Hate — a lethal mix
of the information age was made by Michael Bloomberg, who was not afraid to put his name on his enterprise. He used the public profile to run successfully for Mayor of New York. George Soros used his fortune, in the heady days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to help educate Eastern European societies that had gone from Nazism to Stalinism without pausing over how to organise open societies.
A significant minority of American Jews felt so secure that they ventured forth from the New Deal cocoon, leaving the Democratic Party to become Republicans.
And when the Republican Party became a subsidiary of the Trump family businesses, they stayed right with it. In August 2017, neo-Nazis marched through Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us.” After the event, Mr Trump said, “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”
None of the Jews in his administration resigned and none of his Jewish supporters who I know personally have disavowed him.
Stephen Miller, a Jewish boy from Santa Monica, is a special adviser to the President. Over the two years of the Trump administration, Mr Miller has become the silent consigliere closest to him. He puts the words into Mr Trump’s mouth — when he stays on script — and is regarded as the strongest anti-immigration voice in the administration. This past Rosh Hashanah, Neil Comess-Daniels, rabbi at the temple where Mr Miller received his Jewish education, denounced him from the pulpit: “We Jews have chosen our history to be our mandate … We are all refugees, Mr Miller.”
As the mid-term elections approached, the Trump administration carried on politicising the issue of immigration, fixating about an organised caravan of several thousand would-be immigrants from Honduras walking the 1,800 miles to the Texas border. Mr Trump knows that there are votes to be gained in fear. He tweeted without proof that there were Isis jihadis mixed in with the immigrants.
Aided by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, fears have been stoked further. Fox repeated a lie tweeted out by Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz that George Soros was funding the marchers. That was on October 17. On October 23, a pipe bomb was found in Mr Soros’s mail box in suburban New York. The next day, more bombs sent to leading Democrats and Trump critics were intercepted.
Then on Saturday, October 27, Robert Bowers walked into the Tree of Life synagogue, open to the world, the softest of targets, shouting “All Jews must die” and killed 11 people.
This is antisemitism but not the kind I faced walking home through a working class Catholic neighbourhood from school. Soros-baiting is not simply Jew-baiting. Jews do it, too. Benjamin Netanyahu has spread lies about Mr Soros having links to the Iranian regime. He has warmly welcomed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose antisemitic attacks on Mr Soros have helped him stay in office, on a state visit to Israel.
This is a confused and terrible confluence: petty politics to maintain power, a return of the ethno-nationalism that has always led to violence, and the always-present resentment of Jews are the strands that undergird the terrible events at the Tree of Life synagogue.
An antisemitism for the 21st century.
A minority of Jews felt so secure they joined the Republicans
Michael Goldfarb is a freelance writer
White nationalists on the march in Newnan, Georgia, in 2018. Left: Trump at a rally in Illinois earlier this year