RNC shuts down convention live chat over anti-Semitic rants

As Jewish former governor speaks in Cleveland, commentators fill YouTube chatroom with racist slurs

Former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
Former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Live Chat on the Republican National Committee’s YouTube livestream of the National Convention was swiftly disabled on Monday after the discussion devolved into anti-Semitic rants by far-right commentators.

As Jewish former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle addressed the convention on the Republican Party’s Jewish outreach and its support of Israel, the chat became inundated with anti-Jewish slurs praising Adolf Hitler, calling to ‘Ban Jews’ and calling the politician a “kike,” the Raw Story reported.

The website posted several photos it snapped of the racist comments.

Lingle criticized the Democratic Party’s stance on Israel and scarcely mentioned Trump in her speech. She said President Barack Obama’s term had “been a wake-up call to American Jews.” She said the Democratic Party — including its presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton — had “treated our allies as strangers.”

She claimed anti-Israel sentiment was growing in the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party supports Israel. She praised the Republican platform’s new policy on Israel, which calls for a united Jerusalem under Israeli control, does not mention the two-state solution and opposes the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, known as BDS.

“On one issue after another, from boycott, divestment and sanctions to the Iran nuclear agreement to the very legitimacy of Israel, they’re divided, with those who don’t care for Israel getting stronger in the Democratic Party,” Lingle said. “You’ll find no such division in the Republican Party’s leadership.”

In her lone mention of Trump, who won the Republican nomination but has irritated a number of party leaders, she said Jews need to support him to “make America great again,” using his campaign’s theme.

Lingle also said the Republican share of the Jewish vote is increasing, with more Jews voting Republican in five of the six past presidential elections. In the most recent election, in 2012, 70 percent of Jews voted for Obama, the incumbent Democrat.

Trump has faced accusations that his campaign is supported by anti-Semitists and of pandering to white supremacists.

Trump’s foreign policy slogan, “America First,” echoes the World War II-era non-interventionist movement championed by a notorious anti-Semite. During the height of the primary campaign, Trump delayed disavowing the support of white supremacist David Duke. And the candidate has failed to condemn the recent anti-Semitic vitriol directed by supporters against journalists who have written critically of Trump, including New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman and GQ writerJulia Ioffe.

An image tweeted, and then deleted, by Donald Trump on July 2, 2016, which uses a Star of David to call Hillary Clinton the 'Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!' (screen capture: YouTube)
An image tweeted, and then deleted, by Donald Trump on July 2, 2016, which uses a Star of David to call Hillary Clinton the ‘Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!’ (screen capture: YouTube)

And the candidate caused outrage this month when his campaign tweeted a controversial image depicting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with dollar bills next to a six-pointed star which bore the words “most corrupt candidate ever.”

Critics, including the Anti-Defamation League, said the imagery of a Star of David connected to a message of wealth and corruption was anti-Semitic, and noted that it had first appeared on a neo-Nazi internet bulletin board. Trump’s staff removed the tweet and replaced it with an altered version, although Trump has continued to maintain that the star was meant to be a sheriff’s star or just a plain star.

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