It’s not exactly news when Ann Coulter says something ridiculous. Her business has long been to provoke — and business is good. But with the rise of Donald Trump in the Republican primary for the presidency, Ann Coulter has gotten more outlandish than ever, and in a brand new way. While the old Ann Coulter was insulting and abusive to everyone, the new Ann Coulter seems to focus her comments on Republican and conservative sacred cows.
Apparently, the Conservative pundit has grown tired of attacking liberals and moved on to attacking her own “side,” and her support for Trump seems to be the key reason why it’s happening.
It’s a phenomenon that seems to be occurring with a lot of Donald Trump supporters on the right. Anyone not on Team Trump has their conservative credentials questioned, even while Trump gives answers to the left of Barack Obama on questions about things like universal healthcare. On Twitter, the rise of the “cuckservative” insult has seen anyone who questions whether a border wall a la Trump is a good, or even halfway feasible idea, labeled a cuckservative. The word is an amalgamation of the words “cuckold” and “conservative” and is used to label someone who, for example, might have questions about how rounding up and deporting all illegal immigrants would work in a hypothetical Trump presidency.
Last night during the second GOP debate, Ann Coulter may have finally taken it too far, though. Ann being Ann, it’s hard to tell where too far might be. As the Republican candidates reaffirmed their support for Israel in their closing statements, Ann tweeted, “how many f—king Jews do these people think there are in the United States?” In a very un-Ann Coulter fashion, Ann followed up with tweets explaining “I like the Jews” and also that she’s a “huge Israel fan.”
Her complaint was apparently that the GOP candidates spend too much time talking about Israel, Reagan and abortion. It’s as if Ann Coulter has just discovered the Republican party and is learning about the issues that matter to them.
Ann’s retraction didn’t last long, as the day after the debate Coulter tweeted sarcastically, “Boy were they wrong @ Jewish influence! I complained about pandering on Israel (Reagan & abortion) & haven’t heard a thing about it!” Shortly after that she returned to her position that she personally was pro-Jewish and pro-Israel, but Hispanics are not, and it’s immigration that’s the problem for Israel: “Immigration is the only policy that threatens US support 4 Israel, but GOPs don’t want to talk about that.”
Whether or not Ann meant to be insulting to Jews — the Anti-Defamation League called her comments “borderline anti-Semitic” — the fact is that Jews in America always have to straddle the line between wanting Israel to be mentioned a lot by politicians and hoping they won’t mention it too much.
Anti-Semites already believe that Jews have too much influence in American politics. A so-called friend to Israel like Ann Coulter pointing out the importance of Israel to the candidates in a presidential debate isn’t a positive thing. Her tweet implied the long-running canard that while Jews represent a small percentage of the population, their role in influencing policy is outsized. And, of course, why is it outsized? The dark undercurrent in the answer is that it’s due to money.
The hashtag #istandwithann trended after her comments, and the tweets were a hodgepodge of typical anti-Semitism, which questioned whether Jews could even be loyal to the United States. Her comments opened the door for Holocaust-deniers, Israel-haters and plain old Jew-haters to point to Ann’s comments as a mainstream affirmation of their beliefs.
American Jews are in a tough spot where Israel is concerned and Ann Coulter, who “likes” Jews and Israel, only made it tougher. To paraphrase a famous Jewish character, once in awhile, like someone else!
Karol Markowicz is a writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @karol