Trump’s indictment is unprecedented; antisemitic tropes are not

Commentary

“Soros-backed,” “Soros-funded,” “Puppet-Master Soros,” might be modern expressions of antisemitism, but they are just new ways of showing how history repeats itself

I didn’t intend to write a column today. But a comment from a reader to yesterday’s post, “Unprecedented: Trump Indicted!” (https://around-the-block.com/2023/03/31/unprecedented-trump-indicted/), required a reply sooner than later.

I responded directly to the reader’s comment, “It kills me how Soros sponsored District Attorney keeps coming up!!!!”, replying, “It is horrific. But “what goes around, comes around.” What’s happening now with Soros and the antisemitic tropes, is history repeating itself. I think I might address this issue in another post today. Stay tuned!”.

If you’re reading this, you stayed tuned.

I’m reading a book, “Those Angry Days” by Lynne Olson, which details the battle between the isolationists, whose most famous member and spokesman was Charles Lindbergh, and the interventionists epitomized by President Roosevelt and, in the eyes of many, the “Jewish cabal,” in the lead-up to America’s entry into WWII.

As the The New York Times Book Review noted, “[The book] powerfully [re-creates] the tenebrous* era…Olson captures in spellbinding detail the key figures in the battle between the Roosevelt administration and the isolationist movement.”

*Tenebrous: dark and gloomy. I don’t believe this was a “Word of the Day.

Make no mistake, Olson is very clear that many of those key figures on the isolationist side were antisemites including, although he didn’t think he was, Lindbergh.

I’ve excerpted some passages from “Those Angry Days.” Based on Olson’s extensive research, I hope you’ll agree with me, but not happily, that “’what goes around, comes around.’ What’s happening now with Soros and the antisemitic tropes, is history repeating itself,”

In an infamous speech Lindbergh gave at an America First rally in Des Moines on September 11, 1941, a speech which his wife and confidant, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, begged him not to give, Olson notes;

“The three groups he [Lindbergh] singled out as ‘war agitators’ were the Roosevelt administration, the British, and American Jews (emphasis mine.)”

After reading the speech Olson wrote, “Anne sunk in ‘black gloom,’…worried that his remarks about Jews were ‘segregating them as a group.'” She pointed out to Charles, “Just as Nazis had done in Germany, he was branding Jews as a separate race, whose own agenda was antithetical to the interests of their country”

As Olson sums up Anne’s concerns she writes, “According to Lindbergh’s rhetoric, they were Jews first, Americans second. In short, they were ‘the other.’

In my mind, and for clarity, this is Ted Block, not Lynne Olson, “Jews first, Americans second” kind of reminds me of when Trump told me and other American Jews that Benjamin Netanyahu was “your prime minister.” And based on the recent rise in antisemitism it might be, along with people of color, that Jewish Americans are still among “the other,” horribly demonstrated by the Charlottesville rally when the “good” people on the neo-Nazi side chanted, “We will take our country back” and “You will not replace us”/“Jews will not replace us.”

Olson writes that Lindbergh was naive in his view that he wasn’t antisemitic even though he wrote in his diary, “A few Jews add strength and character to a country, but too many create chaos. And we are getting too many.”

But it wasn’t just Lindbergh. Olson notes that antisemitism ran rampant through the isolationist movement, a movement that, among other things, argued that Jews controlled the dialogue through their ownership of the press.

William L. Langer, a Harvard historian made the point in a 1939 lecture at the U.S. War College: “You have to face the fact that some of our most important American newspapers are Jewish-controlled, and I suppose if I were a Jew, I would feel about Nazi Germany as most Jews feel, and it would be inevitable that the coloring of the news takes on that tinge.”

Langer exemplified his point by singling out the Jewish-owned New York Times, noting that the paper gave “a great deal of prominence” to every little upset that occurs in Germany (editorial note: I have to wonder, given that this lecture was in 1939, if Langer considered 1938’s Kristallnact one of his “little upsets”) while they “soft-peddled the other part of it or put it off with a sneer.” (editorial note: If only I could ask Langer today what were the other, ostensibly “good,” parts.)

And then there was undersecretary of state William Castle.

From “Those Angry Days:” “Antisemitic himself, Castle wrote about frequent gatherings of senior State Department officials in which the maligning of Jews made up a large part of the talk. Describing one dinner party in early 1940, Castle observed, ‘I am afraid that many unpleasant things were said about Jews, so it was as well that the company was small.'”

Or, again from Olson, “General George van Horn Moseley, a former Army deputy chief of staff and one of the country’s most decorated soldiers, [who] advocated mandatory sterilization of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany before they could be admitted to the United States. ‘Only in that way can we properly protect our future,’ Moseley declared.”

Regarding America’s openness to Jewish refugees, Olson writes:

“The U.S. public feared that a new influx of refugees would mean fewer jobs for native-born Americans. Americans also worried that Nazi agents might be planted among the immigrants. [But] unquestionably, antisemitism was also an important factor in fostering the anti-immigrant mood. When a proposal was floated after the 1938 Kristallnact pogrom to take in ten thousand Jewish children from Germany, more that two out of three Americans were against the idea. Britain eventually accepted nine thousand, while the United States took only 240. That meager response stood in stark contrast to Americans’ reaction in 1940 to the idea of providing a haven for British children escaping the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. A Gallup poll estimated five to seven million U.S. families were willing to house young British evacuees for the duration of the war.”

One of the Senate’s leading isolationists was North Dakota Republican senator Gerald Nye.* In recognition of the power of the movies–more than half of Americans saw at least one movie a week in the late 1930s and early 1940s leading the the journal, Christian Century, to note, “We have two education systems in America, the public school system and the movies.”– Nye said that the movie studios were “the most gigantic engines of war propaganda in existence” demanding an immediate Senate investigation of Hollywood and what he saw as its collusion with the Roosevelt administration.” (editorial note: wouldn’t Ron DeSantis and Kevin McCarthy have had a wonderful time in 1940!)

*(Unlike most of today’s issues, the divide between isolationists and interventionists did not necessarily adhere to party lines. The leading Senate isolationist was Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana was a Democrat.)

But Nye wasn’t finished.

Holding the movie studio heads most responsible for “war-mongering,” Nye blamed, according to Olson, “the men who had emigrated from ‘Russia, Hungary, Germany and the Balkan countries and as a result were ‘naturally susceptible’ to ‘racial emotions.’ The senator was clearly referring to Louis B. Meyer, Samuel Goldwyn, the Warner Brothers, and other Jewish film moguls who, according to Nye, ‘came to our land and took citizenship here’ while entertaining violent animosities toward certain causes abroad.’ In the frustration he shared with Wheeler and other isolationists over the media’s negative reaction to their cause, Nye was not only declaring war on Hollywood, he was also raising the specter of antisemitism.”

Is Soros alone? What goes around comes around? History repeating itself? You be the judge.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

3 thoughts on “Trump’s indictment is unprecedented; antisemitic tropes are not

  1. (Some) White Americans, in particular, are high on hating anyone who is not white. They have convinced themselves they are a race superior to every other race, as they define race! I wish I knew how to change this, because we are all human, and need to live together as humans…
    Just as we are living beings, and need to learn to live together as living beings!
    Antisemitism has been a problem since the rise of the Christian religion, despite that the Old Testament of their Bible is in fact a history of the Hebrew (Jewish) people. We are told their nominal leader, Jesus Christ, taught them to love everyone, yet the only ones most of them love are themselves. How did they ever get those directions/instructions so wrong? And is it possible for them to ever get it right?

    Like

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