The new ad from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ― which warns of evil global elites and uses three Jewish people as examples ― adopts the language of anti-Semites, the head of the Anti-Defamation League said on Sunday.
“Whether intentional or not, the images and rhetoric in this ad touch on subjects that anti-Semites have used for ages,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “This needs to stop.”
He added that with tensions “extremely high” as the election nears, “all candidates need to be especially responsible and bid for votes by offering sincere ideas and policy proposals, not by conjuring painful stereotypes and baseless conspiracy theories.”
Trump released the ad on Friday as a closing statement to the campaign. It features the same type of fear-based rhetoric that has dominated his campaign, including mention of establishment figures “that don’t have your good in mind.” As examples, the ad features images of progressive billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. All of them are Jewish.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is Jewish, also criticized the ad on Sunday.
“When I saw the ad, I thought that this was something of a German shepherd whistle, a dog-whistle, to a certain group in the United States,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I think, I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m sensitive to it, but it clearly had sort of Elders of Zion kind of feel to it, international banking crisis... uh, plot, or conspiracy rather, and then a number of Jews,” he continued.
Franken said that the ad speaks “to a certain part of his alt-right base.”
“It’s an appeal to some of the worst elements in our country as his closing argument, and I think that people who aren’t sensitive to that or don’t know that history may not see that in that [ad], but that’s what I immediately saw,” he said.
It’s far from the first time Trump has played to white nationalists and anti-Semites, even though his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband and children are Jewish, as are members of his staff.
Trump delivered a speech in October that was criticized for anti-Semitic rhetoric ― and then clipped into the closing ad released on Friday. His campaign tweeted an image in July of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s face over a pile of cash and flanked by a Star of David. The campaign claimed it was a sheriff’s badge, but the image originated from a racist Twitter user.
Countless Twitter trolls pledging support for Trump have harassed journalists, commentators and others with anti-Semitic messages, with little or no condemnation from the Trump campaign. Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, notably called last week for an end to online bullying, although she previously said reporter Julia Ioffe “provoked” the torrent of anti-Semitic threats and screeds that came her way after she wrote about the would-be first lady.
The Trump campaign did not respond on Sunday to a request for comment on his latest ad.
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