(JTA) — President Trump has come under fire, including from the Anti-Defamation League, for apparently tweeting support for a white nationalist conspiracy theory that whites in South Africa are in danger of genocide.
In a tweet posted after Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s segment on land reform in South Africa, Trump wrote that he had “asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”
I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
While violence against white farmers has declined in recent years, many far-right figures, including the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, believe that white South Africans are in danger of being “wiped out.” Jones compared the elected government of South Africa to Hitler during an episode of his show “InfoWars” broadcast several hours before Trump’s tweet.
The same narrative has shown up on white nationalist and neo-Nazi websites such as Richard Spencer’s AltRight.com and Stormfront.
The current controversy comes after the ruling African National Congress backed a controversial proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the government to expropriate land without compensation.
The South Africa government responded with a statement on Twitter.
South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past. #landexpropriation @realDonaldTrump @PresidencyZA— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) August 23, 2018
In a statement, the ADL said it was “extremely disturbing that the President of the United States echoed a longstanding and false white supremacist claim that South Africa’s white farmers are targets of large-scale, racially-motivated killings by South Africa’s black majority.”