Michael Ginsberg (45), a Republican from Centerville, VA is an attorney and aerospace engineer. He is vice president and deputy general counsel for CACI International, an information technology company that contracts with federal defense and intelligence agencies. He is a leader of the Suburban Virginia Coalition, which aims to improve Republican standing in suburban communities that have “taken a hit over the last several cycles.”
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
How concerned are you about the rise of anti-Semitism incidences in this country?
I’ve always thought that these kinds of outbursts of anti-Semitism are sort of the canary in the coal mine. If you look at history, some of the world’s greatest cataclysms are preceded by spasms of violence against Jews and outbreaks of anti-Semitism. So, when I see this sort of thing happening, I think this is just the beginning of very bad stuff.
What do you think is causing the spike in these incidences?
I think it’s a combination of factors. There’s a lot of discontent in this country, which is surprising because in a lot of ways things have never been better. There’s a lot of discontent in the world. And there’s a lot of discontent with governments, with elites, with the existing power structures. And when you think about history, and you think about this conflict with power, and money, with leaders and leadership and political elites, the arrow often points toward the Jews.
How do you think the problem is being addressed by the Democratic candidates and President Trump?
I would say the president has done a pretty good job of addressing anti-Semitism. I think he’s been a strong supporter of the State of Israel. I think, substantively, he’s been very friendly and very good to the Jews. On the other hand, when I look at the Democratic Party, I see a party that is not only unwilling to disavow anti-Semites but openly embraces them. You have Congresswomen who are talking about being hypnotized by the State of Israel and being unwilling to walk that back. You have a caucus that’s unwilling to take them to task for blatantly anti-Semitic comments.
Do you have concerns that some of Trump’s rhetoric is empowering white nationalists?
On the whole, I do not feel concerned that the president is an anti-Semite or that he is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism. When people say he is I find it kind of hard to take in a personal way because I support him. I think there’s real anti-Semitism out there, but I don’t think Donald Trump is the purveyor of it. You can’t necessarily be held responsible for the way people react or imbibe what you say or if people read into things that you don’t intend.
So, do you think anti-Semitism is being fueled more by the left?
It is unquestionably a problem on both sides. The difference is that I can’t point to too many white nationalists in high political office who are saying these sorts of things. I can certainly point to the fringe folks on the right. But I can’t point to a Republican equivalent of Representatives Ilan Omar or Rashida Talib. You could probably point to Representative Steve King. He has said things that I think are racist, but I can’t say that I’ve ever heard him say anything anti-Semitic.