How Jared Kushner, the Scion of One Tri-State Crime Family, Married Into Another
Of the myriad ways in which Donald Trump has forced his pathetic assemblage of voters, political enablers, and media hangers-on to debase themselves, surely nothing has been so pitiful as the recent apologetics offered by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. In a piece for The New York Observer—which he owns—titled “The Donald Trump I Know,” Kushner began by declaring, “My father-in-law is not an anti-Semite.” Displaying the sort of defensive rationalization employed by people who feel a need to preface their disquisitions on inner-city crime or immigration with the proviso, “I’m not a racist,” Kushner’s article radiated the desperation of a hostage tape—which, in a way, it was. Alongside banal attacks on the “speech police” and “the media” for holding Trump up to an “insane standard” of propriety, Kushner shared the story, “which I have never discussed,” of his ancestors’ victimization at the hands of the Nazis so as to ensure readers that he is ever-attuned to “real anti-Semitism.”
Distinguishing Jared Kushner’s submission to the genre of Trump defenses from those of other Trumpkins was its exploitation of the Holocaust.
The presumably “fake” anti-Semitism that his father-in-law has been so unfairly accused of peddling was highlighted just a day earlier by one of Kushner’s own writers at the Observer, Dana Schwartz, in an open letter to her boss. Prompting Schwartz’s concern was a tweet by Trump, which, under the headline “Crooked Hillary–Makes History!” depicted the presumptive Democratic nominee in profile against a backdrop of raining dollar bills and a six-pointed star declaring her “Most corrupt candidate ever!” Internet sleuths quickly traced the provenance of the image to a white supremacist web forum. What followed was the usual rigmarole whenever Trump is caught red-handed uttering bigoted things, or retweeting bigoted things, or winking at bigots: a half-assed apology on the part of the campaign followed by immediate repudiation by the candidate himself. After taking down the original image and reposting it with a circle instead of a star, (alongside the totally-kosher hashtag #AmericaFirst, the anti-Semitic origins of which Trump cannot possibly, at this point, claim ignorance), Trump and his coterie effectively rescinded their earlier admissions of remorse by variously asserting that the star was innocuously lifted from Microsoft Shapes, is a “sheriff’s star,” and, most ridiculously, no different than the one appearing on the cover of a Frozen coloring book.
We know Kushner is not oblivious to anti-Semitism. One of the first decisions he made as owner of the Observer was to fire the writer Phil Weiss, then beginning his descent from someone creepily obsessed with Jews into proprietor of an anti-Semitic hate site. (Ironically, Weiss was one of the few people aside from right-wing extremists to defend his old boss in Stargate.) Whether Trump himself fully grasped the implications of slipping a Magen David into a tableau of money and accusations of financial impropriety—indeed, whether he is, in his heart, an anti-Semite—is beside the point. More pertinent is the simple fact that Trump lifted the meme from a racist internet troll and has garnered the enthusiastic support of seemingly every anti-Semite and white nationalist in the United States. When it comes to questions like “Is Trump dog-whistling at racists or merely lifting iconography from a popular Disney franchise?,” I think I’ll take the word of David Duke over that of Jared Kushner.
As far as the argument “Donald Trump can’t possibly be anti-Semitic because his son-in-law is Jewish” I would like to remind everyone that Mussolini’s girlfriend, Margherita Sarfatti, was Jewish. How did that work out for Jews who weren’t Mussolini’s girlfriend?