“We will stand up to hatred and bullying wherever it rears its head.” Such was the message at the 2016 Risa K. Lambert Luncheon, Chicago’s massive fundraiser for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. That same season, Donald Trump was running his first presidential campaign, which was fueled with language and policy of overt misogyny, racism and Islamophobia.
It was shocking to me that in a room filled with 2,000 donors committed to teaching the world the message, “Never again,” not a single word, even of measured caution, was offered by any listed speaker about the invective of Trump’s campaign. I feared a blind eye was being turned toward the canary in the coal mine that was tweeting hate at the top of its lungs.
It is in this context that we must understand the communal response to Trump’s decision last week to host hateful antisemites Nick Fuentes and the artist Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at his Mar-a-Lago home. Anyone paying attention to Ye’s antisemitic antics of the past few weeks, or those frighteningly aware of Fuentes’ focused program to normalize the hatred of Jews, can comprehend why this dinner party offends beyond the pale. There is no difficulty understanding headlines such as “Jewish Allies Call Trump’s Dinner With Antisemites a Breaking Point.” The only real question is: What took so long?
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