Trump campaign called out for antisemitism over anti-Bernie Sanders ad using Nazi imagery

The trope was used often in Nazi Germany to stir hatred towards Jewish people

James Crump
Wednesday 16 September 2020 15:52 BST
Donald Trump: 'We forcefully condemn the evil of antisemitism and hate which must be defeated'

The Trump campaign has been accused of using antisemitic tropes in a new Facebook ad, which depicts Bernie Sanders as Joe Biden’s puppet-master.

The new ad, that was paid for by the Trump Make American Great Again Committee features Bernie Sanders, one of the US’ most prominent Jewish politicians, holding the strings of a puppet with the Democratic presidential nominee’s face superimposed on.

A caption next to the image reads: “The Radical Left’s Puppet,” and the ad has been confirmed as real by The Daily Beast.

The ad, which began its campaign on Tuesday 15 September, has the potential to reach between 100,000 to 500,000 people, according to Facebook’s Ad Library.

The depiction of a powerful Jewish person as a puppet-master pulling the strings of world affairs from behind the scenes is one of the oldest and most prominent antisemitic tropes, which dates back to at least the 18th century.

The trope was used often in Nazi Germany to stir hatred towards Jewish people and has been utilised to target Jewish Democratic donor George Soros in recent years.

Last month, Facebook updated its Hate Speech guidelines, to ban on its site depictions of  “Jewish people running the world or controlling major institutions such as media networks, the economy or the government.” The Independent has contacted Facebook for comment.

The ad has been condemned by Jewish advocacy groups Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and Jews Against White Nationalism, who run the website How to Fight AntiSemitism together.

In a tweet, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action tweeted: “The Trump campaign is running Facebook ads portraying Bernie Sanders as the puppet master behind Joe Biden.

“There’s a long, dangerous history of Jews being scapegoated as all-powerful puppet masters.”

The group added: “Trump is using this antisemitic lie to spread fear & division.”

An article on How to Fight AntiSemitism also accused the Trump campaign of antisemitism and reported that the GOP published an article on its website in June that was titled: “Joe Biden: A puppet of Bernie and the radical left.”

Senior Republican officials have also used the trope in the last two years, and in 2018 house minority leader Kevin McCarthy claimed that Jewish billionaires Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg and George Soros were attempting to buy the 2018 midterm elections.

The trope also appeared to be used by Donald Trump Jr in October 2019, when he wrote on Twitter: “For those who don’t know who Adam Schiff is, he is not just a radical liberal, he is someone who has been hand-picked and supported by George Soros.”

Forbes reporter Andrew Solender noted on Twitter that the Trump campaign has run similar ads depicting former president Barack Obama and Democratic house speaker Nancy Pelosi as puppet-masters.

The Independent has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.

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