Anti-Trump antisemitism: The link between Pittsburgh and Poway

The Poway and Pittsburgh shootings are connected by hatred of Jews and hatred of Trump, who is accused of being a “Jew-lover” and hosting an administration “infested” by Jews

A man wears a Trump yarmulke while waiting for U.S. President Donald Trump to address the Republican Jewish Coalition 2019 Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., April 6, 2019. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
A man wears a Trump yarmulke while waiting for U.S. President Donald Trump to address the Republican Jewish Coalition 2019 Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., April 6, 2019.
The alleged manifesto of the shooter behind the attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue includes condemnation of US President Donald Trump. The letter, or manifesto, was posted on the popular US-based image board website 8chan. “That Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous [expletive],” John Earnest wrote in a version quoted online.
Similarly, Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers wrote on the mainly far-right website Gab that he opposed Trump, who he claimed was surrounded by Jews. “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist.” He claimed that Jews, who he used an expletive to describe, were an “infestation” in the White House.
The antisemitic links between the two attacks are clear. Both expressed hatred of Jews, who they accused of destroying or invading the United States. Bowers accused Jews and Jewish groups, such as the non-partisan refugee protection organization HIAS, of being behind “migrant caravans” whom he calls “invaders.” The Poway attacker asked: “Is it worth it for me to live a comfortable life at the cost of international Jewry sealing the doom of my race?”
Both men claimed to be Christians. But in their own narrow, racist worldview, to be a Christian was to be a white nationalist, and that white people were the real “chosen” people. Similarly, the Poway manifesto blames Jews for spreading pornography, for “their large role in every slave trade,” and for “promoting race-mixing” and persecuting Christians. Bowers talked about a “Jewish international oligarchy” while Earnest wrote about “international Jewry.”
Behind their ideologies is a hatred of Trump, who they both believed had become a “globalist.” It appears that in both cases, they felt the need to point this out, as if they were impelled to differentiate themselves from Trump and to show that their version of racism distinguished itself from any association with Trump. This may be due to the fact that the president was accused of fueling a rise in “white nationalism” when he ran for office, and these extremists wanted to assert that they no longer felt connected to Trump.
There was a rise in antisemitic attacks during the run-up to Trump’s election and after. However, there has been a shift in this extremist movement away from any support for Trump due to the fact that they believe that he is part of a “globalist” and pro-Israel – or “Zionist” – conspiracy. One perpetrator calls Trump “Jew-loving,” and the other saw Jews as “infesting” the administration. This appears to be an attack on Trump’s support for Israel and his Jewish family members, particularly Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Besides the links between the two synagogue attacks, there is widespread hatred of Trump emerging on the far Right due to the belief that he has been “Kushnered” by, in the words of one social media account, “subversive, nation-plundering Jews.”
Unsurprisingly, when we searched for other attacks on Kushner, we found conspiracies about him being tied to “globalist Jew George Soros.” One woman, responding to the recent New York Times antisemitic cartoon controversy, wrote: “Trump is controlled by Israel and Jared Kushner, the Jews control the media.”
Many attacks on Kushner over the years by what appear to be far Right social media accounts label him a “k***” and often say he should be removed from the White House. One user, for instance, writes: “Get this K*** out of Washington.” Another claimed he is behind conspiracies to allow undocumented migrants to stay in the US. No doubt social media groups like Twitter have removed much of the most offensive content. On a website named “infostormer,” we found a headline that notes “Trump hails subversive Jew Jared Kushner.”
Some of the anger over Trump’s “betrayal” of white nationalists – and their assertion that now the administration is “infested” with Jews – goes back to the period when Steve Bannon left the administration in August 2017. A headline in April 2017 notes that far-right protesters had already turned out to accuse the administration of betraying their cause. Anti-Israel and anti-Zionist views are also common in this far-right antisemitic circle, sometimes overlapping or dovetailing with far-left antisemitic views, which are difficult to distinguish.
When Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, one person responded by asking if white nationalists and the “Aryan Brotherhood” felt betrayed. Trump “proves” that his is a “Zionist Occupied Government [ZOG],” tweeted one man who had an “America First” button as a profile in mid-April. Trump is accused of being a “cuck for Israel” and a puppet of the “ZOG.” He is also accused of being an “Israel first” president.
The obsession with Trump’s Jewish family has led some on the far Right to turn on him. But others are trying to continue their support, despite feeling that he has been “taken over.” One website argues that Trump is still fighting the “shadow government and International Banking Cartel” and that he “requires the support of patriots.”
What is clear is that there is a link between antisemitism on the far Right and anti-Trump views, a link that is also clear on the far Left. It tends to unite around hatred not only of Jews, but also of Israel and of beliefs that the US is controlled by Jews, who in turn are accused of controlling banks or the media. It shows how antisemitism, when it is a defining worldview and ethos, can easily turn anyone into an enemy, once that person is linked to Jews or “globalism.”