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Trump’s Final ‘Argument for America’ Ad Is Rife With Anti-Semitic Tropes

A fitting end to an ugly campaign that has given the hateful David Duke a platform

Jonathan Zalman
November 07, 2016

At the moment, the general sentiment surrounding the election seems not to center on policy, but about what liquor to drink as the results pour in. And I get it. We all get it. It’s been a long, long election cycle, especially for those of us who have a memory of what it is like to be discriminated against, crapped on, othered.

And so it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump’s closing campaign ad once again nurtures the anti-Semitic language and motifs that have been a campaign calling card—and one that has mainstreamed a nasty, aggressive, hateful mind-set. (We’ve covered this bigotry for months in our #TrumpWatch column.) Here it is:

As Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo points out, “the four readily identifiable American bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clinton, George Soros (Jewish financier), Janet Yellen (Jewish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs CEO).” The messaging of the ad, he argues, is “by design.”

These are standard anti-Semitic themes and storylines, using established anti-Semitic vocabulary lined up with high profile Jews as the only Americans other than Clinton who are apparently relevant to the story… [T]he Jews come up to punctuate specific key phrases. Soros: “those who control the levers of power in Washington”; Yellen “global special interests”; Blankfein “put money into the pockets of handful of large corporations.”
This #Trump ad touches on images and rhetoric that anti-Semites have used for ages

— ADL (@ADL_National) November 6, 2016

It’s mind-boggling when you compare this video—and other similar Trump ads that tout a highly nationalistic, “take back America” line—to those ads run by David Duke, a former KKK member who has been campaigning for a Louisiana Senate seat on the coattails of Trump.

Here’s example A, with Duke talking after a recent debate about “special interests” and “money,” and on and on, otherwise touching upon a number of Trump’s talking points.

Or example B, with Duke touting an online poll that showed he won the debate in a landslide, and his patrolling of Mexico’s border, before telling viewers to “take America back.”

Or example C, in which Duke talks about how immigrants “will destroy our country,” and how we need to “defend our heritage.” (Trump never goes as far as Duke on the “heritage” front. After all, Duke is a humongous, unabashed racist who says that “European Americans” need someone to stand up for them, since African Americans and Jewish Americans and Mexican Americans already do.) Duke then says, “Vote for Trump for President and David Duke for the U.S Senate.”

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.