That Trump’s biggest problem with the Times cartoon was its characterization of him fits into the broader picture of the administration’s sloppy attitude toward Jews. It was Trump who argued that there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ in Charlottesville. It was his administration that issued a statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day that ‘forgot’ to mention the primary victims of the Nazis. What doesn’t make sense is that the communities who rightfully condemned the New York Times aren’t condemning Garrison’s invitation. Where is the outrage from Jews? Where is the outrage from Republicans?
The unfortunate reality is that concern for Jews and outrage over anti-Semitism has become a political tool, wielded by both the left and the right at their convenience. You might imagine that such competitive reactions toward bigotry would be good for the Jews — that people on both sides of the aisle would scrambling to prove their philo-Semitic bonafides. Not so. Instead, all this competition has produced is a fierce commitment to whataboutism, in which, when one faction betrays anti-Semitic tendencies, the first instinct, rather than apologize, is to point to a previous misdeed across the aisle. Perhaps this is what inspired the Republicans who released righteous fury about the cartoon in the Times to do absolutely nothing in reaction to Trump’s invitation to Garrison. True allies should root out anti-Semitism wherever it appears, whether spouted by political friend or foe.