Sean Hannity accused for antisemitic trope in ‘Bolshevik Bernie’ tweet

Fox News host and right-wing media personality Sean Hannity received a wave of criticism on Friday night after tweeting an article from his website which users have argued features an age-old antisemitic trope.
Hannity tweeted the headline of the article, titled “BOLSHEVIK BERNIE: Sanders Says Dems Just ‘Beginning to Create an Economy That Works For All,’” which covers Jewish Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ response to US President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress, wherein the president laid out his vision for the coming years.
Sanders, who is Jewish, identifies politically as a democratic socialist. Hannity’s tweet, however, compares him to the Bolshevists, who stood for a Marxist-Leninist ideology.People were quick to conflate Hannity’s tweet with antisemitism, as the trope of Jews being Bolsheviks is a long-standing pattern in antisemitic rhetoric.

The article itself didn’t explain the use of this kind of language, which functions to compare the democratic socialist demands in Sanders’ tweet  – a $15 minimum wage, health care for all, lower drug costs, student debt forgiveness and and higher corporate tax rate – to the totalitarian state of Stalin, who is many people’s first association when the word “Bolshevik” is used.

Instead, the article goes on to discuss the fact that Biden’s speech received lower ratings than previous presidential speeches, before diving into Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s analysis of the speech, which the Texas Senator – who fell asleep as Biden spoke – classified as being both “boring” and “radical.”

Noted Twitter user @AntisemitismCow, who responds with a cow’s cry to tweets it alleges are antisemitic, was one of the first to make the connection between the article and the canard, retweeting the article, accompanied by its signature “moo.”

Additional Twitter users were quick to flood the comments on the tweet with comparisons to the Nazis’ use of the term.

The antisemitic trope in question dates back over 100 years to the anti-communist Russian White Party, whose 1917 pamphlet The Jewish Bolshevism featured in racist propaganda which featured ideas that eventually made their way to the German Nazi Party, which propagated and popularized them in the German consciousness in the 1930s. 

According to Prof. André Gerrits from the University of Amsterdam, the antisemitic canards of “Jewish Bolshevism”, “Jewish Communism” – as well as the Zionist Occupation Government conspiracy theory, which alleges that Jews control world politics – are catchwords falsely asserting that Communism is a Jewish conspiracy.

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