Krugman's comparison
Krugman's comparison iStock

Liberal New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman compared the Trump administration's discussion on immigration to the age-old blood libel against the Jewish people.

Blood libel originated in 1144 with the fabricated story of William of Norwich, England, and is a recurring smear against Jews falsely accusing them of killing Christian children and using their blood for ritual purposes (like drinking it or baking it into matzah for Passover). The libel has shown up throughout the centuries across Europe, parts of the Middle East, and even in the United States.

The irony of the mendacious blood libel accusation is that the Torah expressly forbids Jews to consume blood in any form, whereas pagan religions did so as part of their rituals. Generation after generation of Jews in Europe were tortured, and Jewish communities were massacred or dispersed and broken up because of the blood libel.

Krugman compares the nature of the blood libel to statements Trump and allies have made to describe illegal immigrants: they take American jobs, commit a disproportionate amount of crimes, and kill native-born Americans.

Krugman tries to use statistics to claim immigration rates are not spiking and crime rates are lower in areas with large numbers of immigrants. Economists of Krugman's school of thought do not believe immigrants depress wages for low-income Americans.

"I don’t know what drives such people — but we’ve seen this movie before, in the history of anti-Semitism," Krugman wrote. "The thing about anti-Semitism is that it was never about anything Jews actually did. It was always about lurid myths, often based on deliberate fabrications, that were systematically spread to engender hatred.

"In any case, the important thing to understand is that the atrocities our nation is now committing at the border don’t represent an overreaction or poorly implemented response to some actual problem that needs solving. There is no immigration crisis; there is no crisis of immigrant crime. No, the real crisis is an upsurge in hatred — unreasoning hatred that bears no relationship to anything the victims have done."

Many were outraged at Krugman's comparison.

"Krugman, don't play around with Jewish anti-Semitism and the Holocaust for your own non-parallel political needs," tweeted legendary Israeli activist Yisrael Medad.

Some attack the very premise as ridiculous or obscene. Alana Mastrangelo tweeted "I just told my grandparents (who once lived under Mussolini) that people in the US think Trump is a fascist. They laughed so hard, they cried."

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted "Trump opponents keep comparing Trump immigration policy to Nazi policy. Read a damn book, you idiots."