Jews have always encountered anti-Semitism. In this society, however, unlike many in which Jews have resided, one finds limited expressions of religious hatred or political attacks, yet such messages are still present. In surveying websites and political commentaries in preparation for this fall’s election, one can identify a number of traditional anti-Jewish themes interlocked with political rhetoric. Among the most common messages:
“Jewish influence and control” in its various forms and iterations over politics, finances, and media”
“Israel as having undo influence over America”
“Jews as possessing too much power”
During election cycles these types of conspiratorial ideas and distorted images are seemingly accentuated. Jews are often depicted by an array of labels and negative images, including “communists”, “disloyal”, and “parasites”. Some of these sites are generated by traditional anti-Semites and others sponsored by various extreme political elements. In addition, political cartoons and editorials within the Arab press play on these same canards on an on-going basis.
Actions taken by candidates or their political parties are interpreted through this lens of conspiracy. Governor Romney’s trip to Israel this summer and the President’s participation this past May with Jewish Heritage Month are seen as manifestations of “Jewish control”.
Some of these commentators of hate note that it will make little difference who will win in November, suggesting that Jewish influence is so imbedded within both parties and their campaigns that Jews will continue to dominate the political landscape.
Upon reflection, Jews account for less than 1.7% of this nation’s population, yet in the mindset of the anti-Semite Jewish influence must appear to be overwhelming.