Janine Jackson: On October 5, Fox host Maria Bartiromo asked Sen. Chuck Grassley if he thought George Soros was “behind” public criticism of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination — or, as she put it, “paying these people to get you and your colleagues in elevators or wherever they can get in your face.” Grassley responded:
I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it. I believe it fits in his attack mode, and how he uses his billions and billions of resources. I think it promotes incivility in American society.
An hour later, Trump tweeted:
The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others.
Neither Bartiromo nor Grassley nor Trump noted that George Soros is Jewish. They don’t need to. References to a billionaire secretly pulling the strings of disruptive, unpatriotic activists draw on decades, even centuries, of antisemitic ideas — ideas that can fuel violence, as painfully shown by the October 27 killing of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
That the horror of Jews being killed because they were Jews came shortly after two black people were killed because they were black, in a Kentucky grocery store, seemed to encourage some to think about the relationship between antisemitism and the white supremacy rearing its head in Trump-era public life. Others have been seeing those connections — and acting on them — for many years now. We’re joined now…