Tucker Carlson called Ukraine's Jewish leader Zelenskyy 'rat-like' on his Twitter show, repeating a well-worn antisemitic trope
- In his new Twitter show, Tucker Carlson called Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy "rat-like."
- Likening Jews to rodents is a centuries-old antisemitic trope.
Tucker Carlson kicked off his new Twitter show with an antisemitic trope.
During the debut of his show, the recently ousted Fox News host called Ukraine's Jewish president "rat-like" — repeating an age-old slur used against Jews.
Carlson kicked off the first episode of his show Tuesday suggesting that the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Southern Ukraine was an act of terrorism carried out by Ukrainians — and that US media is instead wrongfully claiming Vladimir Putin may be behind it.
The dam is near the frontlines between Russian and Ukrainian forces. The two warring countries publically blame each other for the breach, though NBC News reported that US intelligence officials believe Russia is likely behind the breach.
"Ukraine, as you may have heard, is led by a man called Zelenskyy. We can say for a dead certain fact that he was not involved. He couldn't have been; Zelensky is too decent for terrorism," Carlson said sarcastically. "Now you see him on television, and it's true you might form a different impression. Sweaty and rat-like, a comedian turned oligarch, a persecutor of Christians, a friend of BlackRock."
The slur of depicting Jews as vermin dates back to the early 20th century, The Guardian reported in 2015. In Nazi Germany, cartoons regularly depicted Jews as rats — including in Nazi Germany's famous propaganda sheet Der Stürmer, which ran a cover page depicting a Nazi gassing Jewish rats.
"When the vermin are dead, the German oak will flourish once more," The Guardian reported.
Carlson's use of a rodent metaphor sparked fresh outrage against the formerly top-rated TV host; the Anti-Defamation League called him out on Twitter, saying "this is exactly the type of dangerous, hateful content that has no place in mainstream public squares."
—ADL (@ADL) June 7, 2023
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz also wrote about Carlson's episode and his history of supporting far-right conspiracy theories that have been linked to anti-Semitism.
Haaretz pointed to Carlson's many attacks on Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Condemning Soros and painting him as a sort of boogeyman is popular on the right.
An attorney for Carlson didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
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