When Eric accused Bob Woodward of undermining the Trump administration for money, he used a term, ‘shekels,’ which isn’t normative American slang. Bill Kristol, a conservative pundit and the leader of the ‘Never Trump’ movement simply asked on Twitter: “Is Eric too stupid to know he’s being anti-Semitic?” Is this proof of Jew-hatred in the first family?
Jonathan Tobin for Haaretz
Nobody was surprised when Eric Trump took a shot at Bob Woodward after the Washington Post legend’s behind-the-scenes expose of his father’s White House portrayed it as one on the verge of chaos.
But when the younger Trump accused Woodward of undermining the administration for money, his choice of words provided more ammunition for those who believe the Trump father and sons have engaged in dog-whistling that is encouraging alt-right anti-Semites.
The offending phrase uttered in the Trump-friendly forum of the Fox News Network’s “Fox and Friends” morning talk show was, “It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels.”
To Israelis and those who know Israel well, the word shekel simply means money. Urban Dictionary also notes that the word is popular slang for cash in Ireland. But it’s also frequently referenced on alt-right websites, and is the sort of language that neo-Nazis use to refer to traditional anti-Semitic memes about Jews and money.
Most of those commenting noted that shekels isn’t normative American slang like “bucks” or “dough” or even a more antique word like “somolian.” Since Eric Trump also probably doesn’t speak Hebrew, many jumped to the not entirely unreasonable conclusion that he got it from reading far right websites.
The same charge has been lodged against his older brother Donald Jr. for tweeting an image of a frog meme beloved by anti-Semites.
As far as New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman and the author of a recent book on anti-Semitism was concerned, it was language straight out of “The Daily Stormer.”
Bill Kristol, a conservative pundit and the leader of the Never Trump movement simply asked on Twitter: “Is Eric too stupid to know he’s being anti-Semitic?“
While Eric Trump is, unlike his sister Ivanka and brother-in-law Jared Kushner, not part of the administration, this incident is being connected to comments by his father dating back to the beginning of his presidential campaign that are viewed as racist.
In particular, Trump’s reaction to last year’s neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville Virginia, in which he conflated anyone who opposed the removal of Confederate statues with the murderous racists who marched there, by saying there “very fine people” on both sides, encapsulated what seems like either a deliberate appeal to hate or a puzzling indifference to the obvious implications of such words.