Is Ron DeSantis a racist

The upcoming "Midterm Elections" on November 6th in the United States will take place at a time when the American nation is presenting itself as torn as seldom before.

America's Jews, who have hitherto always sought-after potential votes, run the risk of being drawn into the irreconcilable debate. More mercilessly than ever, both Democrats and Republicans are fighting to explain to them why one vote for the other party would harm the Jewish community.

The left-liberal side accuses the Republicans under Trump of joining forces with white nationalists and racists. The conservative right, in turn, attacks the Democrats because of candidates who are critical of Israel or who deny the country's right to exist.

When Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, who is running for governor of Florida, was asked in a discussion about his stance on racism, he countered by pointing out the anti-Israel views of his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum.

Stigma DeSantis and Gillum, the current mayor of Florida's capital Tallahassee, both have a political stigma attached to them: DeSantis for his racist wording and Gillum for political allies who oppose Israel. According to the Jewish news agency JTA, this is not surprising in a "swing state," that is, a federal state whose voters sometimes tend towards the Republicans, sometimes towards the Democrats, and in which the large Jewish and Afro-American minorities can be decisive in voting.

In this already heated situation, three events burst within a week, which proved in the bloodiest way that polemics can quickly turn into deadly hatred. "72 hours in America: three crimes full of hate, three suspects full of hate," CNN summarized the events between October 24th and 27th.

On October 24, a white American - known to the police for violent crimes - apparently indiscriminately shot and killed two African-Americans in a supermarket in Kentucky after trying unsuccessfully to storm a church service in a black community. On October 26, a white racist and ardent Trump admirer was arrested in Florida after sending a dozen letter bombs to Democratic politicians and Trump-critical media and celebrities. Among the addressees: former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and actor Robert De Niro.

And October 27th will go down in recent US history as the day on which eleven people were shot while shouting "All Jews should die" in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the Shabbat service. Here, too, the perpetrator was a racist with a known anti-Semitic past. While the nation has been moving closer and closer together after traumatic events, the USA seems to have divided even further this week.

Mood US President Trump condemned the letter bombs against his opponents, but at the same time pointed out that the media were taking advantage of the situation to stir up a mood against the Republicans. Hillary Clinton promptly identified Trump and his "inhuman hate speech" as the implicit main culprits of this black week.

No wonder, then, that the fronts in the Jewish political camp have hardened like seldom before. The two large party-affiliated organizations, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), are firing on each other from all angles. White nationalists "found their home with the Republicans because our president legitimized such movements," Halie Soifer, director of the JDCA, rumbled in an interview.

Matt Brooks, her RJC counterpart, countered that his organization had found half a dozen Democratic candidates who sharply criticize Israel or even - as in one case - postulate that the country should not exist as a Jewish state. "It is hard to beat in hypocrisy that the Jewish Democrats bombard us with such accusations and at the same time make no move to concern themselves with the problematic elements in their party."

There is something to both allegations. While the Democrats continue to assert that they are pro Israel, years of tension between the Obama administration and Israel’s cabinet under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have led many Democrats to openly criticize Israel or in the form of the promising Congress candidate Rashida Tlaib from the Muslim stronghold Detroit (Michigan) even have someone in their ranks who says Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state. That would have been unthinkable ten years ago.

Danger On the republican side, on the other hand, President Trump not only did not reject the support of right-wing radical "white nationalists", but in some cases even welcomed it. Just a few days ago, during an election campaign appearance in Texas for Senator Ted Cruz, Trump denounced globalists as people who care too little about the USA and called themselves nationalists. The English word "globalist" is often used by American neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists as a cipher for Jews.

Whether candidates like Republican Steve King from Iowa are raving about the "Jewish question" or how Democrat Ilhan Omar from Minneapolis (Minnesota) calls Israel an "apartheid regime" - for America's Jews this choice threatens to be a choice between the plague and cholera.

Or, as Jane Eisner put it in an angry comment for “Forward”: “I have a daughter who works as a freelance journalist and reports on all sorts of dangerous scenes in the Middle East and Africa. I have another daughter who works as a doctor to help the Rohingya - in the middle of the most dynamic refugee crisis in the world. But the one I'm most afraid of is the one in Brooklyn who takes her children to the synagogue on Shabbat. "