Antisemitism takes different forms across political spectrums, and both major parties handle it differently. While left-wing antisemitism is often oppositional and distinct from the Democratic Party’s mainstream, right-wing antisemitism sometimes aligns with the Republican Party. This alignment was evident recently when Ron DeSantis declined to denounce white-nationalist slurs made by Elon Musk.
Elon Musk publicly endorsed a white-nationalist account that propagated antisemitic tropes, blaming Jewish communities for societal issues. Despite this, DeSantis, a prominent Republican figure, not only received Musk’s endorsement but also downplayed the significance of Musk’s comments when questioned on CNN.
During the interview, DeSantis claimed he hadn’t seen Musk’s comments, but when presented with the content, he refrained from condemning it. Instead, he portrayed Musk as a victim fighting against a narrative he disagreed with. Despite being confronted with Musk’s explicit antisemitism, DeSantis persisted in not condemning the remarks.
This incident is not the first time DeSantis has hesitated to condemn right-wing antisemitism. In a previous instance, when white supremacists in Orlando assaulted a Jewish student, DeSantis and his spokesperson responded dismissively, raising doubts about the incident’s credibility and suggesting ulterior motives.
DeSantis’ reluctance to unequivocally denounce antisemitic sentiments aligns with a pattern observed in some segments of the Republican Party, where there is a hesitancy to distance from elements associated with white nationalism. This trend underscores a shift within the GOP, as figures like DeSantis navigate a political landscape where white nationalists find a more vocal space.
This departure from unequivocal condemnation of antisemitism reflects a change in the dynamics of the Republican Party, highlighting the influence of factions that were previously on the fringes but now seem more integrated into the party’s fabric.