New York Times– ‘Why Does Donald Trump Keep Dissing the Jews?’


New York Times

When something happens once, it’s a curiosity. Twice, it’s a coincidence.

Three times or more, it’s a pattern.

And Donald Trump has established a pattern of offending — or at the very least ignoring — Jews. The most recent example was just last week, when he declined to pay his respects at a Holocaust memorial in Warsaw that other American presidents routinely visited.

What’s going on? The answer, in my view, isn’t quite as dark as many of his detractors would paint it. But it’s disturbing nonetheless, and his blunders when it comes to Jews speak volumes about his limitations as a person and liabilities as a president.

But first, the record: He’d been in office just a week when International Holocaust Remembrance Day rolled round and his administration issued a statement that bizarrely omitted any specific mention of Jews. Administration officials made no apology, saying that millions of people who weren’t Jewish died in the Holocaust and that by not singling out any one group of victims, the White House had taken a more “inclusive” approach.

Then there was an initial, strange silence from Trump and his aides about a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats around the country in January and February.

In May, in Israel, Trump insisted on a much shorter stop at Yad Vashem, an important Holocaust memorial and museum, than either Barack Obama or George W. Bush had made, and he stuck to that plan even as many Israelis and American Jews cried foul. The tone-deaf breeziness of his approach was accentuated by the message he left in the visitors’ book: “It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends — so amazing & will never forget!” As Yair Rosenberg of the Jewish magazine Tablet tweeted, it was “basically just what teenagers write in each other’s high school yearbooks.”

Ivanka Trump went to the Warsaw memorial in her father’s stead, though Trump softened that blow somewhat by mentioning, in his big Warsaw speech, that “the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens.”

Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and the couple’s key roles in the White House mean that Trump has observant Jews at the very core of his presidency — and of his life.

But that didn’t stop him from making remarks to Jewish Republican donors in December 2015 that seemed to play into an anti-Semitic stereotype. “I’m a negotiator — like you folks,” he said, later adding: “Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room? Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to.”

During his presidential campaign, he embraced the favor of groups and people who trafficked in white supremacy. He re-tweeted material from proudly anti-Semitic Twitter feeds, and prompted a furor by promoting an image that placed Hillary Clinton’s face atop a pile of cash and beside a six-pointed star on which “most corrupt candidate ever” was written.

The website PolitiFact concluded that it was “unlikely that the Trump campaign intended to put out a Star of David image. In fact, the campaign moved to replace the star with a circle when the image gained attention.” Even so, PolitiFact noted, Trump had an unusual habit of “using social media to broadcast material that comes from sources with a history of spreading racism, anti-Semitism or white supremacy.”

I’m not convinced that Trump is much of an anti-Semite, any more than I’m convinced that he’s much of a homophobe. (Racism and sexism are another matter.) But I think he’s so thirsty for, and intoxicated by, whatever love comes his way that he’s loath to rebuff the sources of it.

A prominent Jewish Republican put it well. “I think Trump is such a pathological narcissist that the act of telling people who love you that you reject them — he can’t get around that,” he told me, interpreting Trump’s reasoning this way: “What can be wrong with them? They’re for me!”

Trump is disinclined to denounce any constituency or tactics that elevate him to the throne, where he’s sure that he belongs. The outcome validates even the ugliest and most divisive ascent.

“I don’t think he’s goading these people or associating with them because he shares their views,” the Republican added. “I do think that he’s so insensitive about the presidency — about the responsibilities of the leader of the free world — that he doesn’t realize it’s not enough to say, once or twice, ‘I don’t agree with them.’ He doesn’t realize that you have to be very clear.” And he doesn’t realize — or care — that he’s validating and encouraging them.

He doesn’t understand the message of zipping through Yad Vashem when predecessors lingered, because he’s less concerned with the weight of his office than with the whims and convenience of Donald Trump. It’s all about him, always — and if he’s sure in his own heart that he’s good with Jews, then he shouldn’t have to prove it.

Go back to his mini-tantrum during a White House news conference in February, when a reporter for a Jewish magazine tried to ask him whether he was paying proper heed to the anti-Semitic bomb threats. Trump interpreted the question as an indictment not of his behavior but of his being — “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life!” he trumpeted — and turned the discussion toward the big, bad media. Forget about any persecution of Jews. Let’s talk about the persecution of Trump.

You can be only so considerate to others when you never stop considering yourself. And the flamboyantly nonconformist culture of Trump’s presidency has downsides. This administration shrugs off and throws away some rituals and niceties that do matter to people, estranging them in the process.

Gay Pride Month came and went without even a banal word of recognition from the White House. So while Trump likes to crow, in a hallucinatory fashion, that gays love him, we made do in June with a tweet from his outsourced conscience, by which of course I mean Ivanka.

Some of this is Steve Bannon and his ilk. Their idea of nationalism is chilly to the recognition of subgroups, including Jewish Americans.

Some of it boils down to an absent professionalism. Trump isn’t matching the respectful choreography of other presidents because there’s no one in his inner circle familiar with the dance. Kushner, Bannon, Stephen Miller and Reince Priebus are all new to this kind and level of work. They lack institutional memory, along with any awareness of how easily those blind spots become insensitivity.

I can’t know definitively how Trump feels about Jews or gays or a whole lot else. But I can see clearly his sloppiness and self-absorption, and they’re cause enough for alarm.

  1. #1 by Gary on 07/10/2017 - 8:11 am

    Every Gentile should read this article-it’s a primer for mental illness

  2. #2 by JOE bLOW on 07/10/2017 - 10:49 am

    Israel did 911 and murdered JFK and all world wars. Those who do not say this up front are complicit in their crimes.
    Trump says Arabs were dancing in the streets. This is a GD LIE.

    ed note–Trump knows this. He comes from NY and is plugged into the highest levels of influence, power, and priviledge. My theory is that he did this in order to drive people to internet search engines and look up ‘arabs cheering in new jersey on 9/11’ so that they will find out who was really cheering that day. A small piece of evidence indicating that this was his intent was the fact that the ADL IMMEDIATELY reacted with panic when he made this statement and very loudly condemned it.

  3. #3 by Stephan Williams on 07/10/2017 - 3:54 pm

    Trump said:

    “I’m a negotiator — like you folks,” he said, later adding: “Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room? Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to.”

    The author of this stupid hatchet job deemed this statement to be “anti-semitic”. That illustrates better than most things the utter bankruptcy of the thinking done by this tribe of looters, murderers and serial liars when faced with a reality they refuse to accept.

    I worked in the construction industry for decades first building and then supervising the construction of more gigantic monuments to fragile jewish egos than I care to remember. Without exception, these high-powered people “renegotiated” our contracts without any consultation or warning in the final weeks of the builds. In other words, after agreeing to a contract price to build these monstrously distasteful but extremely expensive celebrations of their own over-inflated egos they refused to pay the agreed upon price for the completed top-notch work.

    Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

    Thieves and lying fraudsters, every one.

    I learned very quickly to never make an alteration to the plans without first insisting on a signed change work order that included the price of the change. If I didn’t I didn’t get paid for the changes they insisted on. I also learned to price the job at least 40% higher than I would for an honest client knowing I was going to be screwed over by these thieves.

    Rather than accusing Trump of being an anti-semite for speaking an obvious truth, maybe its time for dishonest propagandists like this smarmy example to reevaluate their approach to dissing their President.

    Lying about him isn’t working anymore.

  4. #4 by Michael Mazur on 07/11/2017 - 2:04 am

    @nytimes, re ‘Why does DT keep dissing the Jews ?’. . . Omitted is 19yo Israeli arrested for anti Semitic bomb threats etc in America.

  5. #5 by Clarence Carey on 07/11/2017 - 2:09 am

    Jeremiah 15:6

  6. #6 by Former Liberal on 07/11/2017 - 2:24 am

    Agree totally with first remark. These crazy, self important people act as if World War Two was fought completely over them, and only THEY suffered, no one else! By the way, on my Dad’s side, I am Polish and Russian Jewish. Some of my distant relatives did fight and die in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, but a hell of a lot of people suffered and died in that war, which John Keegan once described as ” the worst war in recorded history”.

  7. #7 by Jay Colbe a True Jew on 07/11/2017 - 8:05 am

    Maybe Trump know the truth regarding the Zionist involvement in WWII and their creation of the Holocaust, the Concentration Camps, in order to create the state of Israel. Israel was created by the bankers, for the banker, and they use the pain and suffering of the Jewish people to get the sympathy of the World and be able to do anything they want, legal or not. True Jews are not Zionists and will NEVER support Israel.

    ed note–you are obviously new here, so we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are not some paid (or unpaid) shill sent in to sow confusion, but rather are confused yourself.

    If you are a ‘true Jew’, as you clearly stated, then you are indeed a ‘Zionist’, whether you want to admit it or not. Judaism, in all its books from Genesis to Malachi, indeed lays out clearly the creation of a ‘Jewish state’ between the Nile and Euphrates rivers and, more importantly, commands ‘true Jews’ to exert the most extreme violence necessary in attaining this ‘Jewish state’, to wit–

    ‘When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall save nothing alive that breathes…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy. You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…’–Book of Deuteronomy

    ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly…’–Leviticus 25:44-46

    “Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you…Your gates will always stand open, day and night, so that the Gentiles may bring you the wealth of their nations and their kings led in triumphal procession, for the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly destroyed.”–Isaiah 60:10-12

    ‘On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abraham, saying “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates”…–Genesis, 15:18

    So, if indeed you are a ‘true Jew’ who is not a ‘Zionist’, how do you reconcile the 2? It is like someone saying ‘I am a Christian, but I deny the person and teachings of Jesus Christ’.

  8. #8 by Brooklyn Dave on 07/11/2017 - 8:22 am

    Why should Trump feel obliged to visit a Holocaust memorial/museum in Poland? I can see the Jews getting their knickers in a knot if he refused to go to Yad Vashem (is that what you call it?) while on a state trip to Israel– but Poland is not Israel, period.

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