On Monday night, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump held a rally for supporters in Las Vegas, where the GOP candidates will be taking the debate stage tonight. As has happened at several such gatherings, the event was interrupted by protesters. Then things took an ugly turn.
Security moved in to remove the activists, while attendees showered them with verbal abuse. Reported Benjy Sarlin of NBC News:
As one man was dragged away, people in the crowd variously yelled, “Shoot him!” “Kick his ass,” and “Light the motherf—-r on fire!”
A large middle aged man shouted, “Sieg heil!” — a Nazi Germany-era salute — as the protester was taken away. The man, whose motives were not clear, was far enough from the stage that it was unlikely Trump heard the remark…
“He’s a Muslim!” another man in a glittering black suit shouted as another protester was removed. “He’s a Muslim!”
BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins captured some of the confrontation on video:
And about ten minutes into the Trump rally, this happens. pic.twitter.com/65pXHjsJ3x
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) December 15, 2015
Though shocking, the expression of these bigoted sentiments at the Trump rally should not surprise. While far from all Trump supporters are anti-Semites, anti-Semites have flocked to Trump, particularly on social media, many under the #AltRight banner. (Awkwardly for them, Trump’s daughter Ivanka is an enthusiastic convert to Orthodox Judaism.)
Likewise, the Islamophobia evident in the reaction to the protesters is not unexpected, given Trump has advocated barring all Muslim travelers and immigrants from the United States.
In this manner, the Las Vegas incident reflects the toxic nexus of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim sentiment at the heart of the White Supremacist worldview. To these bigots, religious minorities are seen as aberrations from an ideal homogeneous society. Muslims, being more politically unpopular today, are sometimes more openly targeted, but Jews are considered just as undesirable.
Thus, after Trump announced his intent to halt Muslim immigration, the denizens of the popular neo-Nazi forum Stormfront–which has seen a major traffic spike due to Trump’s candidacy–fretted that the plan might favor the “Zionists” and Jews.