Roger L. Simon

Trump and the New Anti-Semitism

Has the definition of anti-Semitic changed to being too pro-Israel?

You would think so, given the continuing assertions by liberals, progressives, and the media that Trump and/or his new administration and/or Steve Bannon are anti-Semites.

Meanwhile Donald Trump is emerging as the most pro-Israel (prospective) president ever, even more than Harry Truman, who, although he recognized the fledgling Jewish state, harbored ambivalence.

No such thing from Trump. Just this Wednesday he supported Israel at a moment of crisis when Egypt’s al-Sisi put a surprise resolution for immediate action before the UN Security Council, highly critical of Israel for its West Bank settlements. No sooner had Netanyahu tweeted his dismay to his putative ally, asking the Egyptian leader to pull back, than Trump jumped to the Israeli PM’s defense, posting on Twitter and Facebook:

The resolution being considered in the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed. Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.

Clearly not anxious to cross the incoming American president, al-Sisi shelved the resolution posthaste.

It’s hard to imagine Obama doing anything like what Trump did (though I certainly can imagine him doing the reverse — and he may still). On top of that, Trump just nominated David Friedman as ambassador to Israel, a selection that foreshadows a radical turnaround in U.S. policy from pursuing the endlessly failing Oslo process. It also signals that Trump, unlike so many presidents and candidates before him, really will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, an act that can only add a sense of permanence to the always-embattled Jewish state.

Despite all this — and despite there being considerably more Jews in and around Trump, including members of his cabinet, advisers, lawyers, and his immediate family (daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, several grandchildren) than any other president in our history — the mind-boggling “anti-Semitic” meme persists.

It appears as accepted truth in Maureen Dowd’s most recent New York Times column (“Monsieur Vogue Is Leaving Trumpland“).  She quotes Monsieur Vogue (aka former Vogue editor André Leon Talley) as saying,  “In the end, why pick on her [Melania] when they should be picking on her husband’s billionaire cabinet and his seeming readiness to turn the country back towards oppression, anti-Semitism, anti-culturalism, etc.”


Now I’m not sure where this supposed anti-Semitism is coming from (Bannon again?), but I’m rather certain that fashionista Talley — who had come out sorta, kinda for Trump in the Daily Mail — was taking a lot of incoming from his threatened cohorts for his tiny act of bravery. How could a man of that “importance” in the arts, if that’s what it is, wander off the reservation?  Terrified of ostracism, loss of status, etc., he reached for the ever-ready meme of anti-Semitism, without any real knowledge of the subject or deliberately ignoring whatever small amount he might have.

No surprise there. For these people, real knowledge is not applicable. What is going on is something beyond what Andrew McCarthy called in his book “Willful Blindness.” It’s “Willful Distortion.” The facts be damned. The truth doesn’t matter, as long as the “essence” of truth, their version of it anyway, even if it’s a total lie, is there.

In her article, Dowd is essentially piggy-backing on Talley’s pathetic cowardice and dishonesty — going along with the anti-Semitic meme and the rest of the bilge (anti-culturalism???) — without having to say so explicitly. She too has a cohort to appease, which she does regularly, making most of her cloying columns nauseatingly disingenuous.

What is really going on here is a manifestation of panic. What if Trump is right? What if he’s a good, or even great,  president and goes on to be reelected? Then what do we do? Everything we ever stood for is called into question. Personality disintegration is imminent.

Well, sorry.  That’s how things go in the world of the New Anti-Semitism. Those who perpetrate it we could call the New Reactionaries. Many liberals and progressives fit easily in that category, living, as they do, so deeply in the past. And if you live in the past, seeing what’s in front of your face now is difficult, maybe even impossible, as is acknowledging the changes that naturally occur over time

Indeed, a fair amount of this New Anti-Semitism is perpetuated by liberal Jews whose world views are stuck in the 1960s and ’70s, when more anti-Semitism was on the right.  No longer.  Backfield in motion, as they say.  These days, with only minor outliers, a fair portion provocateurs, almost all the anti-Semitism is from the left.  From the international BDS movement to the coddling of the Jew-hating jihadists to the Democratic Convention of 2012, if you’re on the left, the anti-Semitism is on you, baby.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn’t Already.