President Donald Trump on Wednesday revived one of the oldest anti-Semitic accusations against Jewish people when he accused all American Jews who vote for Democrats of “great disloyalty,” according to The Forward. But the accusation that Jews are untrustworthy because they are more loyal to fellow Jews — or to the state of Israel — than to the country where they live is “a linchpin of the anti-Semitic stereotype,” Deborah Lipstadt, an expert on anti-Semitism, told the publication.
A CNN exit poll showed that more than almost eight of every 10 Jewish voters — 79 percent — cast ballots for Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections, while only 17 percent voted for Republicans.
In 2016, polling cited by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz showed that 70 percent of Jewish voters in the 2016 presidential election voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, while 25 percent voted for Trump.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter and quoted conspiracy theorist Wayne Allen Root, who himself has promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, according to a CNN report. In the quote, for which Trump thanked Root, the conspiracy theorist described the president as “the King of Israel.”
But by late Wednesday afternoon, Trump had returned to Twitter, to attack the Ford Motor Company for opposing Trump’s plan to roll back emissions standards for automobiles in the United States. And in attacking the company, the president approvingly cited its founder, Henry Ford.
Henry Ford, however, was not only the founder of the Ford Motor Company, but he was also the publisher of a Dearborn, Michigan, newspaper called The Independent. In the paper, Ford published a multi-year long series of essays under the title, The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem, as PBS American Experience recounted.
The articles, which Ford later published as a four-volume book under the same title, was based on Ford’s belief that “‘the Jews’ were responsible for a whole range of things he didn’t like, from the world war to short skirts to jazz music,” according to The Henry Ford.
One article by Ford in The Dearborn Independent was headlined, “Jewish Jazz – Moron Music – Becomes our National Music,” as The Jewish Virtual Library reported, also noting that even after closing his newspaper, Ford continued to make false, anti-Semitic claims, even declaring that “Jewish bankers” were responsible for starting World War II.
Because Ford at the time was one of the most famous and respected men in America, his anti-Semitic screeds “legitimized ideas that otherwise may have been given little authority,” according to PBS.
On Wednesday, Trump was quoted by CNN as saying that Jewish Americans who voted for Democrats were “being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel and only weak people would say anything other than that.”