Princeton’s Julian Zelizer worried about the rise of anti-Semitism

Historians in the News
tags: election 2016, Trump, Anti Semitism



In a Jewish community where 70 percent of the people supported Hilary Clinton, the election of Donald Trump has impinged on individuals’ identities as Jews, but even more so as Americans. Serious concerns about anti-Semitism and hate speech and even the deeper roots of democracy itself are pushing community leaders to think about the appropriate Jewish communal response to current events.

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a member of the Jewish Center in Princeton, said he is concerned that anti-Semitic rhetoric and connections to anti-Semitic groups were part of a major political campaign. 

“When something like this gains some legitimation, there is a danger — in what message that sends and what groups are allowed to participate in a party coalition,” he said. The appointment of Stephen Bannon — the CEO of Trump’s campaign and named chief strategist and senior counselor for his White House — “sends a message that organizations of the alt-right are part of the Trump coalition and has lowered the bar in terms of what can be said,” Zelizer said.

For Zelizer, the campaign and election of Trump has touched his sense of Jewish identity. 

“As someone who comes from a family of rabbis and is religious…” — his father is Rabbi Gerald Zelizer, religious leader emeritus of Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen — “it’s troubling to see anti-Semitism become a legitimate part of the political discourse.” ...




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