This time, Trump’s mes­sage is clearly anti-Semitic

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION - Dana Mil­bank Colum­nist

In the fi­nal hours, the mask came off. Don­ald Trump and his sur­ro­gates have been play­ing foot­sie with Amer­i­can neo-Nazis for months: tweet­ing their memes, retweet­ing their mes­sages, ap­pear­ing on their ra­dio shows. Af­ter an Oct. 13 speech in which Trump warned that Hil­lary Clin­ton “meets in se­cret with in­ter­na­tional banks to plot the de­struc­tion of U.S. sovereignty” and that “a global power struc­ture” is con­spir­ing against or­di­nary Amer­i­cans, the Anti-Defama­tion League urged Trump to “avoid rhetoric and tropes that his­tor­i­cally have been used against Jews.”

Well, Trump just gave his re­ply. On Fri­day, he re­leased a clos­ing ad for his cam­paign re­peat­ing of­fend­ing lines from that speech, this time il­lus­trated with im­ages of prom­i­nent Jews: fi­nancier Ge­orge Soros (ac­com­pa­ny­ing the words “those who con­trol the levers of power”), Fed Chair Janet Yellen (with the words “global spe­cial in­ter­ests”) and Gold­man Sachs CEO Lloyd Blank­fein (fol­low­ing the “global power struc­ture” quote). The ad shows Hil­lary Clin­ton and says she part­ners “with these peo­ple who don’t have your good in mind.”

Anti-Semitism is no longer an un­der­tone; it’s the melody.

For more than a year, I have con­demned Trump in the harsh­est terms I could con­jure as he went af­ter Lati­nos, Mus­lims, im­mi­grants, African-Amer­i­cans, women and the dis­abled. This is both be­cause it was wrong in its own right and be­cause, from my cul­ture’s his­tory, I know that when a dem­a­gogue be­gins to iden­tify scape­goats, the Jews are never far be­hind.

At first, it was gen­teel chau­vin­ism, such as Trump telling Jewish Repub­li­cans they wouldn’t sup­port him “be­cause I don’t want your money”; the fact that he has a Jewish son-in-law gave him some cover.

Then we had Trump’s tweet of an im­age, pre­vi­ously found on an anti-Semitic mes­sage board, of a Star of David atop a pile of cash; Trump later ob­jected to his cam­paign’s decision to re­move the im­age. Trump retweeted a mes­sage from @WhiteGeno­cideTM, phony crime statis­tics that orig­i­nated with neo-Nazis and a quote from Ben­ito Mus­solini. His cam­paign blamed an in­tern for tweet­ing an im­age of Nazi sol­diers su­per­im­posed on the Amer­i­can flag next to Trump’s like­ness.

Trump banned news or­ga­ni­za­tions such as The Wash­ing­ton Post from cov­er­ing his events but cre­den­tialed the host of a white-su­prem­a­cist ra­dio show. Don­ald Trump Jr. posted an im­age of “Pepe the frog” -- a mas­cot of white su­prem­a­cists. He took ques­tions on the ra­dio from the host of a white-su­prem­a­cist ra­dio show. He fol­lowed sev­eral white su­prem­a­cists on Twit­ter.

The el­der Trump said “I don’t have a mes­sage” for sup­port­ers who threat­ened anti-Semitic vi­o­lence against a Jewish jour­nal­ist, and Me­la­nia Trump said the writer “pro­voked” the at­tacks. At­tacks by Trump sup­port­ers have con­tin­ued un­abated against Jewish jour­nal­ists. On Mon­day, I heard from a white su­prem­a­cist with the Twit­ter name “Oven Builder.” Also Mon­day, the At­lantic’s Jef­frey Gold­berg thanked Trump for “em­pow­er­ing” the type of per­son who called him “Jeff Kike­berg” in a mes­sage telling Gold­berg he would be hanged.

Trump him­self has been rais­ing the anti-Semitic ante: On Oct. 2, talk­ing about the “blood suck­ers” who back in­ter­na­tional trade and, on Oct. 13, the “global power struc­ture” se­cretly schem­ing, a theme em­braced ear­lier by Jones and Ban­non.

If Trump didn’t rec­og­nize the anti-Semitic tropes then, he has no such ex­cuse now, af­ter the wide­spread com­plaints from the ADL and oth­ers about the laced lan­guage of the Oct. 13 speech.

This new ad isn’t sub­tle -- Pro­to­cols of the El­ders of Zion-style pro­pa­ganda, as Al Franken put it. I agree with Talk­ing Points Memo ed­i­tor Josh Mar­shall when he says this “is in­ten­tional and by de­sign.” There have been too many in­stances to be oth­er­wise.

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