US Election: How Jews were targeted in lead-up to vote

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US Election: How Jews were targeted in lead-up to vote

Campaigning for Biden and Trump turned ugly in some states, with a senator accused of antisemitism and a Jewish cemetery vandalised with election graffiti

Stephen Oryszczuk

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

A defaced Biden-Harris sign is spray-painted with the word "Trump" near Centre Hall, Pennsylvania on October 24, 2020. (Photo by Paul Weaver/Sipa USA)
A defaced Biden-Harris sign is spray-painted with the word "Trump" near Centre Hall, Pennsylvania on October 24, 2020. (Photo by Paul Weaver/Sipa USA)

As with most recent US presidential campaigns, Trump v Biden turned ugly in some states, with racists targeting Jewish candidates – and even Jewish cemeteries.

In Alaska’s race for the Senate, Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan was this week accused of using antisemitic tropes in an advert showing his Jewish rival holding piles of cash, with Jewish Senate leader Chuck Schumer behind him.

The American Jewish Congress said it “clearly employs age-old antisemitic tropes and innuendo… implying that [Gross] is buying the elections.

“At the same time, the ad shows in the shadows a sinister-looking image of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish, and evokes the antisemitic trope that Jews and Jewish money control politics and our government”.

The AJC added that Sullivan “should unequivocally apologise” and called on Alaskans to “condemn and disassociate” from it.

The anger stretched to Israel, with opposition politician Yair Lapid labelling Sulivan’s advert attacking Al Gross as “antisemitic… a disgrace and a stain on the American democracy we all admire so much”.

Dan Sullivan (Wikipedia/ Source
Author US Congress)

Yet it has not been the only example. Weeks earlier Jon Ossoff, the Jewish Democratic Senate candidate in Georgia, was the target of an advert on Facebook from his Republican rival David Perdue in which Ossoff’s nose was artificially lengthened.

His rival later said it was a mistake and removed it, but Ossoff was left incensed. “You were lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I’m Jewish,” he told Perdue in a debate. “Instead of leading and inspiring, he stoops to mocking the heritage of his political opponents.”

Meanwhile in Michigan on Monday, the Ahavas Israel Jewish cemetery was graffitied, with the words “TRUMP” and “MAGA” [Make America Great Again – Trump’s campaign slogan] painted in red across several gravestones.

In the same region last year, a local synagogue was vandalised with neo-Nazi posters, including one titled ‘Crusade against Semite led sub-humans’.

Worse may follow, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Ryan Greer, who last month suggested that there may be serious problems if Biden wins. “We are very concerned that there will be some violent acts,” he said. “As the conspiracy theories become more urgent, many of them may be directed toward Jews.”


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