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The mask drops: Trump uses Israel to justify unhinged racism

John Bell

July 15, 2019

All pretence and disguises are gone. Donald Trump slipped the leash and launched a vile, racist twitter attack against four Democratic members of congress–all young women of colour–telling them:

“So interesting to see 'progressive' Democrat congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run.

“Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can't leave fast enough.”

It doesn’t matter that three, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley are born in the US, or that the fourth, Ilhan Omar is a naturalized US citizen. Such facts don’t matter to Trump’s base. Remember that Trump’s political rise began when he championed the “birtherist” conspiracy theory against Barak Obama.

The media loudly condemned Trump’s statements. Even British PM Teresa May, no slouch when it comes to racist policies, denounced him. Trump responded by heaping one vile insult upon another.

“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of Communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they’re calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards, they accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the Benjamin’s, they are Anti-Semitic, they are Anti-America, we don’t need to know anything about them personally, talk about their policies.”

Some of his tweets would be funny if they weren’t so grotesque: “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”

Again and again Trump used the state of Israel as a sort of justification for his racist and sexist rants. The four have been critical of Israel’s increasingly blatant apartheid policies. More important, they have been in the lead organizing opposition to Trump’s refugee detention policies. It was AOC who deliberately used the term “concentration camps”, and rallied support for use of the term from holocaust survivors and historians.

Worse for Trump and, in the long term for the Israeli state, large groups of young American Jews are leading protests outside the camps. News footage showing ICE agents arresting young Jewish activists holding banners saying “Never Again Is Now” is bad optics for Trump.

Whenever Trump is under attack he goes on the offensive, and that generally means cranking up the racist rhetoric. Now the scandals are piling up around him knee deep. As if six dead children in his camps wasn’t bad enough, Trump is being implicated in a child sex ring organized by his long-time friend Jeffrey Epstein. Trump’s Labor Secretary was forced to resign from cabinet over his ties to Epstein. And the trail leads on to Trump’s Attorney General William Barr, the guy who got Trump off the hook of the Mueller report.

All this was proving to be too much even for his loyal base. Time to toss them some red meat, racist style. Look for more of the same, or worse, in days to come.

Racist rhetoric fuels hate crimes

Advocates of abstract “free speech” ignore the fact that many of Trump’s racist supporters take his words as license for violent homophobic, sexist, racist or anti-Semitic attacks.

A new study by the University of North Texas has examined Trump’s trail. Researchers found that counties that had hosted a Donald Trump rally saw a 226% increase in reported hate crimes. Although they hesitated to attribute all of the increase to Trump alone, the correlation is impossible to ignore.

Overall, from 2017 to 2018 the US saw a 17% rise in hate crimes. Attacks on LGBTQ2 people led the way, both in number and levels of violence.

Attacks against Muslims and Jews, whether persons or places of worship have become regular occurrences. And increases are not restricted to the US, as reactionary politicians like Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer in Canada, or Boris Johnson in the UK, parrot Trump’s rhetoric.

Trump’s “Go back where you came from” gives every white supremacist in the sound of his voice permission to act on their hatred and fear.


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