Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Trump and The Jews: When Philo Means Anti

This piece seeks to explain Trump's Philo-Semitism--that Trump claims to be a friend of Jews but is very much not.  It reminds me of my research trip to Romania in 2003 or 2004.  I had never heard the term Philo-semite until it was used to refer to the leader of the Greater Romania Party.  He was not able to speak with me because he was at Auschwitz proving his Philo-semitic credentials.  His party was a far right, virulently xenophobic, anti-Roma party which had been anti-semitic but was changing its spots (slightly). 

Why?  I seem to remember it was either because he thought that the European Union cared about it and not about discriminating against Roma, so it was best to make his party more EU-friendly for the upcoming elections OR because he thought the Jews do run everything.  Which is not great, really.

The WashPo piece explains that Trump and other self-proclaimed Philo-Semites believe the stereotypes about Jews but see them as good things, that they are cheap/clever (see the Horowitz list of stereotypes of advanced groups in yesterday's post), that their loyalty to Israel (not the US) makes them useful politically, etc.  But the piece goes awry:
"But while this form of “positive” anti-Semitism is better than the negative kind, it is still deeply dangerous"
No, hells no.  It is not positive and it is not better.  It might even be worse because it involves betrayal.  Jews see ordinary anti-semites, and they can prepare and address them and protect themselves.  A Philo-Semite appears to be a friend until he/she is not, so Jews might be surprised.  "Hey, Trump's daughter married a Jew and he has Jewish grandchildren, so we don't have to worry about him."  Uh, yes, we do.  Trump is a white supremacist, and his pals in that community don't think that Jews are whites--remember the chants at Charlottesville.  Anti-semitism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia tend to cluster together.  Trump feels more comfortable with these folks because his "philo-semitism" is just as anti-semitic as theirs. 

When someone proclaims themselves to be the best friends of group x, be suspicious.  The best friends of Jews often are not.  Trump may have given Israel a US embassy in Jerusalem and carte blanche in the occupied territories, but that makes him a friend of Netanyahu, not a friend of Jews.  Trump is not a friend of Jews.  The best evidence for that might just be the story of the morning (three or four shitshows ago), as he was proclaimed King of Israel by .... a Jew for Jesus.  For those who don't know or don't get it, Jews for Jesus are seen by Jews as wildly anti-semitic.  So, yeah, you can tell about someone's character by who their friends are.  Trump's friends are no friends of Jews.  So, if the Republican Jewish Committee wants to sell out its souls to suck up for a smidge of power, remember that they are betraying not Israel, but themselves. 

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