Donald Trump declared Sunday morning that American Jews should “pull themselves together” and give him more support than he currently has in the polls of Jewish voters. Would-be dictator Trump claimed that while he was a staunch ally of Israel during his four-year tenure in the White House. But: “Our wonderful evangelicals appreciate that much more than people of the Jewish faith, especially those who live in the United States.”
That statement, published on his Truth Social platform, ended with a thinly veiled warning that Jews should convert to the Trump camp “before it’s too late!” former US President finding threatening words towards American Jews at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world”.
Trump spoke not only for himself, but also for the fascist elements that now dominate the Republican Party. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene championed the neo-Nazi “Great Replacement” theory at a pro-Trump rally in Arizona and condemned the Biden administration for alleged plans to “replace” white, Christian Americans with black and black immigrants “.
Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano called his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, an elitist who attended a “privileged, exclusive, elite school” and “despises people like us.” The anti-Semitism was clear in this context, since Shapiro is a graduate of the Hebrew Academy in suburban Philadelphia, the Jewish equivalent of a Catholic high school.
These utterances are only the crudest and most overt in a much broader trend. In the 2022 Republican campaign and speeches, Jewish billionaire George Soros will be attacked almost as often as Joe Biden. Soros is a major financial supporter of the Democratic Party and an anti-communist who, in partnership with the US State Department, funded the “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe.
Republican candidates have long used the name of Soros, who escaped the Holocaust in Hungary as a child, to incite anti-Semitic reflexes. Racists who align themselves with the Republican Party understand the keyword “Great Replacement” to mean a Jewish conspiracy with Soros as its main puller. This also served as an occasion for a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
The rise of anti-Semitism in the United States is not confined to, nor can it be explained solely by, the increasingly fascist policies of the Republican Party. The Democratic Party has participated in redefining American politics and history, bringing the question of “race” to the fore. While Republicans seek to appeal to rural and suburban whites, Democrats seek to rally minority “races” and sections of the white upper-middle class, particularly women and gay men, under the banner of identity politics.
Democrats use every means possible to suppress awareness of the common class interests of working people of all races, nationalities and genders.
The Biden administration has been reluctant to condemn the statements made by Trump, Greene, Mastriano and many others, only speaking out to American Jews 24 hours after Trump’s threats. And again, just in response to a question put to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at Monday’s daily news briefing. There was no public statement, and Biden himself said nothing.
Even this muted opposition to anti-Semitism is entirely hypocritical and opportunistic in character. It condemns Trump’s anti-Semitism but covers it up when it serves its own ends, particularly when it comes to US foreign policy, the main focus of which is the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government has elevated Nazi collaborator and mass murderer Stepan Bandera to the rank of “father of the nation” and erected monuments to him across the country. It’s not just an ideological embrace: the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, marching with Waffen-SS symbols, has been integrated into the Ukrainian army, and its members are hailed as national heroes for their role in the war with Russia. Leading US Democrats, including House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, recently met with the Azov Battalion during a visit to Ukraine.
The question of anti-Semitism is of deep historical importance. This is not just a remnant of the primitive, medieval bigotry rooted in the Christian churches and in the prejudices of rural people against a population living mainly in the cities. Modern anti-Semitism emerged in the late 19th century, particularly in Europe, as a weapon of the capitalist class, aiming to deflect class tensions and provide a convenient scapegoat for mass anger at deteriorating social conditions.
This urban anti-Semitism merged with the older, traditional version when capitalism collapsed in the Great Depression. Combined with a brutal hostility to socialism and the labor movement, it became the ideological basis for Hitler’s Nazi party. With the support of the capitalist class, the Nazis seized power in Germany to quell the looming revolution of the working class. They had the resources of the strongest imperialist state in Europe and committed the most outrageous crimes in human history.
Antisemitism takes on a particularly toxic character during times of extreme social and economic crisis, manifesting itself in explosions of violence such as the 2018 Trump-inspired attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which a fascist gunman killed 11, and countless smaller ones incidents. This is a trend not only in the United States, but also across Europe, including Germany.
Anti-Semitism cannot be combated with moral appeals to conscience or with the vain hope that greater tolerance or progress will no longer nurture such prejudice in the 21st century. Anti-Semitism is fueled by the contradictions of the capitalist world system, and these contradictions have been exacerbated rather than diminished with technological development and humanity’s increasing global interconnectedness.
Even less is anti-Semitism to be fought on the basis of Zionism, that bankrupt adherence to the outdated and reactionary framework of the nation-state. In our day and age, globalization makes every nation-state—especially a tiny state based on expulsion or oppression of its former inhabitants—a trap for its people.
The State of Israel’s repressive policies towards the Palestinian people, including the provocative actions of fascist “settler” groups in the West Bank, ultimately weaken the worldwide sympathy for the Jewish people that emerged after the Holocaust.
Recently, any defense of the Palestinian people and any opposition to Zionism has been falsely branded as anti-Semitism. This campaign is particularly vigorous in Britain, Germany and the United States. However, this undermines resistance to bigotry and cultivates an element of cynicism on the issue.
Particularly pernicious is the creation of the myth of “left-wing anti-Semitism,” designed to separate the Jewish people from the socialist and labor movement that has always been their chief defender, ally, and hope for the future.
The Fourth International, the world Trotskyist movement, has always been at the forefront of the world struggle against anti-Semitism. As Leon Trotsky wrote in our founding program:
Before it completely emaciates humanity or drowns it in blood, capitalism pollutes the world atmosphere with the poisonous fumes of ethnic and racial hatred. Anti-Semitism is one of the worst, spasmodic manifestations of capitalist death throes today.
The implacable denunciation of the roots of all racial prejudice, all varieties and shades of national pride and chauvinism, especially anti-Semitism, must be included in the daily work of all sections of the Fourth International as the most important educational work in the struggle against imperialism and war. Our main slogan remains: proletarians of all countries, unite!
In the midst of World War II, as the US government under President Roosevelt turned a blind eye to Nazi death camps, denied entry to Jewish refugees and rejected calls for the bombing of the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz, the Executive Committee of the Fourth International declared:
The Fourth International, leader of the workers in the struggle for world socialism, accepts the Jewish working people into its ranks. Only world socialism can save the Jews, especially the Jewish workers, and all oppressed peoples and races from the terrible fate that world capitalism has inflicted on them and that it has in store for an ever-increasing number of them. Only in world socialism will human brotherhood become a reality and anti-Semitism will only be a terrible memory.
These statements remain the basis of a principled struggle against anti-Semitism, and this requires the political mobilization of the working class to fight for socialism and internationalism. Only the overthrow of capitalism on a world scale can put an end to anti-Semitism and bring real freedom and security to the Jewish people.