In what appeared to be a knee-jerk reaction, Democrats have sought to lay the blame for the fatal shooting spree at the Chabad shul in Poway, California, on the last day of Pesach, at the feet of Donald Trump, for allegedly encouraging acts of bigotry and hatred by his right-wing followers. But there is no evidence to support those claims. The angry white gunmen who were responsible for both the fatal shootings in Poway, and at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, six months ago, had declared that they hated Trump and viewed him as an ally of the Jews they were attacking.
The 19-year-old Poway shooter, John Earnest, who killed Mrs. Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, a pillar of that community, and wounded three others, had just proclaimed in his manifesto that, “I am not a conservative,” as well as his disdain for Trump for being “Jew-loving” and “traitorous.”
Those facts contradict the political narrative promoted by Trump’s opponents, who claim that he was elected because his campaign message implicitly appealed to right-wing white nationalist racists and anti-Semites. Therefore, they hold Trump at least partially responsible for all of their acts of violence.
But liberals and the media realize that most Americans no longer pay much attention to these important but under-reported details about these attacks which have become increasingly common. Trump’s critics ignored the inconvenient fact that the synagogue shooters in Philadelphia and Poway hated Trump and were not incited to violence by his “Make America Great Again” rhetoric.
DEMOCRAT ANSWERS TO FIT THEIR NARRATIVE, NOT THE FACTS
When CNN asked the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, Illinois’ Dick Durbin, about the Poway shooting, he rhetorically asked, “Why do these people feel they have license now to attack synagogues?” and then immediately supplied his predictable answer, “This has really been fomented because of the rhetoric we’re hearing from the White House.”
California Senator Kamala Harris, who is currently polling far behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in the race for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, blamed Trump by innuendo for the recent attacks on places of worship, saying that they “are borne out of hate which has received new fuel in these last two years.”
On the other hand, Joy Behar, an anti-Trump co-host on ABC, was much more direct in blaming Trump for encouraging the recent spate of deadly attacks. “He’s provocative. He gives dog whistles constantly to these people. Take responsibility for your actions, Mr. President,” Behar declared. “You are the culprit!”
In an effort to show off its cultural diversity, MSNBC’ asked Mehdi Hasan, a British-born Shiite Muslim reporter for Al Jazeera, to blame the recent attacks on “you know who.” Hasan complained, “We have a president who not only will not acknowledge that we have an epidemic of white-nationalist terror, he’s providing the mood music for it.”
“This president has emboldened neo-Nazis and white nationalists in this country,” said Waleed Shahid, the communications director of Justice Democrats, an advocacy group for progressive activists.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough remarked, “White nationalists say he [Trump] has inspired them to take a far more public and aggressive stance in Trump’s America.”
“I think the president needs to look in the mirror and understand that the rhetoric, the words he uses in all of this, inflame a big part of what’s going on in America, give permission to the most craziest people in America,” said New York Times columnist Matthew Dowd on ABC.
IT’S ALWAYS TRUMP’S FAULT, EVEN WHEN IT’S NOT
All these comments illustrate the now-standard approach of Trump’s critics. Whenever there is a violent attack against a religious institution, school or public entertainment event, they will ignore the specific details and facts revealing the true motivations of the attacker, and immediately place the blame on Trump as the only one responsible for the volatile general atmosphere of resentment which permeates American society today, as if the past two years they have spent demonizing the president and urging the public confrontation and intimidation of anyone who dares to publicly defend him have nothing to do with it.
Fox News commentator Deroy Murdock attributes this behavior to a psychological phenomenon known as projection, which, in this case, is exhibited by Democrat accusers redirecting their criticism of a bad trait of their own at their Republican opponents.
IGNORING MRS. CLINTON’S EARLY RUSSIAN COLLUSION
Murdock cites the recent example of Democrats accusing Donald Trump and members of his campaign of criminally colluding with Russian agents to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Yet the same Democrats turned a blind eye to the key role that Mrs. Clinton played while she was Obama’ secretary of state in securing a national security panel’s approval for the Uranium One deal in 2010, which enabled Russia’s Rosatom state-owned nuclear energy company to buy control of 20 percent of America’s uranium ore deposits, the main raw material in the production of nuclear weapons.
The Russian-owned American subsidiary of Rosatom was under criminal investigation at the time by the FBI for bribery and other offenses, yet thanks in part to Mrs. Clinton’s support, the Obama administration green-lighted the sale. In return, the Canadian businessmen who sold Uranium One to the Russians for a huge profit, rewarded the Clintons by making a $145 million donation to the Clinton family charitable foundation, whose ultimate source was not reported, violating an agreement Clinton had made with the Obama White House as a condition for being offered the post of secretary of state. In addition, two weeks after the Uranium One sale was announced, Bill Clinton earned a $500,000 fee from a Russian bank for a speech he delivered in Moscow.
Yet there was no outcry from many of the same leading Democrats and their supporters in the media at that time that the free flow of Russian cash into Clinton coffers might unfairly influence the decisions that Mrs. Clinton would make after she was widely expected to become the next Democrat president to be elected in 2016.
MEDIA NOW FEELS FREE TO IGNORE TRUMP FACTS
By the same token, the mainstream media is so committed to supporting the anti-Trump narrative it has built up over the past three years that it now refuses to report relevant facts about the president’s background and his current actions which would contradict the image of Trump they have built up as the primary promoter of bigotry and hatred in America today.
For example, when they accuse Trump of being insensitive to anti-Semitism, they totally ignore his history of support for Israel going at least as far back as 2004, when Trump was the grand marshal of New York City’s annual Salute to Israel Parade.
Trump has also welcomed and spoken warmly about the Jews who are now members of his family, and his Jewish grandchildren. He developed close and trusting ties with Orthodox Jews in his business, and formed lasting friendships before he entered politics with Israeli government leaders, including Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu.
Trump was the first president to actually keep his campaign promises to American Jewish voters to move the US embassy to Yerushalayim and to formally recognize the city as Israel’s capital. Trump has accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s claims to captured territories in the West Bank and the Golan Heights, as well as Israel’s unconditional right to strike back at its enemies, including Iran and its terrorist proxies, when they attack from Gaza or try to establish forward military installations in Syrian territory.
At the same time, since Trump took office, US diplomats at the UN have demanded an end to the organization’s grossly unfair treatment of Israel, while extending the already close military cooperation between the Pentagon and the IDF to an unprecedented level. While Trump has long been talking up his hopes of promoting a successful peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, unlike his predecessor, he has been careful to avoid publicly criticizing Israeli policies in the West Bank and East Yerushalayim, or pressuring the government for concessions to the Palestinians.
Trump has also rolled back President Obama’s controversial 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, which almost led to a major breach in US-Israeli relations, and turned US support for Israel into a partisan political issue for the first time.
MISREPRESENTING TRUMP’S PRO-JEWISH GESTURES
Around the world, and in this country, anti-Zionism has become the face of contemporary anti-Semitism. Yet, while liberals deflect blame for increasingly frequent outbreaks of anti-Semitic statements, thinly cloaked in anti-Zionism, within their own ranks, they refuse to recognize the significance of Trump’s unprecedented pro-Israel policies and his supportive and sympathetic rhetoric and actions on behalf of Jews who come under attack.
For example, last October, when Trump paid a visit to Pittsburgh to demonstrate his concern for the victims of the attack which killed 11 Jews in the Tree of Life synagogue, the mainstream media openly urged local Jewish leaders to protest his presence, and the rabbi of the congregation was publicly criticized for agreeing to meet with the president.
Last week, the president highlighted his support for the victims of the attack on Chabad of Poway when he hosted a National Day of Prayer ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. He said: “We will fight with all of our strength and everything that we have in our bodies to defeat anti-Semitism, to end the attacks on the Jewish people, and to conquer all forms of persecution, intolerance, and hate.”
POWAY RABBI’S WORDS OF THANKS
Trump welcomed the shul’s rabbi, who responded with gratitude for the president’s gestures of support. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein said, “I’d like to thank our dear, honorable Mr. President for being, as they say in Yiddish, a ‘mensch par excellence.’ Mr. President, when you called me [during the evening after the shooting], I was at home weeping. You were the first person who began my healing. You heal people in their worst of times, and I’m so grateful for that.”
Trump shared the Rose Garden podium with Army veteran Oscar Stewart and Border Patrol agent Jonathan Morales, who risked their lives to scare the shooter into leaving the shul before he could fire all of his bullets, no doubt saving many lives that day. Trump said, “This morning, we are privileged to be in the presence of heroes who raced after the murderer and helped disrupt the attack at the Poway synagogue.”
In his first public comments since the shooting at the shul, Morales said, “It was supposed to be a joyous, festive event and we were attacked with our backs turned.” Stewart had halted the shooting by charging at the gunman after his gun jammed, screaming at the top of his lungs, causing the shooter to lower his rifle and start running for his car parked outside. Morales then shouted to Stewart to halt his pursuit so that he would out of the line of fire when Morales shot at the gunman’s car with his weapon, which Rabbi Goldberg had asked him to carry while in shul.
Stewart’s message to those at the Rose Garden ceremony was, “We need to be strong because that’s the only way we can defeat evil. Do not be afraid to be who you are. Be proud and lift yourself up.”
After the White House ceremony, Rabbi Goldstein told reporters, “To hear the president talk about Chabad of Poway, talk about our synagogue in San Diego, and to talk about Lori Kaye is what American spirit is truly about. We are one nation, we are one for all, and all for one.”
In a message to the Jewish community, Goldstein added, “Let’s show the terrorists that if they try to scare us by showing up to our house of worship, we’re going to fill up the rooms.”
Meanwhile the gunman, a 19-year-old local college student named John T. Earnest, has been charged with one count of murder with a gun, under hate-crime special circumstances, three counts of attempted murder, and one count of arson of a house of worship related to a fire that was set at a mosque in Escondido last month, less than nine miles from the Chabad shul in Poway.
TRUMP TRIBUTE TO POWAY VICTIMS WENT LARGELY UNREPORTED
The appearance of a wounded rabbi who had lost his finger in the attack, and the brave members of the congregation who ignored the risk to their own lives to chase the shooter away, had turned a usually routine Rose Garden ceremony into a powerfully emotional event. Yet, it was totally ignored by the featured evening-news broadcasts of three major networks. CBS, NBC and ABC were unwilling to dedicate any of their air time to contradict the anti-Trump narrative by showing viewers that their president really does condemn anti-Semitism in no uncertain terms, and praises those who stand up and fight it for their courage.
According to Brent Baker, the vice president of the Media Research Center, “It’s almost as if the press corps were trying to suppress anyone learning about anything that contradicts their view of Trump as a racist promoter of white nationalism and anti-Semitism, which would, of course, confirm Trump’s disdain for the media.”
Trump’s words of comfort and support for the Jewish community are not limited to times of tragedy. During his State of the Union address on February 5, Trump declared, “We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.” Trump also introduced two of his Jewish guests sitting in the House gallery: Dachau survivor Joshua Kaufman and Herman Zeitchik, a World War II veteran who liberated that Nazi concentration camp, and praised their courage.
Even when covering a live Trump event, hostile cable news network reporters routinely challenge the sincerity of the president’s words. For example, when Trump addressed a rally of his supporters in Green Bay, Wisconsin, six hours after the shooting at the Chabad of Poway, he said, “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”
But CNN reporter Don Lemon, who was hosting the program which aired Trump’s statement live, was quick to remind his audience that Trump is often criticized for “trafficking in bigotry, in racism, in anti-Semitism, in hate, and making excuses for us.” Lemon added, “One has to wonder as a thinking, rational person, if he means those words and if they ring hollow to Americans who have been looking for him to say those things.”
But for Rabbi Goldstein, at least, Trump’s words of solace carried a real impact. “I received a personal phone call from our president, Donald Trump,” Rabbi Goldstein said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever spoken to a president of the United States of America. He shared with me condolences on behalf of the United States of America … And he spoke about his love of peace and Judaism and Israel. And he was just so comforting that I’m really grateful to our president for taking the time and making that effort to share with us his comfort and consolation.
“He was so gracious and generous with his words. Exceedingly comforting to me, my community. He spoke to me like a friend, like a buddy,” Goldstein exclaimed in gratitude.
AN EMBARRASSING DEMOCRATIC SILENCE
Meanwhile, Trump’s outspoken and apparently sincere pledges of friendship for Israel, and condemnations of all forms of bigotry including anti-Semitism, stand in sharp contrast to the sudden inability or unwillingness of Democrats to recognize and clearly reject blatantly and deliberate anti-Semitic statements coming from within their own ranks.
Their sudden blindness to anti-Semitism became painfully obvious earlier this year when House Democrats were unable to muster a majority within their own caucus to condemn the anti-Semitic comments of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of the two female Muslim members of the House, and an outspoken critic of Israel who has openly questioned the loyalty of its American supporters. Instead, to the extreme embarrassment of Jewish Democrats in Congress, the best they could do was to pass a tepid blanket condemnation of “all forms of hatred,” barely mentioning anti-Semitism in passing, and lacking any censure of Congresswoman Omar by name.
This slap on the wrist for Omar must be compared with the recent actions by Republicans which harshly disciplined their fellow congressman, Steve King of Iowa, for his white nationalism rhetoric with a formal personal censure, by name, and the removal of his House committee assignments.
DEMOCRATS EMBRACE ISRAEL’S LIBERAL ENEMIES
Democrats are also eager to please liberal special interest groups with an anti-Israel agenda. These include the organization known as MoveOn.org, which called upon all Democrat presidential hopefuls to boycott AIPAC’s March policy conference in Washington, DC. Eager to gain the support of the well-funded political activist group, Senators Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke decided to risk insulting thousands of American supporters of Israel attending the annual event by staying away.
Many black Democrat political leaders, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have also refused to disassociate themselves from anti-Semites, including the notorious Louis Farrakhan, the outspoken leader of the Nation of Islam who preaches against the “Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan” and who praises Hitler as “a very great man.” Democrats also treat as one of their leaders the Reverend Al Sharpton, who helped to instigate the Crown Heights riots in 1991 and then defended the black man who murdered Lubavitcher chossid Yankel Rosenbaum, Hy”d.
Democrats have also been disturbingly silent in the face of ultra-liberal and pro-Palestinian campus groups who have mercilessly harassed and sought to silence any pro-Israel student or professor who objects to the relentless barrage of “anti-Zionist” criticism, or push back against the BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions) movement.
ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
The New York Times, which not long ago was still the most respected media outlet in the world, has also joined in the popularization of the most outrageous anti-Semitic cartoon stereotypes. On April 25, its international edition published a syndicated cartoon which depicted a blind, yarmulke-clad Trump being guided by a dog who had the face of Binyamin Netanyahu, along with a Star of David around its neck. The cartoon sparked immediate cries of protest, to which the Times responded with an editorial note which called the publication of the cartoon an “error in judgement” but which did not include an apology. It only published a full apology and explanation for how the cartoon got published when the protests increased in volume and intensity in reaction to the paper’s feeble initial response.
Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz blasted the Times in a commentary he wrote in The Hill, which noted that, “One of the weapons of hate against Jews deployed by Nazi Germany were cartoons and caricatures that depicted Jews as subhuman animals, often as dogs or spiders.” But the Times apology for the April 25 cartoon was just as insincere as it regularly accuses Trump of being. On April 29, demonstrating its own projection tendencies, the Times published a second cartoon depicting a blind Netanyahu posing for a selfie with a stone tablet emblazoned with a Star of David.
While loudly preaching tolerance and diversity, and shouting “anti-Semite!” at Trump, Murdock says the progressive Left and Democrats have become the mainstream society’s keepers of anti-Semitism’s flame.
TRUMP ENVOY FIGHTS ANTI-SEMITISM AROUND THE WORLD
It would probably surprise Trump’s critics who accuse him of silently promoting anti-Semitism to learn that the Trump State Department has established a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. The designated envoy, Elan Carr, said during a visit to Israel that, “The United States is willing to review its relationship with any country, and certainly anti-Semitism on the part of a country with whom we have relations is a deep concern; I will be raising that issue in bilateral meetings that I am undertaking all over the world. That is something we are going to have frank and candid conversations about — behind closed doors.”
Carr declined to discuss specific countries or leaders with whom the Trump administration is likely to raise the issue. “I obviously can’t comment on diplomatic tools that we might bring to bear,” he said. “Each country is a different diplomatic challenge, a different situation. . . If I started disclosing what we might do, it would be less effective.”
US RECOGNIZES ANTI-ZIONISM AS ANTI-SEMITISM
Carr said that part of his mission is to implement a declaration made by Secretary of State Mike Ponpeo that the US now considers any declaration of anti-Zionism, meaning opposition to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish homeland, as a form of anti-Semitism, and that the US is determined to “fight it relentlessly” around the world.
The envoy added that Pompeo’s statement had made clear “something that a lot of us who are involved in the Jewish world and a lot of us who are proponents of a strong US-Israel relationship have known for quite some time, and that is that one of the chief flavors of anti-Semitism in the world today is the flavor that conceals itself under anti-Zionism.”