Considering that fully half of the electorate voted for a different candidate, it is only natural that at least in some circles, dismay would ensue in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprising victory. The mass protests in a number of major cities that followed last Tuesday night’s results allowed the most upset to let off steam. But, in the end, the demonstrations were and are pointless. A free and fair election took place, the electoral votes were tallied and the winner won.
Whether any or all of Mr. Trump’s pledges during the campaign will be actualized, tempered or entirely discarded is, of course, unknown. But, as some of them were undeniably radical, concerns about what President-elect Trump will actually do as chief executive, were understandable — as were the concerns shared by many about what Secretary Clinton would have done had she been elected. What are not, though, are concerns about his being somehow anti-Semitic.
Like those voiced by Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she was the chair of the Democratic National Committee. “The anti-Semitism that is threaded throughout the Republican Party of late,” she asserted, “goes straight to the feet of Donald Trump.” Mr. Trump, she added, has “clearly demonstrated” anti-Semitism “throughout his candidacy.”
Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College, is of similar mind, titling an opinion piece he wrote shortly before Election Day: “Donald Trump Is a Serial Anti-Semite.”
The “evidence” for Mr. Trump’s alleged Jew-hatred includes an image — as it turned out, borrowed by a campaign underling from a white supremacist website — of Hillary Clinton accompanied by mounds of money and a six-pointed star. And jocular comments he made to a group of Republican Jewish donors about not needing their money.
Much was made, too, of hateful comments sent by assorted racists to Jewish journalists who wrote critically about Mr. Trump. And of the fact that Mr. Trump was endorsed by distasteful people and groups like hater David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.
Liberal media that cater to Jewish readerships grabbed that misshapen ball and ran with it. Some still are.
In the final days before the election, those insistent on portraying Mr. Trump as anti-Jewish pointed to an ad run by his campaign as presenting a subtle version of a classic anti-Semitic trope. Noting its reference to “global special interests” as standing in the way of American economic progress, and its inclusion of images of Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen, left-wing ideologue George Soros and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein — all Jewish — the critics charged that the ad implied a Jewish cabal. But the ad also shows both Clintons, President Obama, FBI chief James Comey and groups of Mexican and Chinese officials, all of whom are, presumably non-Jews.
Alarm has also been raised by some over things like Nazi imagery or slogans alongside references to Mr. Trump that were recently found in an upstate New York town and scrawled on a Philadelphia storefront.
Odious as those comments, endorsements and graffiti are, though, the charges of Mr. Trump’s anti-Semitism are without any basis in fact.
It isn’t necessary to invoke his daughter, who converted to Judaism, and Jewish son-in-law (and grandchildren, whom he often refers to as his Jewish progeny). Or the Trump Organization’s observant Jewish chief financial officer and general counsel. Or the award he received from the Jewish National Fund, or his having been grand marshal of the New York Israel Day parade.
Those indications that he has no animus for Jews aren’t needed for one simple reason: there is simply no evidence to the contrary.
Mr. Trump cannot be blamed for missteps of underlings, or for support he has received from ugly corners. He disavowed the sentiments of Duke and company; and couldn’t have been, and can’t be, expected to respond each time a malign mind embraced his candidacy or celebrates his election.
Anti-Semites may be hopeful that Mr. Trump shares their views, but wishes aren’t horses. Yes, the president-elect has said things that seemed insulting to various groups. But no one should be subject to tarring with the anti-Semite brush unless he has indeed expressed animus for Jews. Mr. Trump never has, and he is hardly reticent.
And yes, there is certainly cause for concern over the fact that bubbles of anti-Semitism erupted in the populace during and after the presidential campaign. That reminder, as we go about our lives in comfort and security, that the land of the free is not free of Jew-hatred is an important and useful one.
But it is no reason to fear the man soon to take up residence in the White House.