- Pathfinder

Reply To: Have you been exposed to harmful antisemitic tropes about Jewish control over finances or foreign policy? After participating in this course, how would you go about responding to these tropes if you encounter them?

Kaitlyn Renfer

While I have not personally been exposed to harmful antimsemitic tropes about Jewish control over finances or foreign policy, I appreciate learning about them in the course on US foreign policy in the Near East so that I can better be prepared for how to respond to such comments. One way I would responder is by asking the person to explain what they mean about Jewish control over finances and foreign policy and if they can provide examples from history.

Additionally, I would explain that Jewish Americans have not always been successful in lobbying for change in American foreign policy regarding Jews and Israel. For example, during World War II, Jews in America unsuccessfully lobbied the United States to bomb the railroad lines to Auschwitz and thereby slow down the transportation of prisoners to the concentration camp.

According to Professor Walter Russell Mead, Jewish Americans have tended to support Democratic presidential nominees instead of Republican nominees who have had stronger pro-Israel stances. It seems the opposite would be true if Jews in America truly did control all foreign policy decisions. Learning about this history between American Jews and Israel was helpful in preparing me to counter antisemitic comments and share the truth with others.