolate Israel but, especially in the case of Omar, even further down the anti-Semitic rabbit hole.
There’s no evidence that Donald Trump has made cause with anti-Semites. The only hard evidence liberals ever have to cite is the president’s clubfooted speech after the Charlottesville attack.
The lowest moment of his presidency? Most likely. Evidence of anti-Semitism? Certainly not, particularly when this is a commander in chief who has repeatedly and in the strongest terms denounced anti-Jewish bigotry.
But then, all of this is coming from the party that now countenances members who support the anti-Semitic BDS movement.
This is the party that has never seriously rebuked Omar, whose anti-Semitic rhetoric isn’t so much a dog whistle as it is a blaring klaxon; if you don’t hear it, it’s because you choose not to hear it.
This is the party that protested the Trump administration’s decision to move our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
This isn’t any time to blame a party or person for the recent rash of anti-Semitic attacks. If the Democrats want to take political stock of what anti-Semitism exists in the American polity, however, they would do well to dislodge the log stuck in their own eye before they start pointing out whatever splinters the opposition might be dealing with.
Anti-Semitism is a poison. Americans need to come together to eradicate it — not blame each other.
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