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American Jews confronted with the arrival of “trivialized” anti-Semitism

American Jews confronted with the arrival of “trivialized” anti-Semitism

The firm condemnation of Joe Biden’s anti-Semitism on Friday responds to an alarming trivialization of anti-Semitic remarks and incitement to hatred from influential figures, amplified by social networks, according to experts.

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“Rather than give it a platform, our politicians should publicly denounce anti-Semitism wherever it is found,” Trump tweeted.

“The Holocaust did happen. Hitler was an evil person,” he added the day after the outcry caused by rapper Kanye West, who confessed his admiration for Hitler and the Nazis during an interview with a conspiratorial American presenter.

“I love Hitler”, launched several times the artist, who now calls himself Ye and who had dined in a small committee a few days earlier at Donald Trump’s home in Florida with the former Republican president, in the presence of a white supremacist, Nick Fuentes, known for questioning the reality of the Holocaust.

Analysts say the remarks show that religious intolerance and conspiracy theories involving the Jewish community have become almost normal.

They are relayed in particular by Donald Trump’s MAGA movement (“Make America great again”, or make America great again) and the far-right conspiratorial nebula QAnon, but also by sports and show business personalities. like Kanye West or basketball star Kyrie Irving, who recently promoted an anti-Semitic film, including a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler and denying the reality of the Holocaust.

“When you have celebrities advocating for classic anti-Semitism like Kanye West, who has more Twitter followers than there are Jews on planet Earth, that’s something that’s going to come into the debate. public”, notes Oren Segal, of the organization for the fight against anti-Semitism ADL.

It’s not just Donald Trump who had lunch with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, he notes. Several elected Republicans participated in a pro-Trump conference organized by Fuentes a few months ago.

“This normalization didn’t start when Kanye lost his mind,” Oren Segal told AFP. “It’s something we’ve been witnessing for a long time.”

For him, Trumpism is an important factor in the trivialization of these incitements to hatred. “Trumpism is understood as the normalization of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and the normalization of anti-Semitism is not far off,” he explains.

And the consequences are real, he recalls, mentioning the bloody attacks on the synagogues of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (11 dead in 2018) and Poway, California (1 dead in 2019).

The fact that Kanye West and Kyrie Irving are both African American has raised fears of rising anti-Semitism in the black community and among young people.

But for Cheryl Greenberg, professor at Trinity College, it is above all a “tendency to trivialize extremist ideas”.

According to her, this trend is favored by the fact that the younger generations know less about the Holocaust and are more aware of the problems of other marginalized or oppressed communities, whether ethnic minorities or LGBT+.

“By making anti-Semitism the central issue, Jews have complicated dialogue with many other communities,” said the Trinity College expert, noting that the traditional alliance of Jewish and African-American communities that existed in the years 1950-60 for the defense of civil rights has today been defeated.

Younger black figures and other minorities no longer view Jews as victims, but as successful white people.

‘There are a lot of communities, not just Jews,’ and the only solution is to cooperate with others – even those critical of Israel – to continue to fight anti-Jewish sentiment, says Ms Greenberg , who is herself Jewish.

The chaotic takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk has also shown how quickly problematic content can reappear on social networks as soon as content moderators relax their vigilance.

But Oren Segal is more concerned about the “ecosystem” of algorithm-based video hosts, like TikTok, or discussion platforms without content moderation, like Telegram or Reddit, where entire communities have been built around the anti-Semitism.

“It’s a toxic environment where the most vulnerable come to form their opinions,” he concludes. “We are starting to see the consequences of that.”

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