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Election Watch 2016

Trump’s ‘international bankers’ speech leaves ADL and others uneasy

By Ron Kampeas

MIAMI BEACH (JTA) — Donald Trump delivered a speech Oct. 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida, that never mentioned Jews. But in declaring that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, is somehow an instrument of a vast conspiracy involving scads of money and “international banks,” he entered what many saw as a territory, real and ideological, where hostility to Jews perpetuates and thrives even in their absence.

“Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors,” Trump said. That quote evidently was key: Trump’s campaign team, @TeamTrump, tweeted it out.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, noticed.

“@TeamTrump should avoid rhetoric and tropes that historically have been used against Jews and still spur #antisemitism,” Greenblatt said. “Let’s keep hate out of campaign.”

Trump did not seem amenable to that kind of advice.

“This election will determine if we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged,” he said. “Our corrupt political establishment, that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people. Their financial resources are virtually unlimited, their political resources are unlimited, their media resources are unmatched.”

Others heard echoes between Trump’s rhetoric and classic antisemitic tropes. Like Greenblatt, a number of writers on Twitter said the intent and the effect is essentially toxic whether or not Jews are explicitly mentioned.

“Trump is priming his supporters to believe the election was stolen from them by a cabal of Jews, blacks, bankers and media,” said Todd Zwillich, a public radio correspondent.

“Is it just me or is much of this Trump speech Jew-baiting?” tweeted Julia Ioffe, who suffered a barrage of antisemitic abuse after writing a critical article about Trump’s wife Melania – attacks Trump refused to repudiate.

Ari Ratner, a fellow at the liberal New America think tank, posted a side by side comparison of Trump’s speech and Adolf Hitler’s 1941 declaration of war. The speech also bore comparison with another notorious antisemitic tract: “The Protocols of the Elder of Zion,” the antisemitic forgery that has fueled anti-Jewish violence for over a century:

Trump: “Our great civilization here in America and across the civilized world has come across a moment of reckoning. We’ve seen it in the United Kingdom, where they voted to liberate themselves from global government and global trade deals and global immigration deals that have destroyed their sovereignty and have destroyed many of those nations. The central base of world political power is right here in America, our corrupt political establishment that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people.”

Protocols (from the introduction, written in the voice of a “scholar” who purports to be revealing a secret Jewish document): “The nations of the West are being brought under international control at political, military and economic levels. They are rapidly in process of becoming controlled also on the social level. All alike are being told that their only hope lies in the surrender of national sovereignty.”

Trump: “The corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism, they are a political special interest, no different than any other … with an agenda, and the agenda is not for you, it’s for themselves …

“The establishment and their media enablers wield control over this nation through means that are very well known.”

Protocols (in the voice of its fabricated Jewish “conspirators”): “Through the Press, we have gained the power to influence while remaining ourselves in the shade: thanks to the Press we have got the gold in our hands, notwithstanding that we have had to gather it out of the oceans of blood and tears.”

For its part, the Trump camp denied that the speech echoed nefarious themes and noted particularly the remarks by the ADL’s chief.

“Jonathan Greenblatt’s accusation that Donald Trump is evoking themes that have historically been used against Jews is irresponsible,” Jason Greenblatt (no relation), Trump’s chief legal officer and a campaign aide on Jewish affairs, said in a statement to JTA, adding, “Jonathan Greenblatt is merely trying to divert the attention of the voters away from these facts by fabricating connections to anti-Semitism. Jonathan Greenblatt seems to be willing to ignore Mr. Trump’s lifelong commitment and support of Israel and the Jewish community, as well as his forceful rebuke of anti-Semitism, but Mr. Trump will not allow anyone to hide the truth from the American people, no matter what illegitimate means they employ to try to do so.”

Trump and the ADL have been down this road before, and the Jewish agency seems to still be waiting for the candidate’s forceful rebuke of antisemitism. Trump’s speech, delivered in a must-win state, added flesh to the accusation in his notorious July 2 tweet depicting Clinton, against a pile of cash and a six-pointed star, as the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The tweet was deleted the same day and campaign staff replaced it with an identical one, with the phrase now backed up by a red circle. But Trump was furious at his staff for deleting the tweet, and at accusations that the tweet was antisemitic, although the image originated on an antisemitic website.

The ADL’s Greenblatt said at the time, “We’ve been troubled by the antisemites and racists during this political season, and we’ve seen a number of so-called Trump supporters peddling some of the worst stereotypes all through this year. And it’s been concerning that [Donald Trump] hasn’t spoken our forcefully against these people. It is outrageous to think that the candidate is sourcing material from some of the worst elements in our society.”


Trump, Clinton campaigns slam UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

(JTA) – The Trump and Clinton campaigns slammed a UNESCO resolution that upholds Muslim claims on holy sites in Jerusalem while mostly erasing Jewish claims, and Donald Trump said he would recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

“The United Nations’ attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the U.N.,” said the statement released Thursday evening, Oct. 13 by Trump, referring to the preliminary vote that day by the board of UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural and educational affiliate.

Laura Rosenberger, a senior foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, told JTA that “it’s outrageous that UNESCO would deny the deep, historic connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount.”

Trump also said he would recognize Israel’s capital as Jerusalem.

“I have said on numerous occasions that in a Trump Administration, the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the one true capital of Israel,” he said. Last December, Trump refused to commit to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while speaking to a Republican Jewish Coalition forum, but changed his tune by the time he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March. “Jerusalem is the enduring capital of the Jewish people and the overwhelming majority of Congress has voted to recognize Jerusalem as just that,” Trump told the AIPAC assembly.

The Clinton campaign’s Israel page does not mention Jerusalem. While Congress has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, successive U.S. presidents, Republican and Democratic, have said its status should be left up to negotiations.

Rosenberger in her email cited Clinton’s record as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s first term to uphold her pro-Israel credentials. “As secretary of state, Hillary fought to defend Israel against biased resolutions like these at the United Nations and other international organizations and would proudly do so again as president,” she said.

Trump blamed the Obama administration for contributing to the erosion in Israel’s claim to the city. He referred to a corrected version of Obama’s eulogy at the funeral earlier this month of former Israeli President Shimon Peres. The original White House transcript was datelined “Jerusalem, Israel,” and the corrected version deleted “Israel,” conforming with U.S. policy.

“The decision by the Obama Administration to strike the word ‘Israel’ after the word ‘Jerusalem’ in the President’s prepared text was a capitulation to Israel’s enemies, and a posthumous embarrassment to Shimon Peres, whose memory the President was attempting to honor,” Trump’s statement said. “In a Trump Administration, Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America.”


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