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Antisemitic dog whistles featured in new Gaspee Project mailer supporting State Senator Elaine Morgan



UPDATED October 31, 2018:

State Senator Elaine Morgan responds:

Aside from the outright lies, such as “force you to pay for the most brutal late-term abortions*,” a new mailer from the Gaspee Project in support of Elaine Morgan contains a decent amount of Trump-inspired, far right antisemitism.

The mailer reads, in part:

“But sadly, the Democrat party is led by intolerant European-style socialists like MAXINE WATERS and BERNIE SANDERS; and in Rhode Island it is funded by out-of-state special interests like the SEIU and GEORGE SOROS!”

There is no evidence that Jennifer Volpe Douglas, Morgan’s Democratic opponent for State Senate District 34 has taken any money from George Soros. No disrespect to Volpe Douglas or Morgan, but I doubt Soros has heard of either of them. Soros, a billionaire, contributes to many progressive and liberal causes, and and is no friend to the extreme right. But Soros didn’t become a billionaire because he’s a socialist: He’s one of the most successful capitalists alive. Also, lots of billionaires give money to progressive and liberal causes. Why does Soros earn special animus and figure into the dark, whacky conspiracy theories of extreme right advocacy groups like the Gaspee Project?

As Talia Lavin pointed out in a Washington Post oped, “Conspiracy theories about Soros aren’t just false. They’re anti-Semitic.” Lavin writes:

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“…it’s no surprise that Soros would wind up as a target. He’s become the subject of escalating rhetoric on the right — including from President Trump — that posits Soros as a nefarious force, fomenting social dissent and paying members of a migrant “caravan” that has been the subject of intense right-wing fearmongering leading up to the November midterms. And that rhetoric draws on old, and deep-rooted, anti-Semitic ideas that have been deployed by the right for decades.”

I strongly encourage everyone to read Lavin’s piece.

It is very possible, (and in fact may be legally required) for Elaine Morgan to have no input into what the Gaspee Project writes in the mailers they send out. Nonetheless, the mailer is in accord with Morgan’s views, as can be seen from the retweet below. Here Morgan is amplifying a conspiracy theory, not based in fact or reason, that the so-called “migrant caravan” is being abetted by “Globalist bankers,” another antisemitic dog whistle.

Again, quoting Lavin from the Washington Post:

“The term “globalist” is frequently used as a euphemism for Jew, including by far-right news site Breitbart, which surrounds Jewish former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn’s name with globe emoji, for “globalist.” The notion of Jews as internationally beholden to some Jewish conspiracy and its goals, rather than serving as loyal subjects of their home countries, dates back at least to a 1920s pamphlet, “The International Jew,” published by Henry Ford. Nazi-era political cartoons depicted the Jew as an octopus, encircling the world with its many devious tentacles, exerting an irresistible, slimy control.”

*Federal law, specifically the Hyde Amendment, bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.