It’s hard to be shocked any longer by how far into the gutter the Post will delve in order to come up with an anti-Trump story. But, surely, to opportunistically use a gathering of elderly Holocaust survivors as a guise to smear President Trump as an anti-Semite — as the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak did in yesterday’s Metro Section — and to do so by relying on a white nationalist website to promote a new physiological characteristic by which to recognize “the Jew,” represents a breakthrough of some kind, for it manages to be at the same time both horrifying and hilarious.
It’s horrifying because Holocaust survivors won’t be around much longer. There will be the children of survivors, like myself, who grew up surrounded by ghosts of the dead, but not those who actually witnessed their slaughter. So using them as a means to further a grudge you bear against the man who beat your preferred presidential candidate in a fair election is disgusting by any measure.
The hilarious part is the evidence Petula brings to bear in support of Trump’s alleged anti-Semitism. He called NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd “sleepy eyes.” It happens that Chuck Todd is Jewish (who knew?) and, according to Petula, “sleepy eyes” is a virulent anti-Semitic slur which has appeared on “How to Spot a Jew” lists since World War II.
Never having heard of this particular slur, I was intrigued, and decided to research it. I didn’t come up with much. Using Google, I found only one reference to “sleepy eyes” in connection with Jews, and that was in Stormfront.org. To have made the connection at all, then, Petula would have needed to fish the infested waters of a laughably stupid, avowedly white nationalist website.
The only other reference I was able to find to Jewish eyes in this context was a children’s book published by Julius Streicher, who also published Der Stürmer and who was executed as a war criminal in 1946, the year I was born in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. “The eyelids are mostly thicker and more fleshy than ours. The Jewish look is wary and piercing. One can tell from his eyes that he is a deceitful person.”
In addition to wary and piercing eyes, Streicher’s little book provides other Jewish characteristics. There’s the bent nose, puffy lips, short legs and/or arms, low forehead, low forehead, dark curly hair, large ears, bow-leggedness, and flat-footedness, to mention but a few. So if your name is Donald Trump and you use any of these descriptors in referring to a Jew, Petula might label you an anti-Semite.
As a Jew, and a child of Holocaust survivors, I’m very attuned to the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism in America, and was especially conscious of it during the Obama administration. It was Obama who gave Iran a route by which to acquire nuclear weapons with which, if we’re to believe what Iran says, it intends to destroy Israel. It was the Obama administration that accused opponents of being controlled by “wealthy donors” and “warmongers” with loyalties to a foreign power. And it was Obama who allied himself with Iran across the Middle East and Africa.
It’s the Democratic National Committee that made Keith Ellison, who boasts a close friendship with the avowed anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, its Deputy Chair. And it’s Keith Ellison who tweeted a smiling photo of himself holding up Mark Bray’s book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.
And it’s Antifa, the violent left-wing group who incited the rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia last August, that frightens me more than the pathetic neo-Nazis who showed up to challenge them. The latter will remain an impotent fringe group, while the former are being normalized and absorbed into the establishment Left.
Petula Dvorak’s column thus was a double betrayal of the Holocaust survivors with whom she pretended to sympathize. First, she heartlessly used them as a means to get at President Trump, her description of their stories coming across as jarringly contrived. Second, she covered up the real story of why and how the Nazi atrocities we believed were limited to Europe can happen here.