Election '18

GOP Candidates Face Outcry For Depicting Jewish Opponents Clutching Fistfuls of Cash

The GOP isn't even trying to be subtle about it anymore.

The dust has barely settled from the horrific Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, committed by a neo-Nazi who believed Jewish groups are funding an influx of nonwhite migrants into the United States for nefarious purposes.

But Republicans apparently feel no responsibility to stand up to anti-Semitic sentiment. On the contrary, many GOP candidates are exploiting age-old stereotypes to attack Jewish opponents as avaricious and money-grubbing.

On Tuesday, with the polls opening nationwide, the Washington Post detailed multiple instances around the country of Republicans who have gone after Jewish Democrats by depicting them clutching fistfuls of cash.

One ad in Alaska depicted a Jewish state Senate candidate as a shadowy figure stuffing $100 bills into his suit, captioned "If you give Jesse Keihl your vote, you may as well give him your wallet." Republicans in Washington's 8th District illustrated the Democratic candidate, Dr. Kim Schrier, clutching a wad of $20 bills with the line "Dr. Tax will see you now!"

Another mailer in North Carolina showed Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer with a stack of bills, while a GOP state assembly candidate in California showed challenger Josh Lowenthal tinted green and clutching $100s, and the Connecticut Republican state Senate candidate put out an attack against opponent Matthew Lesser showing him grasping a wad of cash with a bug-eyed, demonic grin.

The anti-Semitic attacks are getting so grotesque that even some Republicans are sickened. "Jesse is proudly and prominently a member of Juneau's Jewish community," said Scott Kendall, a Jewish Republican who served as chief of staff to outgoing Gov. Bill Walker. "It is tough for me to process through that and not see an ill intent."

The stereotype of the Jewish people as money-grubbing and usurious dates back centuries, originating from Roman and medieval Church depictions of Judas' betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver. It has been used to justify horrific persecution of Jews — a key fixture of Nazi propaganda was that the postwar German economy was suffering because Jews had bled the nation of all its money.

But Republicans have been increasingly willing to lean on this poisonous imagery for political ends. In 2016, the Trump campaign shared an image of Hillary Clinton depicting her on a pile of cash with a Star of David, an image first posted on an anti-Semitic message board (Clinton is a Methodist).

More recently, they have sought to tie the Honduran migrant caravan to George Soros, a Jewish Hungarian-born philanthropist billionaire and Holocaust survivor known for his contributions to liberal causes.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.