Incitement

Joseph Aaron

It seems that as long as right-wing Jews are getting the goodies they want, who cares about anything else. And anyone else.

Who cares if there have been more than 250 mass shootings in the United States this year, with the country in the world that is in second place having had 10. Who cares. Except, of course, about Pittsburgh and Poway, those we care about, but the others not so much.

Who cares if Trump uses language over and over again that inspires crazy people to do crazy things. Who cares if at a rally in Florida, when Trump was talking about migrants, someone in the audience yelled, “shoot them,” and Trump just laughed.

Who cares if Trump constantly refers to migrants coming to the southern border as an “invasion,” the kind of word that wars are fought over. Who cares if just last week at a rally in Ohio no less, he pretended to read descriptions of migrants coming into the country, “murderer, robbed four banks, this one I can’t even say, another murderer” and the audience laughed and laughed.

Who cares if white supremacists use language very similar to Trump’s when they talk about immigrants and nationalism and Hispanics. And who cares if the manifesto written by the perpetrator of the El Paso killings used very Trumpian language.

In Israel, they have a word for the kind of thing Trump does over and over, is a master at doing. Israelis called it incitement.

Incitement. That’s what Israel accused Yasser Arafat of engaging in when he said things he knew would rile up his population, inspire them to go out and commit acts of terrorism.

Incitement. That’s what Trump has been engaged in since that day in 2015 when he came down the escalator at Trump Tower and said that Mexicans are rapists. And he hasn’t stopped since, even once he became president of the United States.

He incites people at his rallies to hate those fleeing hell and seeking asylum in this country, many of them women and children, starving and desperate. An “invasion” he calls it, as if they were Nazi tanks crossing into Poland.

That is incitement and Israelis of all people, Jews of all people, know where inflammatory language, dehumanizing language can lead. Six million Jews in Europe were murdered due to incitement, tens of thousands of Jews in Israel have been murdered due to incitement. Indeed, a prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by a Jew who heard inciting language from the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu and decided it was his sacred religious duty to pump three bullets into Rabin’s back.

Trump’s inciting language, Trump’s inciting actions inspired a crazy person to do what he did in El Paso, just as they have inspired crazy people to do what they have done in all kinds of places killing all kinds of people the last couple of years.

Here’s an interesting fact for you. In counties where Trump has held rallies since he’s been president, hate crimes have risen more than 225 percent.

But who cares. As long as Trump moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, killed the Iran deal, gave Miriam Adelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, right-wing Jews, super-religious Jews are happy. All else about Trump is overlooked. Who cares, as long as they get what they want, that’s all that matters.

Next time you hear a Jew complain about how the world didn’t care about Jews being slaughtered during the Holocaust, ask yourself how much you care about the Hispanic kids being put in cages, the work of Trump, how much you care about those killed in El Paso, an act incited by Trump.

I recently got a voicemail from someone who identified himself as Abraham. He had just read a column of mine in which I was critical of Trump, a column in which I defended the immigration that has so defined and enriched this country. He called to tell me he was shocked to read my words.

And he truly did sound shocked. He couldn’t believe I was critical of Trump, saying all I wrote about him was “wrong.” He accused me of being part of the “fake news media,” echoing Trump’s obscene, inane and dangerous words, said those trying to come into this country were “all types of criminals,” echoing Trump’s obscene, inane, dangerous and inciting rhetoric.

That voicemail made my blood run cold. This guy clearly seemed to be religious, sprinkling Yiddish words throughout his message, and he definitely seemed like a true believer. He truly believes there is no cause to criticize Trump about anything. He truly believes all the media presents is fake news. He truly believes all those desperately fleeing their homelands for safety in America are criminals.

That is the legacy of Trump. And that is why we have so many mass shootings in this country and that is why we have so many Jews who think themselves so religious, so righteous, such lovers of Israel, such defenders of the faith, willing to overlook all the lies, all the defamation of women and blacks and Hispanics, all the crude behavior, all the alienating actions, all the corrupt people around him, all the unqualified people in crucial positions, the ugly words, the inciting language.

Who cares. There is an American embassy in Jerusalem, no deal with Iran, and so all is good for the Jews. Sure the Pittsburgh and Poway things were “sad,” to use a favorite Trump tweetism, but basically he’s been great, has fulfilled every right-wing super-religious fantasy and so who cares about mass shootings in El Paso or Dayton or any of the other 250 places, with many more sure to come.

I would say all those who think themselves super Jews should be ashamed of themselves for spitting in the face of G-d by embracing someone like Trump, but clearly they are incapable of shame, have no clue what authentic Judaism is all about.

It is absolutely fascinating that these super Jews don’t seem to notice that they feel the same way about Trump as do white supremacists. Super Jews and white supremacists are on the same side.

For the moment. I tend to be very cautious about making scary predictions, but the reality is that Trump’s incitement, his messages about nationalism and white supremacy, about fearing and hating “the other,” are going to last long after he has left the scene.

This country has worked decades to make the words he utters every day unacceptable, the thoughts he freely shares on twitter unacceptable. Sure, there have always been people who thought them, wanted to say them, do something about them, but they increasingly didn’t, understood they were unacceptable, that they would be harshly condemned, indeed shunned, if they expressed them, acted on them.

Trump has made them acceptable again, has indeed encouraged people to freely and openly share their worst impulses, their ugliest thoughts. He stood there looking like Mussolini as a crowd at his rally shouted loudly, clearly and very publicly “send her back” about an American citizen, a member of Congress. He laughed when someone at his rally loudly, clearly and very publicly shouted “shoot them,” referring to those on the southern border.

Things that used to be whispered in dark corners are now shouted at massive rallies. In the presence of president of the United States.

Anyone who knows anything about history knows that when white supremacy is unleashed, when nationalism is given free reign, when disparagement of “the other” — those not like us, those from someplace else, those who believe in something else — is encouraged, indeed celebrated, that sooner or later, it is not very good, is indeed very bad for the Jews.

White supremacists don’t see Jews as white, but as Jews. Nationalists don’t see Jews as Americans just like them, but as Jews. Those who hate “the other” as in Hispanics and Muslims, eventually see Jews as “the other” too.

When hateful language is employed, it isn’t long before Jews are the targets. And while it might start with nuts and those on the fringe, slowly but surely it moves into the mainstream.

Did you notice a recent letter sent by no less than the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Tom Emmer, in writing to party members, identified three “left-wing radicals” that he says “bought control of Congress for the Democrats.” They are all Jewish.

The letter on Emmer’s letterhead says “the news of impactful, real progress on turning our nation around was undercut by biased media and hundreds of millions of dollars of anti-Republican propaganda put out by liberal special interests, funded by deep-pocketed far-left billionaires George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.

“These left-wing radicals essentially BOUGHT control of Congress for the Democrats,” the letter said.

Soros and Bloomberg are Jewish and Steyer had a Jewish father and has in the past identified as Jewish.

The letter employs the classic anti-Semitic trope that rich Jews use their money for power and control. The three men have been targeted with the same accusation by several Republican and conservative figures, including no less than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a close ally of Trump’s.

Tom Emmer cannot be dismissed as some mentally ill nut like the killer in El Paso. He is the guy selected by his Republican colleagues in Congress to lead the National Republican Congressional Committee, responsible for electing Republicans to Congress. And yet there he is, saying three rich Jews used their money to buy Congress and wield power.

Where have we heard that kind of thing before? The fact that we’re hearing it now from a top mainstream Republican tells you a lot about the influence and toxicity of Trump’s incitement.

But hey, the embassy is in Jerusalem, so who cares?

1 Comment on "Incitement"

  1. Joseph, this is another wonderful write-up you did! I totally agree with what you wrote. Fred Ost, Skokie

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