Over 100 bomb threats were made against Jewish community centers and schools in over 30 states since the start of 2017, prompting evacuations, heightened security and fears of rising anti-Semitism. Critics were quick to point out that President Trump was schlepping it when it came to condemning these attacks, since it took him more than a month to publicly acknowledge and denounce the incidents. A federal investigation was launched and this week an American-Israeli teenager was arrested in connection with at least most of the bomb threats, however anti-Semitism is still very much alive in America – a ticking time bomb of a situation which Trump has so far been reluctant to try and defuse.
On the one hand, it’s sort of hard to argue that Trump is responsible for anti-Semitic hate crimes as his daughter and son-in-law and three of his grandchildren are Jewish. On the other hand, it’s hard to deny an outpouring of anti-Semitism during the 2016 election such as protests by hard-right Trump supporters, retweets of anti-Semitic memes by the campaign staff, and relentless anti-minority rhetoric by Trump himself. And more recently, on this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the White House issued a statement that didn’t mention Jews, and in a meeting talking about the bomb threats, Trump allegedly asked whether the attacks were faked to harm him politically. Not kosher.
President Trump seemed to feel that his critics had been overly harsh in stating that he had fueled violence through his anti-immigrant rhetoric, because in his recent address to Congress, Trump proclaimed that “we are a country united in condemning hate.” However thanks to a variety of factors connected to Trump, hate and racism has been mainstreamed, and ideas that were once on the fringe have become a normalized part of public discourse. That, even more than the number of anti-Semitic threats, is the scariest part of the Trump administration. Oy.
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