Speed Reads

anti-semitism accusations

A Trump Labor Department official resigned over accusations of anti-Semitism. Here's why some analysts think that's unfair.

Leif Olson, a recently-appointed Labor Department official, resigned after the revelation of posts on his Facebook account from 2016. In the posts, Bloomberg Law reports, Olson appeared to make anti-Semitic comments, suggesting the "Jewish-controlled media 'protects their own.'" But some observers argue that Olson was actually being sarcastic and should not have lost his job over the three-year-old comments.

In fact, Olson may have actually been criticizing anti-Semitism, as the subject of his post, Paul Nehlen — who challenged former House Speaker Paul Ryan in the 2016 Wisconsin Republican primary — has been accused of harboring such viewpoints.

Olson, who is known for having pushed some controversial conservative and faith-based causes in court as an attorney, said the post in question was a "sarcastic criticism of the alt-right's conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic positions." His Facebook account also contains a post from three weeks later in which he wished his Jewish friends a happy new year on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, and Bloomberg reports the Nehlen-Ryan post appears to be the only appeal to Jewish stereotypes he has made, at least publicly.

Considering that Olson's post mentions how Ryan "suffered a massive, historic, emasculating 70-point victory," it does seem hard to argue that Olson was being serious. Whether the jokes were made in poor taste is another discussion. Read more at Bloomberg Law.