For over 50 years, former ADL CEO Abe Foxman, American Jewry’s foremost leader in the fight against bigotry and antisemitism, remained nonpartisan. This year he chose to speak out for fear that a second Trump term — after the last four years in which the president has consistently undermined the courts, free press, electoral system and other key institutions of our democracy — would severely threaten Jewish security. As Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, knows all too well — Jews, historically, suffer under authoritarian governments:
“Trump’s presidency — in spirit and in deed — has given succor to bigots, supremacists, and those seeking to divide our society. He and his administration dehumanize immigrants, demonize the most vulnerable, and undermine the civility and enlightened political culture that have allowed Jews to achieve what no Diaspora community outside Israel can claim in two millennia….I have known Joe Biden for many years, and I have confidence he will restore the equilibrium that has been lost. He has been an ally, and he has repeatedly pledged to aggressively fight anti-Semitism. I am confident he and Kamala Harris will not back down from confronting Israel’s enemies and detractors, even if they emerge within their own party.”
- Emory University Professor Deborah Lipstadt characterizes Trump as an antisemitism “enabler.” In her book “Anti-Semitism: Here and Now,” she asserts that in his rhetoric Trump has “hit almost every millennial-old anti-Semitic stereotype.”
- One of the classic antisemitic tropes is the accusation of “dual loyalty,” a trope Trump has used repeatedly by telling American Jews that Netanyahu is “your prime minister,” and that Israel is “your country.”
- According to the Anti-Defamation League, 2019 saw the highest level of antisemitic hate crimes since tracking began in 1979. Almost all violence against Jews has come from far-right Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, like those that marched in Charlottesville. [Trump: “there are very fine people, on both sides.”]
- The murderer of Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the worst attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, was inspired by Trump’s false warning that there was an “invasion” taking place on our southern border.
- Trump refuses to condemn QAnon, a bizarre group growing in the U.S. and around the world, which promotes conspiracy theories implying there is a Jewish cabal responsible for many of the world’s ills. When Republican congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, who openly espouses QAnon conspiracy theories, won a safe seat in Georgia in August, Trump described her as a “Future Republican star.” She received an invitation to the Republican National Convention. He congratulated Laura Loomer (R-Fl) on her primary victory. Loomer, a QAnon supporter, has been banned by social media and other platforms for spreading hate speech.
- Trump sees antisemitism only on the far left. Biden — who decided to enter the presidential race because of Trump’s outrageous Charlottesville comments — for over forty years in public life has unequivocally condemned hatred against Jews regardless of the source. He has not hesitated to take on those on the left whose modern form of antisemitism takes the form of rejecting Israel’s legitimacy as the nation state of the Jewish people.
- Jews are at risk when there is extreme political polarization and civil unrest, which have been stoked by Trump these last four years. It is no surprise that an ADL survey released last April found that two-thirds of American Jews believe they are less safe today than they were a decade ago.
- Biden is capable and ready to heal the nation’s wounds and bring us together. This is good for Jewish security, and good for the security of all Americans. As he said in his acceptance speech, “The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division.”
Martin J. Raffel for 27 years was lead professional at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs on Israel, Human Rights and Global Antisemitism and now serves on the Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania (DJOP) board.