On Saturday, Donald Trump precipitated yet another firestorm, as he retweeted a graphic from an anti-Semitic website showing Hillary Clinton inside a Jewish Star of David captioned “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever” with piles of money in the background. After it was posted, an outcry ensued, prompting Trump to replace the tweet with the same image of Clinton, but this time showing her inside a circle.
Here are five things you should know about the incident and the blowback that followed it:
1. The origin of the graphic was discovered by Mic.com, which reported that the image had been previously featured on 8chan’s /pol/ — an Internet message board for the alt-right, as early as June 22. Mic.com continued, “Though the thread where the meme was featured no longer exists, you can find it by searching the URL in Archive.is … doing so allows you to see the thread on /pol/ as it originally existed. Of note is the file name of the photo, HillHistory.jpg, potentially a nod to the Neo-Nazi code for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler,” which the alt-right is fond of hiding in plain sight. The watermark on the lower-left corner of the image leads to a Twitter account that regularly tweets violent, racist memes commenting on the state of geopolitical politics.”
2. The Nazis used the Star of David to identify Jews so they could be marked for extermination; children as young as six years old were forced to wear the yellow Star of David on their clothing. The age-old trope accusing of Jews of corruption and greed has been around for hundreds of years.
3. The alt-right was delighted by the tweet; one example would be the reaction of David Duke, the former Grand Dragon of the KKK, who first tweeted his delight:
After Trump changed the image, Duke followed by chortling of the “hidden hand exposing itself”:
4. After the Clinton campaign attacked the use of the graphic as anti-Semitic, the Trump campaign waited until Monday to calm the waters that had been roiled by Trump’s actions. Trump stated, “These false attacks by Hillary Clinton trying to link the Star of David with a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior, showing an inscription that says ‘Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever’ with anti-Semitism is ridiculous.” Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, stated, “The social media graphic used this weekend was not created by the campaign nor was it sourced from an anti-Semitic site. It was lifted from an anti-Hillary Twitter user where countless images appear.” He added, “The sheriff’s badge — which is available under Microsoft’s ‘shapes’ — fit with the theme of corrupt Hillary and that is why I selected it.” Scavino’s wife is Jewish.
Trump’s history of uttering words that could be construed as anti-Semitic and his refusal to outright condemn his alt-right anti-Semitic supporters likely contributed to the sense that his retweet was a dog-whistle to those supporters.
5. Trump’s history of uttering words that could be construed as anti-Semitic and his refusal to outright condemn his alt-right anti-Semitic supporters likely contributed to the sense that his retweet was a dog-whistle to those supporters. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wrote, “During the height of the primary campaign, Trump delayed disavowing the support of white supremacist David Duke. And the candidate has failed to condemn the recent anti-Semitic vitriol directed by supporters against journalists who have written critically of Trump, including New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman and GQ writer Julia Ioffe.”
Yet Hillary Clinton’s association with overt anti-Semites like Max Blumenthal, his father Sidney, and her close association with Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia that promulgate Wahabi tenets that hate Israel, also limn her as at least as anti-Semitic as Trump is accused of being.