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Melania Trump profile unleashes flood of antisemitic abuse on reporter

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A reporter who wrote a critical profile of Melania Trump has been deluged with antisemitic abuse.

Julia Ioffe told the Guardian that on April 28, the day her profile of the Republican presidential nomination frontrunner Donald Trump’s wife appeared in GQ, she had received a phone call playing a speech by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and another from a purported business, “Overnight Caskets.” Her Twitter feed and email inbox were flooded with antisemitic messages and imagery, including a cartoon of a Jew being executed.

“I started the day off having a sense of humor about it but by the end of the day, after a few phone calls like this, with people playing Hitler speeches, and the imagery, and people telling me my face would look good on a lampshade, it’s hard to laugh,” she said.

Ioffe’s profile of Melania Trump was critical, but not exceptionally so. Ioffe said Melania Trump, like her husband, was evasive and hard to pin down, but also not unpleasant to deal with. “She makes meaningful eye contact and emphatically repeats affirmative, folksy banalities—she ‘has a thick skin,’ she takes things ‘day by day,’ she follows the news ‘from A to Z’—until the interviewer either is transported into a supra-verbal understanding or decides it’s pointless to press for specifics,” Ioffe wrote. “But unlike her husband, Melania is reserved, polite, and steady, say those close to her.”

Melania Trump in a Facebook posting said the article was inaccurate. The onetime model, who is from Slovenia, singled out for criticism Ioffe’s revelation of a half brother, born out of wedlock from a relationship her father had before he met her mother. “My parents are private citizens and should not be subject to Ms. Ioffe’s unfair scrutiny,” Melania Trump said.

Ioffe, whose family emigrated from the Soviet Union 26 years ago, said the abuse she faced reminded her of the antisemitism from which her family fled in Russia.


ADL to Trump: Come up with something other than ‘America First’

(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League called on Donald Trump to abjure the term “America First,” noting its unsavory World War II-era association with antisemitism. “The undercurrents of anti-Semitism and bigotry that characterized the America First movement – including the assumption that Jews who opposed the movement had their own agenda and were not acting in America’s best interest – is fortunately not a major concern today,” the ADL said in an April 28 statement.

Trump unveiled his foreign policy in a speech April 27 in Washington and said “America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.” He referred to a policy that would not attempt to export democracy, that would avoid foreign wars, and that would require allies to pay for America’s defense or go it alone. The ADL statement noted the antisemitic and pro-Nazi proclivities of the America First movement’s leader, aviator Charles Lindbergh. “For many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in the statement. “In a political season that already has prompted a national conversation about civility and tolerance, choosing a call to action historically associated with incivility and intolerance seems ill-advised.” The ADL has called Trump out for his campaign rhetoric, including his broadsides against Muslims.

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