(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion: The link between Donald Trump and Anti-Semitism

As Trump supporters surged the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election on an unsubstantiated belief that it was stolen, antisemitism was a distinct part of the mob’s hateful agenda.  

Among the protestors were neo-Nazis, notably a man pictured wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt referencing a Holocaust concentration camp, according to the New York Post. The shirt also had a photo of a skull with the German phrase “work means freedom.”

The man was identified as Robert Keith Packer and was arrested in Virginia for violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. While Packer’s shirt went viral, multiple videos express many instances of antisemitism at the protest, such as Proud Boys brandishing “6 Million Wasn’t Enough” t-shirts. 

A video shown on social media reflects an Israeli reporter being singled out and harassed by protestors, according to AP News. Two white nationalists who have an online following known for racist and anti-semetic rhetoric recorded a live stream at the capitol. One of their more inflammatory statements included “Shoutout to Germany,” as 10,000 viewers watched. 

The riots were “not so much a tipping point” for anti-Semitism but rather “the latest explicit example of how (it) is part of what animates the narratives of extremists in this country,” Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told AP News.

Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in America.

In 2019, anti-semitic incidents and hate crimes rose 12% from 1,879 in 2018 to 2,107 in 2019, where the highest previous number was in 1994, according to Reuters. These attacks include fatal shootings at a California Synagogue and a New Jersey kosher grocery store, as well as the stabbing of a rabbi in his New York home.

Of course, the Capitol Riots were not solely an anti-semitic tyrade. The clear anti-semitism expressed at the riots connects to the larger influences that brought people to the Capitol. QAnon, a far-right conspiracy organization, was a leading cause for the riots.

An example of such a rioter is Ashley Babbitt who was killed at the Capitol and posted on social media prior to the event about her belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to CNET. The separation from the truth that leads people to believe QAnon’s ideas is similar to what can drive antisemitism. 

“Anti Semitism is the ultimate conspiracy theory. It’s why antisemites were drawn to Trump’s banner. Because when he talks about the globalists and the elitists keeping the working man down, what they hear is Jew,” author and journalist Bari Weiss said on Overheard with Evan Smith.