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Norman Lear Says “Trump’s Appalling Words” About Jews Remind Him Why He Fought Nazis

Lear said he "read Donald Trump’s appalling words about American Jews" and was reminded of why he enlisted in World War II

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norman lear donald trump jews antisemitism world war ii nazis
Norman Lear (photo via State Department) and Donald Trump

    Before he created some of the most popular TV shows of the 1970s and ’80s, Norman Lear earned an Air Medal for heroism for flying 52 combat missions against Nazi Germany. Now, the writer behind All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and more says he hears echoes of old antisemitism coming from new leaders, writing that “Donald Trump’s appalling words about American Jews,” remind him of the bigotry that led to World War II.

    Via Deadline, those “appalling words” came in a Truth Social post on October 16th. Trump wrote, “No President has done more for Israel than I have. Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.” He added, “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel — Before it is too late!”

    Many people, including American Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt, felt that the words were “insulting and disgusting.” Greenblatt told CNN’s New Day that Trump’s post “sounds like a threat.”

    In a three-part Twitter thread, Lear was reminded of being nine years old and hearing on the radio “the vicious antisemitic voice of Father Coughlin railing against American Jews.” Coughlin was one of the first, and most popular, radio preachers from the early 20th Century, with an estimated audience of about 30 million people. He used that platform to promote antisemitic conspiracies, publishing the infamous disinformation The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his weekly periodical Social Justice, and using the radio to rail against, “international bankers… the media… communists,” as stand-ins for Jewish people. He also praised fascists in Europe, especially Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

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    According to Lear, the “horrifying moment” when he was nine years old and first heard Father Coughlin “resulted in my early enlistment in WWII and the 52 combat missions over Nazi Germany that followed.”

    He added, “Today, having recently turned 100, I read Donald Trump’s appalling words about American Jews, and I am nine years old again. The phrase, a horse’s ass, was an everyday expression when I was nine and it occurs to me again now.” Check out his full thread below.

    In 2019, Lear won yet another Emmy award, this time for Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons. In doing so, he broke the record for oldest winner ever.

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