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Anti-Semitism And The MRC: The Virus Spreads

The Media Research Center was as squishy on the anti-Semitism of Kyrie Irving and on Donald Trump's dining with anti-Semites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes as it was on Ye's anti-Semitism.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/10/2023

The Media Research Center spent so much time complementing rapper Kanye West for his anti-abortion talking points that when Ye went anti-Semitic, it took days for the MRC to offer any meaningful criticism (but was still making excuses for him).

In the month before Donald Trump had a dinner with anti-Semites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, the Media Research Center labored to protect Trump from allegations of being anti-Semitic over his criticism of non-right-wing American Jews for allegedly not being sufficiently supportive of Israel. When he first made the claim in October, Mark Finkelstein launched quickly into Trump Defense Mode in an Oct. 17 post:

Monday's Morning Joe launched quickly into Trump Attack Mode, bizarrely claiming Donald Trump put out a "dangerous" and "anti-Semitic screed" on his Truth Social account about American Jews and Israel.

Today's Morning Joe deceptively cast this Trump "tweet" as suggesting that American Jews better get their act together before it's too late—for them!

That sounded ominous--until you read what Trump had actually written.


In other words, far from making a threat against American Jews, Trump's tweet was actually a plea for greater support for Israel! That Israel was endangered, from neighboring anti-Semites like the Iranians.

But Morning Joe repeatedly insisted that Trump's tweet was "anti-Semitic." And not merely a "dog whistle," but "screaming it out loud."

In a dramatic display of twisting these remarks out of context, Jonathan Lemire claimed that Trump's tweet "could be interpreted by his followers as a moment to potentially commit violence against Jews." And Joe Scarborough said the tweet was akin to a previous one by Trump in which he said that Mitch McConnell had a "death wish."

Trump was saying no such thing. But Morning Joe was sending a false message to potentially deranged people out there that Trump was in fact calling for violence against Jews. So if there's any violence that emerges, they can point their fingers.

Finkelstein followed up with more defense the next day:

This would be funny if it weren't so outrageous.

On his MSNBC show on Sunday, Mehdi Hasan, formerly of Al Jazeera, teed up notorious antisemite Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar to falsely accuse Donald Trump of making an antisemitic post, and to wring her hands of the rise of antisemitism in America.

As Eli Lake, tongue firmly in cheek, tweeted: "Up next, Vladimir Putin will talk to Mehdi about the importance of international law in a nuclear world."

Hasan introduced the subject by abjectly mischaracterizing Trump's tweet as having "threatened American Jews." To the contrary, as we noted yesterday, "far from making a threat against American Jews, Trump's tweet was actually a plea for greater support for Israel!"

Ilhan proceeded to wring her hands over Trump's alleged use of antisemitic "tropes." In particular, she condemned Trump's supposed charge of "dual loyalty" against Jews. This from the woman who said, in a reference to American Jewish supporters of Israel, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says that it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Omar has a long history of anti-Israel/antisemitic statements. There was that notorious tweet in which she wrote: "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."

Her most infamous bit of classic antisemitism came when, directly pointing the finger at AIPAC, Omar claimed US support for Israel is "all about the Benjamins baby."

Finkelstein didn't explain any criticism of Israel is automatically anti-Semitic.

When Trump said pretty much the same thing a month later, it was Jason Cohen's turn to be the designated defender in a Nov. 22 post:

In the left’s latest effort to frame Donald Trump as an antisemite, HuffPost tried to spin his recent remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition in a piece with the headline “Donald Trump Scolds Jews, Praises Evangelicals In Geopolitical Swipe.” Sounds terrible, right? But in reality, it was not at all. Huff Left out details about the speech and the response to it.

For starters, in the clip it used from Mediaite, Trump began: “I just grew up with a great fondness and a great feeling for Jewish people and for Israel.”

HuffPost ignored that and started with this quote: “Some people in the United States — Jewish people — don’t appreciate Israel the way they should.”

Funnily enough, this line received loud applause from the crowd at the RJC, but HuffPost neglected to note that. Is the audience at the Republican Jewish Coalition anti-Semitic too?


Trump continued, “But I appreciate Israel, and it’s an honor to have, I think, done far more for Israel than any other president.”

Trump is particularly proud of his accomplishments in Israel, his favorite child is Jewish, and he has a lifelong record of being a friend to the Jewish people.

Worst anti-Semite ever.

Actually, Trump has a record of invoking offensive Jewish stereotypes such as calling them good with money and shrewd negotiators, as well as telling Jews that Israel is "their country," which invokes another anti-Semitic trope, that of dual loyalty. Cohen's claim that Trump "has a lifelong record of being a friend to the Jewish people" linked to an article written by a pro-Trump organization called Jews Choose Trump -- hardly an objective source.

Cohen concluded by huffing: "When will the left ever learn to judge people by their actions, not words and tonality?" Weird how Cohen thinks words and tone don't matter when it's a right-winger spouting the offensive ones.

A few days after Cohen's post went live, Trump had his dinner with Ye and Fuentes. Cohen was among those MRCers who were mad -- not at Trump, of course, but that reasonable observers viewed this dinner as evidence Republicans have a certain comfort level with anti-Semitism. Mark Finkelstein, in a Nov. 27 post, was more mad that the silence of Republicans was being called out -- and that Fox News was the one doing it -- than he was about the dinner:

Guest-hosting Fox News Sunday, Jennifer Griffin suggested to Jonathan Swan that Donald Trump's dinner with Nick Fuentes had triggered something of a wave of criticism of the former president among prominent Republicans.

But liberal reporters like Swan are trying to draw out fiercer criticism, including nudging Gov. Ron DeSantis to slam Trump. Swan dissented from Griffin's take:
"There actually haven't been that many prominent Republicans who have come out against Trump . . . Which tells me there is still a fear among Republicans, even ones who want to oppose him potentially in 2024, that Trump still commands a serious, meaningful proportion of the base, and they don't want to cross him yet."
Then again, by adding that "yet" at the end of his comment, Swan seemed to suggest that criticism of Trump by prominent Republicans is a matter of when, not if.


Note the graphic in the screencap: "Democracy 2024."That sounds like something you'd expect to see on CNN or MSNBC--not Fox News Channel. More evidence that the Murdoch empire is moving away from Trump?

Finkelstein not only didn't criticize Trump's dinner, he didn't even explain that Fuentes is a white nationalist. He did acknowledge Fuentes' odiousness, however, in a post the next day:

Don Lemon has unwittingly let CNN's cat out of the bag. Guests aren't there to engage in an actual discussion. They're brought on to express a specific opinion. And if they try to stray from CNN's script, they will be shut down.

Lemon gave a perfect illustration of the phenomenon on Monday's CNN This Morning. The guest was Len Khodorkovsky, a former Trump administration official, who is Jewish. And in Lemon's mind, the clear purpose of Khodorkovsky's appearance was to have him criticize Trump for hosting a dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West.

In fact, in a variety of ways, Khodorkovsky did just that. He began with: " Let's just call Nick Fuentes for who he is. He is an antisemite, he's repulsive, his views are disgusting. And no one of any substance should give him any forum"

But when he tried to expand the conversation to include antisemitism among elected Democrats including Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, AOC, and President Obama, Lemon shut him down. No one was allowed to discuss them.


Note: Wouldn't you have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Lemon got ahold of the producer who arranged for Khodorkovsky's appearance? Can't you imagine Lemon unloading along these lines: "what the hell were you thinking in inviting this guy? I was looking for someone to trash Trump, not start throwing examples of Democrat antisemitism back in my face!"

Finkelstein censored the fact that Khodorkovsky refused to explicitly condemn Trump for having dinner with West and Fuentes, making that appearance less successful than Finkelstein would have you believe.

A Nov. 28 post by Curtis Houck threw a fit that people were making logical conclusions about the Republican Party based on a dinner by the party's leader and the refusal of other Republicans to criticize it:

CNN’s Inside Politics host John King has long been seen as one of the more even-keeled CNN mainstays, but when he has an itch, he becomes just as partisan as the rest. Such was the case Monday when he and his panel used former President Trump’s brazen dining with virulent racists and anti-Semites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes and the GOP response as proof that the party is content with being an anti-Semitic party encouraging hate crimes.

“To American politics now and to this sad, sad but recurring reality: Donald Trump associates himself with conspiracy and hate and all but a few Republican leaders say nothing,” King began, restating the details of the Trump dinner before whining there’s been “silence” from the GOP minus “a few willing to call this out.”


Going to break, Bash suggested that, by not meeting the media’s satisfaction of distancing itself from Trump, Republicans are allowing anti-Semites and white supremacists to believe now is the “time to act.”

Houck himself did not denounce Trump's dinner -- unless we're supposed to believe that calling it "brazen" was a criticism -- nor did he cite any Republicans who did, which would seem to prove King right despite all of Houck's whining.

Something similar is also missing from a Nov. 29 post by Jason Cohen complaining about similar logical conclusions:

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte is on to you, Republicans. She can see right inside your pasty white scalps and into your racist brains. She knows you’d be fine with Trump dining with white supremacists, as long as it did not hurt your election chances.

As part of that, she had a piece out titled “ Republicans don't care that Trump's a white supremacist — just that he's indiscreet about it.”

In it, Marcotte not only condemned right-wing politicians as racist bigots but also contemptibly categorized their voters similarly. She wrote, “GOP base voters, who either fully agree with Trump's racist views or don't care enough to hold it against him, dig in their heels and refuse to reconsider their cult-like worship of the former president.”

Marcotte then went on to call Trump an “overt white nationalist.” Does she not know what “overt” means or is Marcotte purposely misleading her readers?


Does Marcotte believe the right does not view white supremacy as disgusting and that they do not care about mass murders motivated by this sick ideology?

She then did a little concern-trolling, lecturing Republicans that “white supremacist views offend some number of Americans who might otherwise be inclined to vote for their party. In the end, GOP leaders send the message that the problem with Trump's overt racism is not that it's wrong or damaging, but that it's inconvenient to white conservatives.”

It is 2022, and except for a small fringe, Americans detest these imbecilic ideologies. But the left is so brainwashed with hatred that they generalize this to half of the country.

Funny, we recall that Cohen tried to justify West's anti-Semitism a month earlier, so it seems he doesn't actually believe anti-Semitism is as "imbecilic" as he claims. He also didn't actually criticize Trump over the dinner.

Another Nov. 29 post, by Kevin Tober, finally offered something approaching explicit criticism of Trump (albeit though noting that other Republicans have criticized him) while serving up the same familiar whine about Republicans being called out for tolerating anti-Semitism:

On MSNBC's low-rated show The 11th Hour, host Stephanie Ruhle during a segment on former President Donald Trump's dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and anti-Semite and degenerate rapper Kanye West, Ruhle decided to smear the entire Republican Party by suggesting they are the party of racists and anti-Semites despite the fact that Republicans from all corners of the party have rightly condemned Trump for keeping bad company.

After airing a clip of former President George H.W. Bush condemning former KKK grand wizard and then-candidate for Governor of Louisiana David Duke for his racist and anti-Semitic views, Ruhle referenced a tweet by Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy which strongly criticized Trump's dinner with Fuentes and West.

She then whined that "he was responding to the Trump dinner saying this is not who the Republican Party is. But here's the thing. We just listened to George Bush. It might not be who the Republican Party was. But it's absolutely who they are today."

Tober then whined that "Not only did she fail to offer any evidence to back up her hateful smear of half the country, but she was defiant. When called out on Twitter shortly after she made those comments, she refused to apologize or retract what she said."He then posted an exchange between him and Ruhle in which he called her a "dunce" -- not the way to engender good faith and invite an enlightening dialogue. Ruhle knew Tober was a bad-faith hater, and she pithily dissed in response: "Thanks for tuning in Kev." He continued to rant at Ruhle, which she understandably ignored.

Also note that Tober is calling West a "degenerate rapper" -- which comes full circle to the insults the MRC hurled at West before he struck up a bromance with Trump and started spouting right-wing anti-abortion rhetoric, which the MRC loved.

Finkelstein returned for yet another post on the subject -- not to actually criticize Trump himself, of course, but to mock "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski for grudgingly acknowledging that Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, criticized Trump.

Kyrie Irving's anti-Semitism

As with Kanye West, the MRC hated NBA star Kyrie Irving before it loved him. It was, however, for a much briefer time than it hated Ye: The only early criticism of Irving it made was in a June 2020 post by Jay Maxson complaining that Irving was among NBA players considering boycotting the rest of the 2020 season (which would eventually be played in a bubble in Florida to protect against COVID infections) over social justice concerns following the death of George Floyd.

Then Irving became an anti-vaxxer, and the MRC suddenly loved him, with its two sports bloggers, Maxson and John Simmons, gushing over his supposedly principled stance. It has continued to lionize Irving's anti-vaxxer attitudes: An Aug. 31 post by Simmons whined that the NBA "made Kyrie Irving an outcast because he did not want to get vaccinated," while a Sept. 10 post by Simmons helped Irving play victim because no team would give him a long-term contract over his anti-vaxx selfishness.

So when Irving indulged in Kanye-esque anti-Semitism by posting a link to an anti-Semitic film on his Instagram account, then wouldn't apologize until after the NBA suspended him, he had built up enough anti-vaxx goodwill at the MRC that it came to his defense instead of criticizing his anti-Semitism. A Nov. 10 post by Clay Waters whined that the New York Times reported on both Irving's and West's anti-Semitism and that they were being "blamed on Trump and Republicans." Waters did at least call the anti-Semitism "rancid" -- which is the only word of criticism the MRC has expressed toward Irving's anti-Semitism in the days immediately after the incident. (Just like with Kanye.)

The next day, however, Maxson wouldn't criticize Irving at all, instead going into full whataboutism mode:

On Thursday, Nike co-founder Phil Knight said the Swoosh is done with Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving because the star guard “stepped over the line” by posting a social media link to an anti-Semitic movie. Boston Celtics’ all-star Jaylen Brown was having none of this, as he tagged Nike for hypocrisy over the issue of China.

“Since when did Nike care about ethics?,” Brown tweeted in response.

The same can be said of Brown and the NBA. He has worn Nike shoes in some games this season. Nike sources products from a factory in Qingdao, China, where Uyghur laborers are brutalized and forced to produce basketball shoes. The NBA pacifies China to protect income from its largest market.


Nike and the NBA will continue to rake in their Chinese windfalls, while giving meaningless lip service to social justice. Shame on both of them. They deserve zero respect and none of our consumer dollars.

Speaking of meaningless lip service, the MRC used to criticize Elon Musk for his close ties to China -- until he started spouting right-wing rhetoric and got interested in buying Twitter.

It took both Jason Cohen -- again, the guy who wrote a post that tried so hard to justify Kanye's anti-Semitism that the MRC eventually deleted it -- and Matt Philbin to write a Nov. 17 post that played whataboutism with both Irving's and Ye's anti-Semitism:

Say what you want about Kanye West and Kyrie Irving – their antisemitism doesn’t come with a body count. Then there’s Al Sharpton.

Race hustling MSNBC host was inciting riots and deadly arson against New York Jews before Irving was born. So the timing of a positive new documentary about Sharpton is ... ironic. And for John Legend to executive produce it and Joe Scarborough to promote it is flat-out hypocritical.

So what is the deal here?

Al long ago laundered his image, losing weight and trading in the shiny tracksuit and gold chains for a tie, an MSNBC job and close ties to left-wing politicians. Had it had one, MSNBC’s reputation would have taken a hit. The English language certainly did.

Conversely, Ye has recently shown himself to be quite conservative and even sinned greatly by supporting Trump. While Kyrie’s politics are less clear-cut, he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which undoubtedly alienated him from the mainstream left.

So are progressives proponents of canceling antisemites, or is it only when convenient?

Al Sharpton’s antisemitism was more virulent and harmful than anything Ye or Irving said. His race hoaxes ruined lives and he’s never shown any contrition.


The evidence is clear that Sharpton was a dangerous antisemite at a level much more severe than Ye and Irving. Yet Ye and Irving have been completely canceled while Sharpton has been embraced.

At no point do Cohen and Philbin actually condemn Irving's or Ye's anti-Semitism -- they simply argue it wasn't allegedly as bad as Sharpton's.

It seems that Cohen and Philbin only want to cancel anti-Semites when its convenient to their right-wing agenda -- and Irving and Kanye have been too convenient to their agenda for these two to offer even the slightest criticism of their anti-Semitism, let alone go into cancel mode.

Houck again whined about this in a Nov. 30 post:

Is there any difference between John Dickerson and Joy Reid? It’s a worthwhile question as Dickerson and the CBS Mornings co-hosts eagerly used former President Trump’s idiotic dinner with a trio of white nationalists (with one of them also being a Holocaust denier) to tar and feather the party Wednesday as one that trumpets white nationalism and “normalizes” anti-Semites having a home in the GOP, with violent rioting being “legitimate political discourse.”


After clips of McCarthy saying Nick Fuentes “has no place in this Republican Party” and “anyone meeting with” such people “are unlikely to ever be elected,” Dokoupil dismissed their rebukes because Trump’s name wasn’t mentioned.

At this point, goal posts should be charging journalists a fee for how much time they spend moving them.

Beyond calling the dinner "dumb" (in the headline) and "idiotic," Houck offered no actual criticism of Trump himself; to the contrary, he complained that Dickerson "falsely claimed Trump has 'never condemned white supremacy' or 'Nazis,'" insisting that "A simple search of the Trump White House website and his Twitter account ... would disprove that." None of which, by the way, contradicts the fact that Trump willingly had dinner with two rabid anti-Semites.

While Jeffrey Lord admitted the dinner was an issue in his Dec. 3 column, he spent much of it cheering a right-wing commentator playing whataboutism over it:

Well, bravo. Over there at Newsmax, Chris Salcedo, the host of "The Chris Salcedo Show", nailed it exactly when covering the dust-up over the Trump-Kanye West dinner that, unknown to Trump, would include decided anti-Semite Nick Fuentes.

The problem? The liberal media instantly jumped on the dinner - and that’s fine. Salcedo himself pointedly noted that Ye had been spewing anti-Semitism and he, Salcedo, condemns anti-Semitism no matter where it comes from. He’s right, of course. There’s no room for anti-Semitism and white supremacism in America -- period. But as Chris vividly illustrated, this liberal media outrage strangely disappears when the anti-Semitism is coming from, yes, anyone on the left.

One of the examples cited was "neo-Nazi activist Richard Spencer, the latter who endorsed Biden for president." In fact, he was simply trolling to get attention -- and Salcedo and Lord fell for it. Lord then insisted that Trump, "who has a Jewish daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, successfully negotiated the Abraham Accords, became the first president to visit the 'Wailing Wall' in Jerusalem and moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem," couldn't possibly be anti-Semitic -- but he ignored Trump's frequent invocation of anti-Semitic stereotypes.

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