Right-wing media have spent months disparaging liberal and anti-Zionist Jews to undercut support for Palestinians

Trump channeled and echoed a long-running trend in conservative media when he said Jews who vote for Democrats “hate” their religion

Prominent right-wing media figures have spent months deploying antisemitic tropes and accusations to disparage liberal and anti-Zionist Jews who have questioned or opposed Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

During an interview with conservative pundit Sebastian Gorka, former President Donald Trump added to these attacks by claiming that Democrats “hate Israel” and that “any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion.” Gorka is a former adviser to Trump who wore the honorary medal of a far-right, antisemitic Hungarian group during Trump’s inaugural ball.

After Hamas carried out a series of attacks on October 7 that killed at least 1,139 Israelis, Israel has waged a military offensive against Gaza that has killed more than 31,000 Palestinians and has put the coastal enclave on the brink of famine. Throughout the United States, many Jewish organizations and individuals have opposed Israel’s campaign, often in solidarity with Palestinian and Arab groups as well as the broader public.

While right-wing figures have denigrated symbols of Palestinian identity, they have also directed their vitriol at Jews who support Palestinian liberation — or even dare to criticize Israel’s military offensive. When Jonathan Glazer, the director of The Zone of Interest, used his Oscar speech to decry that his Jewishness and the memory of the Holocaust were being leveraged to justify an “occupation,” he was misquoted and attacked by right-wingers (some centrist and liberal Jews have also denounced him).

 What follows is an nonexhaustive sampling of right-wingers attacking Jews for criticizing Israel.

  • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro defended Trump’s comments. “Trump said, ‘If you're a Jew and you're voting Democrat, it's because either you don't understand what's going on or you don't care what's going on.’ He happens to be correct about that," Shapiro said. [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 3/19/24
  • Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer defended Trump as well. “And when it comes to the Israel and Gaza, certainly for people who are Jewish, if Israel is your first concern, you tend to vote Republican,” he said, adding, “Trump puts it indelicately, but Trump is basically right on the bigger issue.” [Media Matters, 3/19/24]
  • Fox News and conservative radio show host Mark Levin said Jewish Voice for Peace, which has been involved with ceasefire demonstrations, is “the Jewish wing, in my opinion, of a terrorist movement” and that it was “heavily funded by overseas operations, by Hamas’ network.” [Media Matters, 10/19/23]
  • Levin also called CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer “self-hating Jews” for their Gaza coverage. [Media Matters, 11/2/23
  • Salem Media Group’s Charlie Kirk argued: “A lot of secular Jews fund NYU and fund Harvard. You guys are funding the suicide of the Jewish people.” Kirk was amplifying a targeted harassment campaign directed at campus activists objecting to Israel’s response to October 7. [Media Matters, 10/17/23]
  • Kirk also blamed “elite Jewish culture” for being “one of the main funding sources” for “elite” colleges and universities that he suggested are breeding “Jew hatred.” [Media Matters, 10/13/23
  • Former Trump adviser and host of the War Room podcast Steve Bannon questioned why Jews in the United States would be critical of Israel. “Jews are smart,” Bannon said, adding, “Do they not support Israel?” Bannon later asked his guest, far-right writer Caroline Glick, “If MAGA can understand it, if evangelical Christians can understand it, if the Trump base can understand it and support Israel, how are you telling me the American Jews can’t understand it?” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 2/6/24]  
  • Glick later implicitly accused Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the highest ranking Jewish politician in the country, of being an antisemite after he called for new leadership in Israel. “He isn't fit to lead a synagogue's Men's Club,” Glick wrote. “He deserves to be primaried by AOC. She's a more convincing anti-Semite.” [Twitter/X, 3/14/24]
  • On Bannon’s show, longtime Islamophobe Frank Gaffney called Schumer a “court Jew” who “was sent out to Kosher-ize, if you will, the Biden team's antipathy towards Israel.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 3/15/24
  • Bannon also hosted self-proclaimed “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer, who said, “I say this as Jew myself: Sometimes the Jews’ worst enemy is the Jew themself.” Loomer continued, “And we're seeing this play out right now where you have all these leftist progressive Jews, people like George Soros who's probably the biggest financier of all of this progressive, pro-BLM, Palestinian, Islamic Jihad, anti-Jewish nonsense that has spread like a cancer on college campuses, and nobody wants to call it out.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 10/31/24]
  • In January, Loomer declared on her podcast: “It's always the Jews … for some reason so many rich Jews have a fixation on trying to destroy America.” She added, “I'm really sick and tired of watching all of these Jews with large amounts of money in our country donate to fund the destruction of our nation and the communist takeover of America.” [Rumble, Loomer Unleashed, 1/26/24]
  • Election denier Dinesh D’Souza attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is Jewish, after he criticized Israel’s military offensive, saying: “The ideology is far more important than his Jewish identity.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 11/6/23]
  • Conservative judicial activist Mike Davis wrote that “Bernie Sanders is your typical self-loathing Jewish leftist who hates Israel.” Davis added, “These kapos can go f*ck themselves,” using a term for Jews who served as guards while they were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. [Twitter/X, 2/7/24; Sydney Jewish Museum, 5/20/21
  • Former Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz claimed that “a lot of my friends don’t subscribe to The New York Times anymore. They regard it as a virulently anti-Israel and in many respects antisemitic newspaper. It has a long history of self-hating Jewish ownership.” Dershowitz was responding to a question about two New York Times writers who signed a letter characterizing Israel’s Gaza campaign as “an attempt to conduct genocide against the Palestinian people.” One of the writers, Jazmine Hughes, exited the paper shortly after signing the letter. The International Court of Justice later issued a provisional order finding it “plausible” that Israel was committing the crime of genocide. [Newsmax, Eric Bolling: The Balance, 11/3/23; Vanity Fair, 11/15/23; NPR, 1/26/24]

Beyond the threat that right-wing antisemitism — often under the guise of philozionism — poses to Jews in the United States, there is a serious danger that these types of attacks will chill speech that’s critical of Israel’s invasion and bombardment of Gaza. 

There’s no question that antisemitism, which a recent study found is far more prominent on the right than on the left, poses a very serious threat to Jews wherever they live. There is also no question that attempting to silence critics of Israel poses an existential threat to Palestinians who are facing starvation and imminent famine, as well as continuing military attacks carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces.