Jay Ambrose: No, Trump did not cause the Pittsburg shooting
“It’s your fault,” shouted a protestor at President Donald Trump when he showed up to honor the 11 Jews slain in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. But no it wasn’t.
He stirs things up, this president does, and he can be virulent and crude. None of this is a pleasant fit with mourning a horrific show of hatred toward fellow humans who have done so much to enrich our civilization. But understand that the man arrested for the shooting just may have shot Trump, too, if he had a chance.
He figured Trump was part of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, and guess why he might have seen Trump as linked to his absurd imagining. Because Trump is so attached to Jews, that’s why. Trump has a daughter who married a Jewish man, converted to Judaism herself and has produced three Jewish children who surely get hugs from a loving grandpa.
Figuratively speaking, Trump also hugs millions of Jews in Israel. He has reversed President Barack Obama’s snarling policies by heartily supporting this Jewish nation, as in the United States rightly recognizing Jerusalem as its capital. Oh, that’s a cruel mistake, some said, because they saw this affirmation of an established fact — and concurrence with U.S. law — as a setback for reaching peace agreements with Palestinians who, excuse me, have threatened Israeli annihilation, refused negotiation and abetted terrorism. In a poll, 73 percent of Jewish citizens in Israel said they approve of Trump.
Obviously, critics of Israel, including some of its citizens, are not ipso facto anti-Semitic, but just as obviously attacks on Israel can reflect disgustingly bigoted animosity toward Jews. Israel is no more perfect than any other nation.
But some disjointed critics come close to equating Israel’s freedom, justice and democratic rule of law with the murderous tyranny, blatant injustice and dictatorships of its enemies.
In trying to protect itself, Israel is seen by some as being exploitatively cruel, and thus we have had boycotts of American companies doing business with Israeli firms seen as abetting the shame of it all. Professors, college students and others have joined in even as a majority of states have said this is repellent. Agreeing with the states are Christian evangelicals, deeply religious conservatives who tend to like Trump and celebrate Jews as God’s chosen people.
Arguments about Trump’s alleged anti-Semitism, meanwhile, mix misinformation with unshakable bias. For instance, we had liberal pundits excoriating him for talking about international bankers in cahoots with Hillary Clinton to do away with our sovereignty.
Here, they said, was a common, Jewish conspiracy-theory slur when in fact it was a reference to a Wikileaks revelation of Clinton giving a speech at a Brazilian bank and calling for open borders.
Then there was Trump getting slammed after the Charlottesville riot for saying it wasn’t just the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who were violent. Even though it was one of them arrested for killing a woman with his car, violence by the other side was confirmed by news accounts and even the American Civil Liberties Union. I myself was particularly grabbed by a New York Times story that took note of a horrified University of Virginia student who saw a counter-protestor beating an alt-right man with a stick after he was knocked to the ground.
It kind of sounds like what some are now doing to Trump. He could not persuade top Washington officials to go with him to Pittsburgh or to have officials in the state and city greet him there instead of protestors. Maybe he has earned some of the humiliation, but it is centuries of diseased thought and the killer himself who have taken dear lives and given us this European-style experience of hell, not the president of the United States.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at email@example.com.