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“Soros-Occupied State Department”

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Apropos my various posts on this subject.

The only question now is whether the Republican party can internalize antisemitic tropes via its war against George Soros and keep the overall cancer contained. The fact that House Majority Leader Keven McCarthy (R-California) deleted his dogwhistle Tweet after the attempted bombing of George Soros suggests that there remains some capacity for shame in the GOP leadership. And the fact that many of the ordinary Republicans who rant about Soros—and these include people who I’m friendly with—don’t consider themselves antisemites and distinguish Soros from Jews in general is some small comfort.

But we just don’t know whether the firewalls can hold, and we have cause for concern. When a representative from a prominent right-wing advocacy group simply replaces “Zionist” with “Soros,” and a prominent (albeit particularly odious) conservative voice doesn’t blink, that suggests real cause for alarm. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve seen perfectly nice people slip from Soros to the Rothschilds; that’s more than just a little bit worrisome.

The problem is that when conservative media and politicians whip their core supporters into a frenzy by deploying antisemitic conspiracy theories around someone like Soros, they have no obvious way to stop the next phase from diffusing through the Republican base. Paranoid accusations from mainstream GOP elites about Soros and “globalists” give credibility to dark claims about the Rothschilds—and even full-blown talk of a left-wing Jewish conspiracy. In the age of social media, that’s pretty much a guarantee of (if you’ll excuse my change in metaphors) contagion. We’ve already seen similar patterns with Islamophobia, anti-Obama conspiracies, and the like. We’ve seen it with the way that QAnon—which is indistinguishable from a parody of a conspiracy theory—gained a foot in the mainstream, let alone “Pizza Gate.”

Now, it is possible that there’s a barrier that will hold. But here’s the thing: if you aren’t an antisemite and you’re perfectly content to have politicians like Steve King, how much difference does it make over the longterm? Maybe the antisemitism remains just below the surface, but the same won’t be true of other forms of bigotry. And we’ve already gotten pretty far across that Rubicon.

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