Home > Uncategorized > Anti-semitism has a home among MAGA Republicans – posted 10/22/2022h

Anti-semitism has a home among MAGA Republicans – posted 10/22/2022h

When I was growing up, my family belonged to Main Line Reform Temple, a reform Jewish congregation in the Philadelphia suburbs. I was bar mitzvahed and confirmed there. For about ten years, I regularly attended Hebrew School at the temple. During that time, I do not ever recall seeing a police guard or any kind of security at or around the temple.

My grandchild now goes to a daycare located in a Jewish school connected to a synagogue, also in the Philadelphia suburbs. When there recently, the first thing I noticed was the security guard at the only open door. Many temples and Jewish institutions have been forced to take security much more seriously.

Welcome to 2022! It is like Pandora’s box has opened and more virulent anti-semites have jumped out. Neo-nazis and white supremacists have long been an isolated fringe but they are no longer so fringe. Now they have a home in the Republican Party.

For a party that has talked about “draining the swamp”, the Republicans have let the swamp in. You hear no voices in the Republican Party saying they need to purge anti-semites or racists from the party. Winning is everything even if that means accepting those who promote anti-semitism and racism.

If anyone bothered to look at who participated in the January 6 insurrection, the MAGA movement included a hefty component of neo-nazis and white supremacists. The Camp Auschwitz tee-shirts grabbed me along with the Proud Boy 6MWE shirts which stands for “Six Million Wasn’t Enough”.

NPR reported on the case of Timothy Hale-Cusanelli of New Jersey who was just convicted of five criminal counts for his role on January 6. Hale-Cusanelli served in the U.S. Army Reserves and he also worked as a security guard at a naval base.

Naval investigators talked to 44 people at the Navy base where Hale-Cusanelli worked and 34 described Hale-Cusanelli “as having extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities and women”. He asked new colleagues if they were Jewish. He told a Naval Petty Officer “Hitler should have finished the job”.

He avidly supported former President Trump and he texted a friend that Democrats might steal the 2020 election through “n*****rigging”. He told his roommate that “Jewish interests” controlled the Democrats.

A long time family friend, Cynthia Hughes, has been advocating for Hale-Cusanelli and other January 6 defendants as “political prisoners”. Hughes appeared at a Trump rally on September 3 in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania complaining about Hale-Cusanelli’s treatment.

Hughes created a non-profit called Patriot Freedom Project which has raised more than a million dollars. It has been supported by Steve Bannon and Dinesh D’Souza. No Republicans have expressed any concerns about support for a Nazi sympathizer. The Republican Big Tent includes neo-nazis.

In Arizona, the Arizona Republic, a prominent paper in the state, has run seven op-eds since August on the issue of anti-semitism and Republican candidates.

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar and State Rep. Mark Finchem, Republican candidate for Arizona Secretary of State, have touted their endorsement from the social media site, Gab, run by Andrew Torba, a self-identified Christian nationalist. Torba has said Jews are not welcome on his site. Gab was the site utilized by the shooter who killed 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

On September 14, Finchem, who is an Oath Keeper, tweeted that Arizona Democratic politicians are “liars and deceivers” whose “loyalty is to George Soros and Mike Bloomberg”. This is straight-up anti-semitism linking Democrats to Jewish billionaires. It is no different than earlier generations tying Rothschild bankers to nefarious deeds. A loose association makes the anti-semitic connection. George Soros is the current Jewish go-to guy for anti-semites.

In Pennsylvania, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano participated in the January 6 insurrection. He has attacked his Jewish opponent, Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, for sending his children to a Jewish day school. Mastriano is also a Christian nationalist who has posted that abortion is “so much” worse than the Holocaust. He has paid Gab thousands of dollars to recruit campaign supporters.

Former President Trump also got into the anti-semitic act again tweeting on his platform Truth Social that “U.S. Jews have to get their act together” and show him some gratitude “before it is too late”. Trump contrasted U.S. Jews negatively to evangelicals who love him more. He didn’t explain what he meant by “before it is too late”.

Then, of course, there was Trump ally and influencer, Kanye West, saying he was “going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” who he said try to “black ball anyone who opposes your agenda”.

There are many other examples. I would suggest that Trump has licensed his followers that it is okay to express bigotry. In the Republican Party, there is no consequence for expressing antisemitic or racist views.

This is how hate gets normalized and accepted. Repetition of anti-semitic tropes and memes lead to people becoming anesthetized to the hate. The anti-semitism is often coded or couched as humor on far right sites. Inevitably, hate crimes follow.

Instead of having a political platform, the Republicans now run against “the other”, like immigrants, minorities, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people and women.

In the Jewish world, we have seen the movie “Blame the Jews for Everything” replay for 2,000 years. Admittedly, it is not there yet in the U.S. but it is not reassuring when neo-nazis and white supremacists are not only tolerated, they are recruited. The fascist movie always features anti-semitism. If there are any Republicans of conscience left in that party, they need to speak up. A fascist foothold in a major political party can only lead to worse.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Patricia Dawson
    October 23, 2022 at 4:56 am

    It feels like it will be a long time before we once again reach a level of civil discourse. The Republican Party doesn’t seem interested in shared government and a place for all in this country.

  2. jlewandohotmailcom
    October 24, 2022 at 12:06 am

    I think stories like yours are the only thing that might change minds at this point. I don’t think anti-Semitism ever went away, but it’s part of what’s become of the GOP. I’m reading “Putin’s People,” about how the KGB took control of Russia. Anti-Semitism, Christian Nationalism, and financial corruption are integral parts of their success, as they are here. The author presents a compelling case that the “KGB Capitalists” are helping support some of that activity here.

  3. October 25, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Like your writing. Would like to send you a note. You are not on Linked In or Facebook…

    • October 25, 2022 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Lester, I am not on those. I will email you privately. Jon

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