In the Trumpification of the GOP, rising threats confront Jewish Americans

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By Ada Horwich

I am afraid. Each day brings news anew that our nation has lost its moral bearings. Whether it’s the president embracing a dictator while scorning cherished allies, border patrol agents ripping families apart or the rising attacks on minorities, I worry that cruelty, insularity and bullying are becoming the hallmarks of our great nation.


Recently, I was struck by Virginia voters’ selection of Corey Stewart as the Republican candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Tim Kaine for the U.S. Senate. Supported by President Donald Trump, who tweeted out his support in his characteristically cutting manner, Stewart immediately promised he would run a “vicious” campaign.

“Vicious,” he said. Not one that is fair or even tough. But vicious. It’s language that prior to Trump’s entry on the national political scene, we never heard from so-called mainstream candidates.

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Corey Stewart, though, represents the kind of candidate Trump embraces — and it seems he represents the Trumpification of the Republican Party.

Stewart has in part built his political career in recent years as a hard-liner on immigration and supporter of Confederate symbols in public spaces. On immigration, he boasts about the “crackdown” on undocumented immigrants in Prince William County, where he chairs the Board of Supervisors. Under his chairmanship, the board passed a law requiring local law enforcement to determine the immigration status of anyone detained if there was suspicion that the individual was in the country without documentation. These types of policies that allow for discretion on the part of local law enforcement open the door to racial profiling, among other abuses.


Stewart believes in preserving Confederate symbols such as statues, names of buildings or streets and the flying of the Confederate flag, ignoring the pain that such symbols bring to so many African-Americans, not even acknowledging, as other officeholders have, that context should accompany such symbols if they are to remain. Instead, he argues that the Confederate flag simply represents Southern heritage and is not tainted by racism. “Politicians who are for destroying the monuments, statues and other artifacts of history are just like ISIS,” he has said.

When white supremacists marched in Charlottesville last year, Stewart, rather than denouncing them, took his cue from Trump and claimed that “half of that violence was committed by left-wingers.” He criticized fellow Republicans for their condemnations of the neo-Nazis and has joined Jason Kessler, the white nationalist who organized that rally, in protesting the Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Stewart also has embraced Paul Nehlen, the anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic Wisconsin Republican who has wondered why “we have Muslims in this country” and who was banned from Twitter after posting a list of media executives he identified as Jewish or married to Jews.

Stewart’s victory in the Virginia GOP primary indicates the terrifying direction that the party has taken since the election of Trump. Furthermore, it dashes hopes that Trump was a momentary blip in the history of the Republican Party that would pass with the next election cycle.

For Jewish Americans, Stewart’s victory in the primary is a reminder that we will always have to contend with the dark forces of anti-Semitism and hatred even in this country that has been so welcoming to us.

It’s imperative that we seek out others who are threatened by the rising tide of white Christian nationalism, neo-Confederate ideas and the alt right. Together we must work to make sure that this moment is indeed a moment and that this country moves toward a more inclusive future.

The first step in that fight is the defeat of Corey Stewart and like-minded Republicans in the November general election.

Ada Horwich, a retired clinical social worker and political activist, is a board member of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I wholeheartedly concur with Ada Horwich about the bigger threat of anti-Semitism coming from the political far right. We only need to look at the Neo-Nazi political candidates running on the Republican ticket. Although the GOP party organizations have formally condemned them, the fact that white supremacists feel they can advance their cause through a major political party led by a president who implicitly supports them, sets them apart from the threat from anti-semites on the left.

    To put it another way, we did not see BDS supporters or Treyvon White, as disturbing as they are, marching with kiki torches in Charlottesville chanting, “Blood and soil! Jews will not replace us!”

  2. Senator Tim Kain was Hillary’s choice as running mate. Kaine revealed himself to be a hard left extremist who was also hostile to Israel and to Jewish values. you can say a bracha over ham but the ham is still treif. As a lifelong Democrat I want progressiveness and not regression.

  3. A vote for Corey Stewart is a vote for Bibi Netanyahu and in support of the safety and security of the holy State of Israel.

    After all, the Jewish State is a shining example of- indeed provides a robust template for- what constitutes an ethno-nationalist state.

    Don’t take my word for it; just ask (Zionist Organization of America national president-for-life) Mort Klein’s BFF, Steve Bannon.

    Furthermore, when Jew (as in “Jews will not replace us”) is a synonym for progressive, secular globalist, then some very Jewish Jews – i.e., the Orthodox- become anti-Jewish.

    As for the Confederate monuments controversy: let us recall that both d’oraita and d’rabbanan, slavery is regarded as a perfectly valid institution; so much so, that no takkanah has ever been issued to the contrary (unlike the case with Biblical polygamy). And while the Union forces had the infamous General Order 11, Judah P. Benjamin served as Secretary of State of the Confederacy. Indeed, any expert in American Jewish history will tell you that during the Civil War period, Jewry fared better under the Stars and Bars than under the Stars and Stripes. Further, many Talmudic sages owned slaves. If the achievements of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are to be nullified because they were slave-owners- and thus their statues torn down- then, as a matter of logic and consistency, the halachic rulings which slavers helped promulgate should likewise be ‘torn down’- i.e., declared null-and-void.

    Tradition!

    Real Jews, God-fearing Jews, Torah-loving Jews unabashedly endorse Mr. Stewart.

    The intermarried and other JINOs need not apply.

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