Donald J. Trump, the self-proclaimed “most innocent man in the history of our country,” is the victim of an international Jewish conspiracy. The conspiracy is led by a Jewish billionaire and a black prosecutor who are out to get him even though he has never done anything wrong.
That’s the message from the disgraced former president and many of his followers in Congress and the Republican base. His tormentor in this “witch hunt” is George Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor and an American citizen who contributes generously to liberal causes.
Soros is more than an individual, however. His name is the dog whistle that antisemites use to refer to a secret global Jewish cabal that seeks to control world government and finances.
Trump invokes Soros’s name more than his own children’s names. And, according to Trump, Soros’s black accomplice is Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump and many of his followers accuse Soros of owning and operating Bragg.
Eric Trump tweeted “Alvin Bragg is a Soros puppet,” which promoted a Twitter response from one reader telling him “Whenever a Republican says ‘Soros,’ what they really mean is ‘Dirty Jew.’”
Soros has said not only has he never contributed to Bragg’s campaigns but the two have never met, spoken by phone, or exchanged emails or texts.
Bragg’s race is a core element of the paranoia of Trump and other White supremacists. Trump has called him an “animal” and a “degenerate psychopath.” He has accused all black prosecutors investigating him of being racist. It plays well with his predominantly white, Christian base, which is tilting rapidly in the direction of overt white supremacy.
It’s little wonder so few Jews and blacks voted for Trump and for most Republicans. After all, the Jews were behind the civil rights movement to empower blacks and other minorities who – a growing number of Republicans proclaim – are part of the great replacement theory to make white people a weak minority.
That’s why sealing our southern borders was a top priority in Trump’s 2015 announcement of his presidential candidacy. And it gives insight into his call to “take our nation back.”
Trump has treated us to the spectacle of a white Christian billionaire pleading for sympathy because he’s persecuted by a rich Jew. In MAGA political theology, Soros’s hand in funding Trump’s indictment goes well beyond terrorizing the poor beleaguered twice-impeached former president.
Soros has also been accused of being responsible for caravans of Central American immigrants coming to the southern border, the riots in response to the killing of George Floyd, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the coronavirus pandemic, the heartbreak of psoriasis and whatever else comes to those fetid and fertile minds.
Who else blows the antisemitic George Soros dog whistle?
TRUMP IS far from being the only Republican to blow the Soros dog whistle. After news of Trump’s indictment came out, even his rivals sprang to his defense and blamed the Jewish philanthropist.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly attacked the “Soros-backed Manhattan district attorney” and “this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the self-described Christian nationalist and author of one of the more notable recent antisemitic tropes, wants Soros stripped of his US citizenship. “No other person has undermined our democracy more than George Soros,” said the conspiracy theorist who “discovered” the Jewish space lasers operated by the Rothschilds (the favorite pre-Soros boogeyman for antisemites).
Rep. Matt Gaetz bemoaned “the Sorosification of the criminal justice system.” DeSantis and Trump’s other rivals for the nomination may be blaming Soros for the indictment, but what they really want is to avoid offending MAGA voters who can later be harvested for their own campaigns after the front-runner is forced to back out.
Trump knows invoking Soros’s name signals something like “those rich Jews are out to get us,” and that is reinforced by mentioning New York, which Jesse Jackson called Hymietown. And Trump will remind them that his chief accuser is the Jew, Michael Cohen.
Ben Lorber, a researcher who tracks the far-right and antisemitism, told Insider that the rise in antisemitism in the US can be “laid at the feet of Fox News hosts and Donald Trump.”
Fox mentioned Soros at least 41 times in the 24 hours after news of the indictment broke, Media Matters reported. The Anti-Defamation League has an entire section on its website devoted to describing and debunking Soros-related conspiracy theories. It says he is cast as “a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes.”
It is plausible to say Trump’s vicious attacks on Soros, Bragg, other black prosecutors and Jewish members of Congress who led the impeachment investigations have contributed to the alarming rise in hate crimes. ADL reported a 36% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2022 over the prior year. One of the more common antisemitic tropes it found was that “Jews have too much power in the United States today.”
A Trump supporter was convicted in 2018 of sending pipe bombs to Soros’s home and other Democratic supporters. That same week a gunman massacred 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue; he was “obsessed” with Soros, whom he called “the Jew that funds white genocide and controls the press,” BBC reported.
IF TRUMP’S followers haven’t yet gotten the message, you can be sure he will keep hammering it home in an endless flow of appeals for contributions to his legal defense. It is mind-boggling that this billionaire can get so many people, who have so little, to give him so much. His campaign reports that it raised more than $5 million in the first 48 hours after the news of the indictment broke.
Alan Dershowitz, Trump’s favorite Jewish lawyer after Roy Cohn, went on far-right cable networks to shamelessly absolve Trump, saying it is not antisemitic to attack Soros. He falsely accused Soros of having been a Nazi collaborator as a young teen. Abe Foxman, the former ADL chief, called Dershowitz’s comments “outrageous.”
The antisemitic and racist tropes bring more than money. They paint bulls-eyes on the backs of prosecutors, judges, jurors, witnesses, reporters and other Trump targets. Trump warned of “death and destruction” if he is charged, which is a dangerous step beyond his January 6 call of “Be there. Will be wild.”
Trump has a history of personal and ethnic attacks on judges overseeing his cases. In an attack on Juan Merchan, whose name he misspelled, Trump said the judge “hates me.” Court rules prohibit the judge from striking back, which Trump exploits, but if the attacks continue, he could slap a gag order and even a contempt charge on the defendant.
As I watch this story unfold, I can’t help wondering which party will raise more money by putting Donald Trump’s mug shot in their political ads.
The writer is a Washington-based journalist, a consultant, a lobbyist and a former American Israel Public Affairs Committee legislative director.