Donald Trump is a stone-cold racist. That has been amply demonstrated for some time. But any doubt that we have a racist president should have been put to rest on Saturday, when he got the bright idea to call six minority lawmakers “savages.” He may have justified it by claiming they were unfair to him, but that doesn’t make it any less outrageous.
For those who don’t remember, here’s a refresher.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is Jewish, as is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Trump also took a potshot at “AOC Plus 3”–better known as “The Squad.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Latina. Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley are black. Rashida Tlaib is Palestinian.
If anyone believes that Trump didn’t know exactly what he was doing when he fired off this 280-character grenade, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn up for sale. Unlike his call for the Squad to go back to their former countries and fix them, he doesn’t have even remotely plausible deniability here. It cannot be repeated often enough and loudly enough–this tweet was unambiguously racist, and may very well be the most overtly racist thing we’ve heard from Trump to date.
Sadly, there is a disturbing trend among the most diehard of Trump supporters. They seem to think that such ugly and racist language is perfectly justified because an attack on Trump is an attack on the country. It goes without saying that this cannot and must not be normalized.
One of those diehards gave us a good reason why this trend must be stopped dead in its tracks. He actually claimed with a straight face that if you’re a Jewish liberal, you deserve to be called every racist slur in the book.
When the term “rabidly pro-Trump Jew” comes to mind, most people think of White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the architect of Trump’s heavy-handed policies on immigration. But Miller is a model of sanity compared to podcaster Josh Bernstein, one of the most obnoxious of the many right-wing media personalities who have sprung up in the Trump era. This is a man who claimed Brett Kavanaugh was the one who was victimized by Christine Blasey Ford, and who once called for Trump to have the military arrest the heads of social media companies.
But Bernstein may have sunk to a new low, even for him, when he sat down with fellow far-right podcaster Bill Deagle on Monday. Bernstein declared that as far as he is concerned, right-wingers are perfectly justified in tagging liberal Jews with one of the nastiest anti-Semitic slurs in the book–“kike.” People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Bernstein claimed that according to an old legend, the term “kike” is derived from early illiterate Jewish immigrants from Europe who refused to sign their name with an “X” because they thought it looked too much like a Christian cross. As the story goes, they used a circle instead–or a “kikel,” in Yiddish. Supposedly, “kikel” was eventually shortened to “kike.”
What followed next was a display of verbal and mental gymnastics that is breathtaking even by Trumpkin standards. Bernstein said that he abhors the term “kike,” saying that it is “very derogatory for anyone who is Jewish.” Indeed, he said, it has the same connotation as the N-word. However, he argued that given how the term first came to be used, it’s a “fitting moniker” for many prominent Jewish liberals such as Schiff, Nadler, Bernie Sanders, George Soros, Jared Polis, J. B. Pritzker, and Richard Blumenthal.
As far as Bernstein has concerned, Jewish liberals “not only have deserved that moniker, but have earned it.” How is this justified, you ask? Well, Bernstein claimed, these Jewish liberals not only vote against “their own self-interest,” but openly support “people who are anti-Semitic.”
So let’s see if we’ve got this right. If you’re a Jew, and you support and vote for anti-Semites, you deserve to be smeared with an anti-Semitic term like “savage” or “kike”? Well, let’s see. What if Diamond and Silk were to suggest that “Dummycrats,” their favorite smear for blacks who haven’t left the “plantation,” isn’t strong enough? What if they were to say that it would be perfectly justified to call them the N-word? If there is any difference between that scenario and what Bernstein is suggesting here, I don’t see it.
It has become more and more apparent that the deplorables are out to effectively gag any and all criticism of their dear one. What Bernstein is doing here is a particularly ugly example of this trend. Lest you dismiss this as the rantings of a hard-right podcaster, remember that Bernstein and others of his ilk have considerable influence among the most deplorable of the deplorables. As they see it, they are only carrying out the will of their leader. Let’s call this for what it is–undemocratic and un-American.
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