Joe Biden’s firm condemnation of anti-Semitism on Friday responds to an alarming trivialization of anti-Semitic comments and hate speech by influential figures, amplified by social networks, according to experts.
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“Rather than giving it a platform, our politicians should publicly denounce anti-Semitism wherever it is found,” Trump tweeted.
“The Holocaust happened. Hitler was an evil person,” he added a day after rapper Kanye West, who confessed his admiration for Hitler and the Nazis in an earlier interview with a conspiratorial American emcee, sparked an outcry.
“I love Hitler”, launched several times by the artist, who now goes by the name Ye and who had dined in a select committee, a few days earlier, at Donald Trump’s home in Florida with the former Republican president, in the presence of a white supremacist, Nick Fuentes, known for questioning the reality of the Holocaust.
Analysts say the observations show that religious intolerance and conspiracy theories involving the Jewish community have become almost normal.
They are transmitted in particular by the MAGA movement (Make America great again, or “Make America Great Again”) by Donald Trump and the nebulous far-right conspirator QAnon, but also by personalities from the sports and business world. entertainment world, like Kanye West and basketball star Kyrie Irving, who recently promoted an anti-Semitic film that included a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler and denied the reality of the Holocaust.
The Trump Factor
“When you have celebrities advocating classic anti-Semitism like Kanye West, who has more Twitter followers than there are Jews on planet Earth, that’s something that’s going to enter the public debate,” notes Oren Segal, of the organization for the fight to ADL anti-Semitism.
It’s not just Donald Trump having lunch with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, he notes. Several elected Republicans attended a pro-Trump conference organized by Fuentes a few months ago.
“This normalization didn’t start when Kanye lost his mind,” Oren Segal told AFP. “It’s something we’ve been seeing for a long time.”
For him, Trumpism is a major factor in trivializing these hate speeches. “Trumpism is understood as the normalization of disinformation and conspiracy theories, and the normalization of anti-Semitism is not far off,” he explains.
And the consequences are real, he recalls, citing the bloody synagogue attacks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (11 dead in 2018), and Poway, California (one dead in 2019).
The fact that Kanye West and Kyrie Irving are both African-American has raised fears of growing anti-Semitism in the black community and among young people.
But, for Cheryl Greenberg, a professor at Trinity College, it is above all a question of “the tendency to trivialize extremist ideas”.
This trend is, according to her, favored by the fact that the younger generations know less about the Holocaust and are more aware of the problems of other marginalized or oppressed communities, whether they are ethnic minorities or LGBT+.
“By making anti-Semitism the central issue, Jews have complicated dialogue with many other communities,” said the Trinity College expert, noting that the traditional alliance of Jewish and African-American communities that existed in the 1950s-60s for the defense civil rights today have been defeated.
Younger black figures and other minorities no longer see Jews as victims, but as successful whites.
“There are many communities, not just Jews,” and the only solution is to cooperate with others – even those who criticize Israel – to continue fighting anti-Jewish sentiment, she said.myself Greenberg, who is herself Jewish.
Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter also showed how quickly problematic content can reappear on social networks as those responsible for content moderation ease their vigilance.
But Oren Segal is more concerned with the “ecosystem” of algorithm-driven video hosts, like TikTok, or discussion platforms without content moderation, like Telegram or Reddit, where entire communities have been built around anti-Semitism.
“It’s a toxic environment where the most vulnerable come to form their opinions,” he concludes. “We’re starting to see the consequences.”