Historian Deborah Lipstadt: Trump Has Had “Rough Patches” With Jewish Community

Lipstadt warns of “dog whistle” from White House that only far-right groups can hear.

Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt is a historian and author best known for her books combating holocaust denial. She’ll be in town on Monday to take part in a one-day conference examining challenges facing Jewish communities in 2017.

She tells WDET’s Jake Neher the conversation is especially important in the Trump era. 

“I think President Trump had some rough patches, to put it kindly, in the beginning vis-à-vis the Jewish community,” says Lipstadt. She notes Trump’s failure to mention Jews as a group persecuted by the Nazis in a Holocaust remembrance statement, as well as White House officials who have connections to the “alt-right.”

Lipstadt says her concern is that antisemitic sentiments now have prominence in Western society that they haven’t had in recent memory.

“People have got to be made aware of this rise in hatred and this rise in prejudice and this feeling that it can be so overt,” she says. “I don’t think people should be panicking and saying, ‘Oh my god, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened.’ It isn’t. But it’s much more overt than it’s been in the past.”

The “Hope Against Hate” summit takes place on Monday from noon-9 p.m. at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.