What Ron DeSantis’ silence on anti-Semitic messages in Jacksonville says about the GOP

What Ron DeSantis’ silence on anti-Semitic messages in Jacksonville says about the GOP

It’s been almost two whole days since the words “Kanye is right about the Jews”. shown on a screen at the TIAA Bank Field stadium in Jacksonville, Florida (and on another building in that city) – a reference to Kanye “Ye” West’s recent anti-Semitic comments which were directly out of the notorious forgery and the roadmap for antisemitic conspiracy theories, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

the governor of the state, Ron DeSantiswho was in attendance at the game, did not say anything publicly about the messages, either as other leaders condemned them. This includes his Democratic opponent for governor, Charlie Crist (a former congressman and governor himself), which broke DeSantis’ silence as a “disgusting and utter failure of leadership”.

As of Monday morning, DeSantis’ office declined to comment on the incident. This craven silence has become a trend for the GOP star governor, the main contender to be Trump’s successor as GOP leader.

According to The Forward, DeSantis failed to call out anti-Semitism when neo-Nazi crowds displayed swastikas, hailed “our glorious leader Ron DeSantis” or hung “Heil Hitler flags.” And while DeSantis has cultivated relationships with Jewish groups, he has tried to have it both ways — as Trump has — by sending clear messages that he will tolerate hate speech. Even like Trump, he’s not over it deals with anti-Semitic tropes.

DeSantis released campaign ads that included Christian nationalist pastor Larry Jinks, which was quoted as saying, “We are called to be in contrast with any religion that does not recognize Jesus as the Prince of Peace and the only way to the Father.” Jinks, earlier this year, he wrote on his Facebook page“It is a shame that the Jews, who should know better,” rejected Jesus as their Messiah.

DeSantis also trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes, vilifying Democrats as puppets of financier George Soros and condemning an officer who dismissed as “Backed by Soros.”

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis at the Florida-Georgia college football game on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Logan Bowles via AP

Florida’s governor has actively campaigned for candidates who embrace anti-Semitic ideas and signs, perhaps most notably, another prominent GOP gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, currently running for Pennsylvania’s chief executive. Mastriano has attracted much deserved criticism not so veiled attacks on his opponent’s religion, Josh Shapiro, and for his support of a far-right media platform called Gab. Mastriano has accepted donations from right-wing extremists and accused Soros, a Holocaust survivor, of being a Nazi collaborator.

While anti-Semitism in high places in the GOP is not new…the embrace of anti-Semitic tropes, anti-Jewish bigots, and silence in the face of anti-Semitism is stunning in its brazenness.

In recent weeks, other incidents of GOP anti-Semitism have included a social media outburst by Trump himself, warning Jews to “get their act together” before “it’s too late” — employing the old discredited tactic of suggesting that American Jews have dual loyaltiessometimes prioritize Israel over this country.

The GOP’s House Judiciary Committee Twitter account has yet to delete a tweet from earlier this month that simply read “Kanye. Elon. Trump”-involving support for the disgraced rapper, whose career has taken a nosedive in recent weeks for his overt anti-Semitism. Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake expressed support for another Republican with a “well-documented history of anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks” and claimed he had been attacked by “the Soros media,” according to a report in 2015. Jewish insider.

One wonders if DeSantis, a shrewd political operative, feels that strongly condemning the despicable anti-Semitic messages in Jacksonville would alienate some crucial voters in the GOP base, just a week before the midterm elections.

All this happens at a time when anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have reached record levels a total of 2,717 reported incidents in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, was quoted by The Washington Post as saying: “Empirically, something is different. The level of public animosity towards the Jews is higher than it has been in recent memory.”

While anti-Semitism in high places in the GOP it is not new-Richard Nixon, to cite just one example, complained that Washington is “full of Jews” – the embrace of anti-Semitic tropes, anti-Jewish bigots, and silence in the face of anti-Semitism is stunning in its brazenness.

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Recently, Insider reached out to nearly 40 Republicans, including Gov. DeSantis, about the rise of anti-Semitism in the GOP, and “their responses included silence, deflection and rehashing of old statements.”

Tapping into the hatred against the Jews is not, of course, the only way that the Republicans have tried to energize the worst part of their base. DeSantis has been prominent among those in the GOP who have sought to exploit him anti-LGBTQ+ prejudices. Anti-immigrant hatred has been fueled by the embrace of “great replacement theory” by GOP candidates and the media. And of course, anti-Black racism has been a central part of the GOP’s message during this campaign as it has been for years.

While the increase in public displays of hate by Republicans can be traced to their one-time racist leader, whose history of despicable attitudes is well documented, what the current campaign has made clear is that it does not stop with Trump. The modern GOP, which in this campaign has resolutely resisted all efforts to identify what it representsmade it very clear who they stand with.

the “very nice people“Trump hailed in Charlottesville – and the white supremacists who participated in the storming of the Capitol on January 6 – are increasingly openly and actively courted by a party that has made it clear that it places the cynical calculation of division before the national unity. , the pursuit of power by any means before decency, and the political power to stir up hatred before the current and growing need of the nation for healing and tolerance.

For those who thought the Republican Party’s embrace of anti-Semites and white supremacists would end when Donald Trump left the national stage, the current election campaign has sent a very disturbing message. Trump’s successors and supporters across the party have repeatedly shown that they intend to continue his legacy of hate and continue to make the GOP a safe space for intolerance, racism and Christian nationalism.

And if Ron DeSantis’ silence on this weekend’s anti-Semitic incident in Jacksonville tells us anything, it’s that he’s ready to lead that increasingly hate-fueled Republican Party.

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