Anti-Semitism Rears An Ugly Head During Campaign 2016

We have spoken out about Islamophobia a lot during this election season, but there’s another bad trend under way that shouldn’t be overlooked: a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

The phenomenon has manifested itself in a variety of ways – whether it’s through anti-Semitic graphics or attacks on reporters who are Jewish or perceived to be Jewish.  

According to a Slate report, a Donald Trump supporter recently heckled reporters at a rally with a “Jew S.A.! Jew S.A.!” chant to use the stereotype that Jews control the media. This isn’t a new trend from his supporters, since some have been targeting religious and ethnic minorities this election season.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks hate speech against Jews and promotes equality, told The Washington Post  that although he doesn’t know if Trump purposely promotes anti-Semitic rhetoric and stereotyping, it has been a problem from many of his supporters.

“Whether it’s the speechwriters or his supporters, we’re seeing tropes and stereotypes about Jews dominating the global banking system,” Greenblatt said.

Despite Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks noting that the Trump campaign “strongly condemns this kind of rhetoric and behavior” and that “it is not acceptable at our rallies or elsewhere,” anti-Semitism still persists within some aspects of Trump’s supporter base.

Even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was recently under fire for making an offensive Holocaust reference to describe what he insists is the media’s “double standard” between Hillary Clinton and his father. 

Anti-Semitism has no place in America. 

“Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest, but the media has built her up,” Trump Jr. told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT in September. “They’ve let her slide on every indiscrepancy [sic] … if Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.”

Not all instances of anti-Semitism can be blamed on extreme Trump supporters, of course, but there’s no denying that this has been an increasingly disturbing trend, especially on social media.

An October ADL study reviewed 2.6 million tweets that included keywords people often use in anti-Semitic smears that were sent to 50,000 journalists from August 2015 to July 2016. It found that 800 journalists received a staggering 19,000 anti-Semitic tweets from 1,600 users.

Even worse, the authors of the study noted that because it’s hard to track all hateful tweets, “there is reason to conclude that the numbers in this report … are conservative.”

There’s a long history of anti-Semitism in the United States, and this election season is particularly bad. Among other things, the report found that the number of anti-Semitic tweets has “significantly increased starting in January 2016, as election season got into full swing.” 

Some of the hate speech references the Holocaust – something that should never be joked about or referenced casually as Trump Jr. did. And there have been many death threats.

The examples of people targeting Jewish journalists are endless. If you want a tiny glimpse of what’s like to be a Jewish reporter covering politics in 2016, read the article Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, wrote in June featuring social media posts he receives on Twitter. His piece highlights the frightening hatred many people still carry.

It’s disheartening that in 2016, some Americans still harbor these poisonous views. The United States has come a long way with religious tolerance, but we still have lots of work to do. All Americans, regardless of their religion or lack of religion, deserve to feel safe.