A Jewish journalist was barraged Thursday with anti-Semitic messages from Donald Trump supporters, including one of her face superimposed onto that of an Auschwitz prisoner, after she wrote a profile about the candidate’s wife.
Julia Ioffe vented on Twitter about receiving anonymous phone calls playing Hitler speeches, and images showing a caricature of a Jew being shot in the head. Some of the messages were more personal: her face superimposed onto an Auschwitz mugshot and a photo of her wearing a World War II- era yellow star.
Good morning, from your neighborhood Trump trolls! pic.twitter.com/tuHa9Wpbn7— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) April 28, 2016
Only a day earlier, GQ had published a profile of Melania Trump, written by Ioffe, which included information about the Slovenian model’s family, such as the fact that she has an estranged half-brother.
Melania criticized the article, saying it contained “numerous inaccuracies” and that Ioffe “had an agenda when going after my family.” Ioffe denied the profile contained any untrue information.
Meanwhile, a white supremacist site, the Daily Stormer, published a blog post titled: “Empress Melania Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!”
While there is no direct link between the anti-Semitic harassment Ioffe received and the Trump campaign, the Republican candidate has been criticized for not doing enough to stop violent and racist rhetoric among his supporters.
In February, Trump refused in an interview to disavow David Duke, a prominent white supremacist. He later said that he had not heard the question and that he had previously repudiated the former Ku Klux Klan member.
From my inbox. Subject line: “They know about you!” pic.twitter.com/zp3v2GjTeI— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) April 28, 2016
Ioffe, whose family moved to the U.S. from Russia, said the attacks she has faced since the publication of the profile remind her of discrimination her family faced in their country of origin.
“The irony of this is that today, when I was getting all of this horrible anti-Semitic s—t that I’ve only ever seen in Russia, I was reminded that 26 years ago today my family came to the U.S. from Russia. We left Russia because we were fleeing anti-Semitism,” Ioffe said Thursday, according to the Guardian. “It’s been a rude shock for everyone.”
Ioffe fears that if Trump is elected president, freedom of press could be threatened. “What happens if Donald Trump is elected? We’ve seen the way he bids his supporters to attack the media, his proposal to change libel laws to make it easier to sue journalists,” she said.
The Jewish journalist added that while at first she had found the insults humorous, as they got more explicit, she found them “unsettling.”
“I started the day off having a sense of humor about it but by the end of the day, after a few phone calls like this, with people playing Hitler speeches, and the imagery, and people telling me my face would look good on a lampshade, it’s hard to laugh,” Ioffe said.
At least they’re fluent in 80s pop culture? pic.twitter.com/4pTTfa7jhE— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) April 28, 2016
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.