Did you see the anti-Semitism? Tapper froze a frame that showed billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein — all of whom, Tapper said, are Jewish. Franken said:
Franken, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, said his reaction to the ad was: “This was something of a German shepherd whistle, a dog whistle, to sort of the, a certain group in the United States” and said it speaks to “a certain part” of Trump’s base in the alt-right.If an anti-Semitic message was intended, Franken gave it air, but Franken had to think that accusing the other side of anti-Semitism would help his candidate. Maybe the message from Trump works, but only if it's kept at a subconscious level — or maybe that's just what Franken thinks. What if anti-Semitism works and it was not intended by the ad, but Franken originated the charge and unintentionally helped Trump?
“I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m sensitive to it, but it clearly had sort of [an] ‘Elders of Zion’ kind of feel to it,” Franken said. “International banking plot or conspiracy, rather, and then a number of Jews.”
“I think that it’s an appeal to some of the worst elements in our country as his closing argument,” he added. “And I think that people who aren’t sensitive to that or don’t know that history may not see that in that, but that’s what I immediately saw.”
This is an awful subject to bring up now, but maybe the Democratic cause is desperate. Franken certainly looked very depressed. He could barely get his words out. It was painful to watch.
Now, I do want to add that I'm sympathetic to the argument that political material can sneak in an anti-Semitic message. That's what I thought I saw in Michael Moore's movie "Capitalism: A Love Story," blogged here in October 2009:
The most striking thing in the movie was the religion. I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy). And he presented various priests, Biblical quotations, and movie footage from "Jesus of Nazareth" to make the argument that Christianity requires socialism. With this theme, I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word "Jewish," but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it's up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.
Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite? I don't know, but the movie worked as anti-Semitic propaganda. I had to struggle to fight off the idea the movie seemed to want to plant in my head.