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For Jews (And All Of Us), This Election Is A “Then They Came For Me” Moment

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Donald Trump Should Be Judged By The Anti-Semitic, And Otherwise Deplorable, Company He Keeps

There’s an old saying that a man is known by the company he keeps. Try as we might, we’re often defined by the people who surround us. We’ve all had moments growing up where we’ve chosen the wrong friends or found ourselves in the wrong crowd. For whatever reason, many of us are drawn to people who don’t help us to become our best selves. Some of us outgrow that need quickly while others take a bit more time. 

Donald Trump needs more time. 

A few months ago I wrote about the scary familiarity of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. His words and his policies sparked all kinds of comparisons to despotic world leaders of past days. At the time, we thought we were making hyperbolic statements to prove a point. In hindsight, that seems quaint.  

If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter these days, you’ve seen the anti-Semitic tweets that many Jewish reporters have gotten after covering the Trump campaign. They’re sending us email, they’re tracking us down, and they’re not letting go. 

Trump is incredibly popular with anti-Semitic people. He loves their attention. He even likes to make coded anti-Semitic statements himself and somehow wound up participating in some odd display of cultural appropriation while at a church.

It’s certainly not helping that Trump’s own son is helping bring most of these folks into the mainstream. (You’ll remember his gas chamber/Holocaust “joke” from the other week and of course his offensive Skittles analogy.)

It’s not hard to draw conclusions between these Trump supporters and Trump himself. It would be one thing if he were actively working to stop their influence and deny their legitimacy, but that’s exactly the opposite of what’s happening. Trump is playing right into their hands and he’s allowing their messages to move into the mainstream. 

This is the company he keeps.

I’m certainly not the only one to see it. Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a national Jewish organization aimed at “bringing together Jews from across the country to advocate for a more just and equal society,” has been working on a campaign called, “We’ve Seen This Before.”  

Among the centerpieces of the campaign is this video, “A Message from Grandma and Grandpa”:

In any other case, I’d agree with the many who say that a political candidate has no control over what his followers say and do. Yes, there are many folks who follow liberal politicians who are atrocious and disgusting. But here’s the difference: They’re usually the fringe. They’re the outsiders. They’re the folks who are so removed from the mainstream it’s beyond obvious they’re not worth noticing.

And it’s not like these folks are simply being acknowledged and disavowed — on the contrary, they’re being elevated by those in the innermost circle of the Trump campaign, like his chief advisor — who’s also his son. 

As long as Trump and his campaign continue to lift up these voices instead of working to tamp them down, a vote for Trump is a vote for anti-Semitism, in addition to many other bad things.

The news isn’t all bad, though. Longtime GOP-supporting Jews are backing (running?) away from Trump because of his distaste for religious liberty and his racism. FiveThirtyEight reports that the GOP’s Jewish donors are abandoning Trump.  

But it’s not enough for just the Jews to walk away — just like it’s not enough for any one group that’s being attacked to fight back. This is one of those times where what’s bad for some of us is bad for all of us. This is a “then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me” moment.

If a man is known by the company he keeps, then it’s not only true for Donald Trump, it’s true for all of us. Our vote is how we decide the company we keep. Donald Trump has shown us exactly who he is. It’s up to us to decide how we want to be known. 

Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBT activist and educator. (He’s also one of them Jew-boys the people on Twitter like to harass so much.) You can harass him, too: @rjmedwed

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Nazis and Proud Boys Clash With Anti-Fascists Outside Texas Church Hosting Drag Queen Bingo

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Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded to an anti-LGBTQ protest outside a Texas church on Saturday.

“First Christian Church Katy is hosting a drag bingo fundraiser benefiting the ministry’s Transparent Closet, a free boutique aimed at helping young people in the LGBTQ community in the largely conservative west Houston suburb,” Jay R. Jordan reported for Axios on Friday. “Protect Texas Kids, led by North Texas’ self-described “Christian fascist” Kelly Neidert, plans to protest outside the church, according to a Facebook event from the group.”

The report noted anti-fascist activists were planning a counterprotest.

“Neidert’s protests have drawn support from neo-Nazis and other anti-LGBTQ groups,” Axios reported. “Men in Nazi regalia and alleged Proud Boys wearing Buc-ee’s masks joined Neidert’s protest outside a drag brunch at Hamburger Mary’s downtown in July.”

On Saturday, Jordan posted a video clip from the scene.

“Proud Boys and Kelly Neidert’s Protect Texas Kids are in Katy, Texas, protesting a drag bingo fundraiser at First Christian Church. PB and Houston antifascists just clashed. Heavy police presence dividing the two groups now,” he reported.

He noted “Houston’s Nazis” had arrived and police formed a line between the two sides.

“The group of Nazis appear to be leaving the protest, sporting for the first time today a flag with a swastika. Proud Boys and Patriot Front have also left,” he reported.

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Image: Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. (Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock.com)

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News

‘Pretty Big ‘A-Ha’ Moment’: J6 Staffer Reveals White House Switchboard Called Rioter’s Cell Phone During Insurrection

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On Friday, 60 Minutes revealed that Denver Riggleman, a key staffer for the House Select Committee on January 6, discovered the White House switchboard patched through to the phone of a Capitol rioter — while the attack was in progress.

“Riggleman, an ex-military intelligence officer and former Republican congressman from Virginia, oversaw a data-driven operation for the January 6 committee, pursuing phone records and other digital clues tied to the attack on the Capitol. He stopped working for the committee in April,” reported Keith Zubrow.

“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening,” said Riggleman to 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker. “That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment.”

He added that “I only know one end of that call. I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more.”

This comes after a series of damning revelations about the involvement and support of former President Donald Trump in encouraging the people storming the Capitol.

One of the biggest allegations to come out of the public hearings by the select committee was the claim by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump demanded the rioters be allowed onto the premises because “they’re not here to hurt me” — and that he lunged at his security detail in the car after they refused to take him to the Capitol to join the attackers.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Torba Warns GOP to Not ‘Disavow or Condemn Us’ Because ‘Christian Nationalists Are the Republican Party’

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Far right wing extremist, Christian nationalist, antisemite Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab, the social media platform that is popular with white supremacists, is telling the Republican Party that “80 percent” of its base is Christian nationalists, and warns them to not “condemn” or “disavow” them.

Torba has ties to far right Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican party’s nominee for governor of Pennsylvania. Torba has also “endorsed” Arizona GOP secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem, an election-denier and member of the far-right antigovernment group Oath Keepers, and election-denying Arizona GOP state Senator Wendy Rogers.

“We have the numbers, we are the majority. And we are done being the footstool. We are going to wake up the body of Christ in this country. And we’re going to do something about you castrating our children, about you sexually indoctrinating them in the schools, about, you know, taking over our culture and taking over our government and sending all of our money to foreign countries and allowing our border to be invaded,” he says in video published by Right Wing Watch.

READ MORE: ‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’

Gab is home to QAnon and “great replacement” conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, MAGA and ultra MAGA extremists, white Christian nationalists, white supremacists, antisemites, and anti-LGBTQ extremists.

“We’re done,” Torba continues in his rant.

“We’re done with it, and we’re going to step up and we’re going to rebuild this fallen and corrupt society from scratch, just as Christians have done many times before. And yes, we absolutely are going to get involved in public discourse and in politics, and you’re not going to shut us up,” Torba declared.

“And it’s a message to the Republican party too that they are not to disavow us,” he warned. “They are not to condemn us, because we are 80% of the Republican Party. Christian nationalists are the Republican Party, and they’re going to start doing the will of God,” he says, appearing to order the Republican Party to meet his demands.

READ MORE: ‘Seize the Power’: Christian Nationalist Doug Mastriano Prayed MAGA Would ‘Rise Up’ Against the Gov’t on 1/6 (Video)

“And they’re going to start, you know, supporting biblical policies, and they’re going to start, you know, fighting back against this and not being complacent or they’re going to get out of the way and we’re going to go in there and we’re going to do it ourselves. Those are their two choices.”

Torba has appeared on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch show. Perkins is the longtime head of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Last week Jewish Insider reported on an “obscure new book calling for the construction of ‘a parallel Christian society’ to replace ‘the failed secular state'” that seemed to be “performing surprisingly well on Amazon.”

That book, Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide for Taking Dominion and Discipling Nations, was written by Torba.

Last month the House Committee on Oversight sent Torba a letter “regarding your company’s response to the surge of online threats against law enforcement following the execution of a court-authorized search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Christian Nationalist’ Declaration Is ‘Alarming’ Says Religious Liberty Executive

“We are concerned that reckless statements by the former President and Republican Members of Congress have unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already led to at least one death and pose a danger to law enforcement officers across the United States. We urge you to take immediate action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement that appear on your company’s platforms,” the letter reads.

But that letter also said, “On August 15, a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with making threats of violence against FBI personnel. He wrote on the social media platform Gab, ‘If You Work For The FBI Then You Deserve To Die.’ He also wrote, ‘Every single piece of shit who works for the FBI in any capacity, from the director down to the janitor who cleans their fucking toilets deserves to die. You’ve declared war on us and now it’s open season on YOU.'”

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