Al Franken rips Donald Trump's new campaign ad for invoking anti-Semitic conspiracy theory

Minnesota Senator Al Franken referred to Donald Trump's new closing campaign ad as a "dog whistle" and compared it to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a long-debunked 1903 book claiming to expose a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to control the world's press and economy.


The ad, which features investor George Soros, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein—who are all Jewish—as examples of the "global power structure" that "controls the levers of Washington" and the "global special interests."

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning, Sen. Franken told anchor Jake Tapper he found the ad to be "something of a German shepherd whistle, a dog-whistle, to a certain group in the United States. I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m sensitive to it, but it clearly had sort of Elders of Zion feel to it.”


This rhetoric is nothing new from the Trump campaign, which regularly demonizes Yellen and banks such as Goldman Sachs, which has drawn strong rebukes from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League for being thinly veiled anti-Semitism. (Curiously, Soros is not nearly as much of a Trump target. Perhaps it has to do with Soros lending Trump some $160 million for Trump Tower Chicago?)

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, published in 1903, claims to be minutes from a meeting of powerful Jewish leaders plotting global hegemony and was debunked by a report in the Times of London in 1912. Regardless, it attracted such fans as Adolf Hitler, who made the book compulsory reading in German schools; Henry Ford, who republished excerpts in his newspaper and included much of the rhetoric in his bestselling anti-Semitic screed The International Jew; and Hamas, which wrote in its founding charter that the text "embodies" the Zionist expansion plan into the Middle East and North Africa.

Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.

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