JTA — Two left-wing Jewish groups have accused Donald Trump’s presidential campaign of anti-Semitism over an ad showing Bernie Sanders holding Joe Biden as a puppet.
The ad, according to screenshots posted on Twitter, has Biden dangling like a marionette from strings that are wrapped around Sanders’ fingers with text reading “Joe Biden: The radical left’s puppet.” Sanders, who challenged Biden from the left in the Democratic presidential primary, is Jewish.
IfNotNow and Bend the Arc said the ad perpetuates the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews nefariously pulling the world’s strings. The accusation that Biden is a puppet of the far left is a frequent one among Trump supporters, who often use images of Sanders to illustrate the argument.
“There’s a long, dangerous history of Jews being scapegoated as all-powerful puppet masters,” Bend the Arc tweeted Tuesday. “Trump is using this antisemitic lie to spread fear & division.”
Anti-Semitic cartoons throughout history have included images of Jews as puppet masters. In a tweet from 2018 regarding a different cartoon, the Anti-Defamation League wrote, “Even if no anti-Semitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events perpetuates #antiSemitic tropes.”
Trump has also accused Biden of being the puppet of non-Jews. A Trump ad with a similar theme from May reads “Joe Biden: China’s puppet” and features a video of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping standing behind Biden and moving his mouth like that of a ventriloquist’s dummy.