There’s a normalization of hate, a permissiveness around antisemitism that has grown, so that people commenting on Facebook pages are alluding to my being a Jewish candidate. There are memes put out by the man I was running against that are for me really right on the line of antisemitism, with me holding money bags and “Slotkin” spelled with a dollar sign. My opponent will not denounce the Proud Boys. He will not denounce these hate groups. It’s one of those things where you know if the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center label you a hate group it should be really easy for any candidate around the country to denounce that hate, especially now, and the fact that they won’t shows how normalized and how concerned they are about not offending those folks…
In my district, I have about 4,000 Jews, a small Jewish community of East Lansing. The majority of Jewish Michiganders are closer to Detroit than I live. I live on my family farm; I grew up in the Jewish community of suburban Detroit. Right before Covid, I brought in the Attorney General, I brought in some senior FBI folk from Michigan, and the ADL, because we’ve seen a fourfold increase in antisemitic events in Michigan. It’s spraypainting of swastikas outside of cafes run by more progressive people, the destruction of a sukkah outside of Michigan State Hillel. It’s a series of things; they aren’t violent, but what the FBI really told us about is a ladder of escalation. And when you add to that the conspiracy theories that have now been mainstreamed about Jews, that have literally led to violence in Poway and Pittsburgh. It’s just a different tone and feeling out on the campaign trail.
SUSAN WEIDMAN SCHNEIDER and JOAN ROTH, “Elissa Slotkin: How 2020 Looks from the Midwest,” Lilith Blog, October, 2020.