Christie Blames Trump for Increasing Antisemitism and Islamophobia

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Chris Christie laid the blame for rising antisemitism and Islamophobia directly at Donald Trump’s feet.

“When you show intolerance toward everyone, which is what [Trump] does, you give permission as a leader for others to have their intolerance come out,” Christie said during an interview with Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “Intolerance toward anyone encourages intolerance toward everyone.”

“I believe Donald Trump’s intolerant language and conduct gives others permission to act the same,” he added.

Trump has long perpetuated dangerous antisemitic tropes and accused Jewish people of a “dual loyalty” to the U.S. and Israel. He has also expressed virulent anti-Muslim sentiments and took action while in office to ban travel from majority-Muslim nations. He has promised to bring back an expanded ban should he be elected again.

Earlier this month the Biden Administration took action to address increasing incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia on college campuses, including sharing resources and public safety information, hosting listening sessions, and launching a webinar series “to develop, strengthen, and share evidence-informed strategies that help schools prevent and respond to hate-based threats, bullying, and harassment.”

Both antisemitism and Islamophobia are rising in the United States. In 2022, the U.S. saw the highest recorded level of antisemitic incidents, reaching nearly 3,700 reported cases, including assaults, vandalism and harassment, per the Anti-Defamation League.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that triggered a war with Israel, both Muslim and Jewish civil rights groups have reported increases in bias incidents, including physical assaults. In one incident, a man is accused of punching a woman in the face at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The victim reported that he told her, “You are Jewish,” after the assault when she asked him why he hit her. Columbia University student Rebecca Massel wrote in Rolling Stone about her experiences with antisemitism, including receiving threats after she reported on an antisemitic incident on campus.

The Council American-Islamic Relations reported a 182 percent jump in reports of bias incidents against Muslims in the two weeks following the Oct. 7 attack compared to the 2022 average. On Saturday night, three Palestinian students were shot and injured in Burlington, Vt. Police said two of the victims were wearing keffiyehs, and the victims were speaking Arabic, according to the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee. Police described the gunman as a white man who was silent before he fired at least four shots.

“We have a two pronged threat to American faith communities,” Brian Levin, founding director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, told the Associated Press. According to FBI estimates, hate crimes increased by seven percent last year.

In another Sunday interview, this time on ABC’s This Week, Christie discussed Trump’s campaign and the possibility that he won’t concede if he loses any primary races. “No one will expect him to concede. He hasn’t conceded the 2020 election. Who cares?” Christie told host Jonathan Karl. “I don’t suspect he’ll ever concede, he’s ever lost any election, even though he lost primaries in 2016 to Ted Cruz, and he’ll lose primaries this time as well.”

“But it doesn’t matter,” Christie added. “In the end, the rules will govern here just as the rules governed in 2020, and he moved out of the White House and Joe Biden is sleeping in the White House tonight.”

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