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Fury as Trump uses anti-Semitic slur against Jewish journalist Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

Fury as Trump uses anti-Semitic slur against Jewish journalist

Trump's use of the anti-Semitic slur caused a storm of anger online [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 April, 2018

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US President Donald Trump used a slur most often used in neo-Nazi circles against Jewish journalist Chuck Todd.
Shockwaves of fury washed around the world after US President Donald Trump used an anti-Semitic slur on Twitter to refer to a Jewish journalist.

When tweeting at journalist Chuck Todd on Sunday, he referred to him as "sleepy eyes Chuck Todd", leaving some confused at what Trump meant by the slur, which is not well-known outside of neo-Nazi communities.

The term originates from guides written by Nazi propagandists explaining how to spot a Jewish person using their physical features.


Trump has used the "sleepy eyes" slur against Todd more than once, in tweets dating back to 2012.
Julius Streicher, a prominent member of the Nazi Party before the Second World War, wrote a children's book listing a litany of what were seen to be "Jewish traits", including the "sleepy eyes" stereotype.

In his children's book, Der Giftpilz, considered anti-Semitic propaganda, a scene depicts a child summarising the class to the teacher, in which they studied deciphering if a person were Jewish based on their physical features.

Neo-Nazi groups have carried on the practice with a series of online guides.

One neo-Nazi blog, Shadow Masterminds, filled with white supremacist ideas, uses examples of famous Jewish people (and non-Jewish people it claims are secretly Jewish!) as visual aids - and even described the way celebrities of Jewish origin apparently hide some of their "Semitic features" to trick the public.

Expanding on the "sleepy eyes" slur, it claims "The Jews' eyelids are mostly thicker and more fleshy than ours. Their look is wary and piercing".

Another blog, Gentile Nation, which brands itself as a Satanist website, has a section with a two-part document on spotting a Jew. The writer of the documents referred to Semitic features as a "genetic retardation" and insulted them using common anti-Semitic stereotypes. The documents then deny the Holocaust, which killed six million Jews, and accused them of demolishing the "White Race to retain their own racial integrity, or even any form of nationalism".

As the origin of Trump's comments came to light by social media users, some media outlets were quick to defend Trump under the guise that the slur is little known and Trump most likely did not know the meaning of it.

This, however, was not seen as an excuse:

Cillian Zeal, writer at The Conservative Tribune, referred to the accusations as "absolute nonsense", implying that Trump could not be anti-Semitic because he hired a Jewish adviser and has a Jewish son-in-law (known as the 'Some of my best friends' defence).

He denied "sleepy eyes" was an anti-Semitic slur based on an alternative translation of Julius Streicher's work, despite the evidence of neo-Nazis incorporating the translation into their own texts.

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