One of the enduring attractions of conspiracy theories is that they explain everything.
Your manuscript is multiply-rejected, it’s a conspiracy of Jewish book editors or publishers. Don’t like what you read or see on the news, blame the Jews who allegedly control all the world’s media. Your party is being rejected by voters and will lose its majority in the House of Representatives, summon up the myth of Jewish bankers who run the world. In the loudly-expressed opinion of the leader of that dramatically reduced minority of Republicans in the house, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, that was the doing of George Soros, notoriously rich and notoriously Jewish, and the frequent target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories like McCarthy’s.
Which explains why McCarthy is a “hypocritical oaf.” Oafish he may have been for some time, but his hypocrisy was manifest in his recent call for the removal of Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “Anti-Semitic tropes have no place in the halls of Congress,” McCarthy tweeted. “It is dangerous for Democrat (sic) leadership to stay silent on this reckless language.”
The “reckless language” that McCarthy said should draw the same punishment laid on Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa for his open and decades-long espousal of white supremacy, was Representative Omar’s claim that “the Benjamins, Baby” – big money from the American-Israeli lobbying organization AIPAC – bought congressional support for Israel.
The claim was literally incorrect, as AIPAC and dozens of politicians of both parties rushed to point out. AIPAC does not make cash donations. But, that explanation is intentionally incomplete, as the former AIPAC staffer and journalist-blogger M.J. Rosenberg noted. AIPAC has a large political unit that gives guidance and support to favored politicians, and has been known to recommend to its members that they give direct financial aid to friendly candidates. Benjamins – dollars doled out in the hundreds – are not infrequently involved.
Still, many of Representative Omar’s fellow Democrats denounced her comments for their alleged anti-Semitic tropes and brought her to an apology: “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Ms. Omar said in a statement released on Twitter. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. I unequivocally apologize.”
“Lame,” was President Donald Trump’s word for the apology, adding, “she didn’t mean a word of it.”
This from the same lame-brain who claimed “very fine people” joined the marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia who chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” Or maybe he included the “fine people” dressed in battle fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles who stood across the street from Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, and who threatened on Nazi websites to burn it down.
Perhaps Trump’s method of dealing with those threatening anti-Semites would have the same one he suggested immediately after Joseph Bowers gunned down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue: If there were armed guards outside the shul, he said, the attack might have been prevented.
No student of antisemitic tropes would have missed the logic of the president’s thinking: blame the victims.
Deborah Lipstadt is an American historian, best known as author of the new book Antisemitism: Here and Now, as well as Denying the Holocaust (1993), History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (2005) and The Eichmann Trial (2011). She is currently the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Georgia, United States.