Tag: reliigion

Background Briefing: October 30, 2018


Trump and the Resurgence of Anti-Semitism in America

We begin with the funerals today of the victims of a massacre of worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue gunned down by an avowed anti-Semite and discuss the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the United States since Donald Trump came into office with a 57% jump in anti-Semitic attacks in 2017 following a 35% rise in 2016 when Trump was campaigning. David Myers the Chair in Jewish History and the Director of the Luskin Center for History and Policy at UCLA joins us to explain how a conspiracy theory became a perverted ideology which flourished in the 1930’s thanks to industrialists like Henry Ford spreading its hateful delusions. But with a million Americans dead and wounded at the hands of the Nazi’s and the revelations of the death camps in 1945, anti-Semitism became a dormant virus only to reemerge with the arrival of Donald Trump whose kid-glove treatment of neo-Nazi and white supremacists has emboldened fringe groups to enter the political mainstream. We will also discuss the paradox that since most American Jews live in coastal metropolitan Blue States, the lack of familiarity with Jews in rural Red States allows for anti-Semitism to take root in spite of the fact that the Religious Right which dominates conservative politics in these states, is an ardent champion of Israel resulting in American anti-Semites loving Israel while hating Jews. On top of that there is the irony that the State of Israel does not recognized the victims of the Pittsburgh massacre as Jews since according to Israel’s chief rabbis, the Tree of Life synagogue is not a real synagogue.


Trump’s Unwelcome Visit to Pittsburgh

Then we speak with Kristin Kanthaka professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh about her article at CNN, “Hate can’t diminish ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  A resident of Squirrel Hill where the massacre took place, she joins us to discuss the vigils today and the unwelcome arrival of President Trump and his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner in Pittsburgh which was boycotted by political leaders and local officials along with the neighborhood’s Representative in Congress, a Democrat who was not invited by the White House to attend a presidential photo-op which is attracting a large crowd of protesters.


Are Bombs and Mass Shootings a Welcome Distraction for Trump from the Saudi Debacle?

Then finally with the President today throwing out yet another bone to rile up his base, this time a dubious claim that he alone can end birthright citizenship with an executive order, we look into how much the bombings and mass shootings have been a welcome distraction for the White House from the embarrassing attempt at a cover-up by Trump and Jared’s close friend the Saudi Crown Prince who most observers believe ordered the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi.Michael Brenner, a Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh who was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department, joins us.