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Haddy the Hebrew: What Trump’s Dinner Meeting Means for Jews

One may not think that a former president, a prominent contemporary rapper and a podcaster have much in common. And yet, it came as almost no surprise to many when it was reported that the three were having dinner together. Former President Donald Trump, rapper Kanye West and podcaster Nick Fuentes broke bread together over the weekend for purposes that are not entirely clear. 

For those unfamiliar, Nick Fuentes is not just any podcaster; he is a white supremacist. Many consider him to be one of the most well-known white supremacists, especially of his generation. Fuentes gained attention after attending the infamous Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, where attendees chanted “Jews will not replace us” among other frightening calls to action. Fuentes’ podcast, “America First”, shows that Fuentes continues to hold the beliefs expressed at the rally. He has come under fire for espousing antisemitic beliefs on his podcast, like Holocaust denial and warning Jews to leave America. 

But why does such a meeting matter? It certainly seems to have riled up Jewish leaders, with Trump’s ambassador to Israel pleading with the former president to “to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history.” Trump seems to be sending a clear message; he is aligning himself with antisemites. This meeting shows an ascent of antisemitism into the mainstream of the right-wing movement. If Trump, who still holds a great deal of influence amongst Republican officials and voters, can meet with two people who have become notorious for their antisemitic beliefs, then it signals to the rest of the Republican party that these views are acceptable.  Just by holding this meeting, Trump has given a clear “okay” to his followers who hold similar beliefs. Just as West’s and Kyrie Irving’s social media posts and comments have sparked antisemitic incidents and a Black Hebrew Israelite protest, Trump’s dinner meeting will incite hate towards Jews from the Republican party. 

Some have said that Trump cannot be antisemitic because his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and their children are all Jewish. However, their Jewishness does not discount the fact that Trump is meeting with - and possibly hoping to work with - people who have been very publicly antisemitic. Trump’s familial ties to Jewish people do not seem to be stopping him from taking meetings with people who spread their Jew-hating beliefs. 

The former president claimed to not have known about Fuentes’ beliefs, which I find almost impossible. The podcaster is famous for his white supremacy, it would be difficult to do anything with him without knowing about the outlandish claims and the virulent hate that he spreads. 

Trump is playing a dangerous game. He has garnered support from some members of the Jewish community because he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, and had a solid working relationship with Israeli officials. However, this recent meeting denotes a shift in where the former president’s loyalties lie. Reportedly, the three talked about the 2024 election, although what exactly West and Fuentes have to do with Trump’s reelection campaign is unclear. But if the two are going to have anything to do with Trump’s run for office, it means there will be a high-profile candidate who is including avowed antisemites.

This is the beginning of a very dark chapter in Republicanism. When immensely Republican officials make it clear that they want to align themselves with antisemites, it not only pushes Republican Jews away from the party, it also makes American Jewry feel that much more at risk. If the very people who lead our country are aligning themselves (or possibly turning a blind eye to) antisemitism, who will help us? 

This is scary, I won’t lie. I can only hope that Trump will denounce West’s and Fuentes’ antisemitism, and will not be meeting with them again. The damage is already done, but hopefully more can be avoided. 

Hadass Galili is a senior studying political science pre-law at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Hadass by tweeting her at @HadassGalili.

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