WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hillary Clinton’s campaign described Breitbart News as anti-Semitic in attacking Donald Trump for hiring the conservative news site’s CEO to run his presidential campaign.
“Maybe you heard about the time they attacked an opponent — a conservative Republican, no less — by calling him a ‘renegade Jew,’” said a fundraising letter sent out Thursday from Christina Reynolds, the Democratic nominee’s deputy communications director, referring to Breitbart News.
“They’re a different breed altogether — not just conservative but radical, bigoted, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic conspiracy peddlers who never have been and never should be anywhere near the levers of power in this country,” the letter said.
Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s executive chairman, joined Trump’s team this week in one of several recent staff shake-ups aimed at closing the Republican nominee’s polling gap with Clinton.
The site recently described William Kristol, the editor of the influential Weekly Standard, as a “renegade Jew” because of his fierce opposition to Trump’s bid for the presidency.
The intent appeared to be to suggest that Kristol cared too little about the Jews, not too much. The writer, David Horowitz, argued that Kristol’s opposition to Trump would pave the way for a Clinton victory, which he said would “weaken the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation.” The phrase “renegade Jew” appears only in the headline.
Kristol has said he was offended by the characterization.
More broadly, Breitbart News has joined Trump in his broadsides against immigration and Muslims, and has become a clearinghouse for criticism of “globalism,” a trend that the news site has depicted as a means of destroying Western culture.
Tirades against “globalism” are popular on the “alt-right,” an emerging hypernationalist movement that includes writers who also deride Jewish influence.
Breitbart News, in a statement posted after Clinton’s campaign manager made similar accusations in a conference call, dismissed the charges of anti-Semitism and other bigotries as character assassination.
“They say that we are ‘anti-Semitic,’ though our company was founded by Jews, is largely staffed by Jews, and has an entire section (Breitbart Jerusalem) dedicated to reporting on and defending the Jewish state of Israel,” according to the statement.
The site’s founder, the late Andrew Breitbart, was raised Jewish.
“I’m glad I’ve become a journalist because I want to fight on behalf of the Israeli people,” Breitbart told a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2011.