anti-semitism accusations
December 8, 2019

President Trump may have gotten a good response from his audience, but his latest speech offended many others.

Trump delivered a 45-minute speech to the Israeli American Council in Hollywood, Florida, on Saturday evening. Trump spoke about his administration's decisions to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2017, move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and eliminate funding for the Palestinian Authority as he urged those in attendance to vote for him while he runs for a second term in the Oval Office. Trump was reportedly regularly interrupted by the crowd's chants of "four more years" during the speech.

But the speech was not without controversy, with several observers noting that his words played into anti-Semitic tropes about wealth and loyalty, Haaretz reports. During the speech, Trump said there are Jewish people in the U.S. who don't love Israel enough, and added that if someone like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gets elected to the presidency, instead, the people in the room would "be out of business in 15 minutes."

Read more at Haaretz and The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

September 3, 2019

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. Tim O'Donnell

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