Mark Finchem criticized for using antisemitic trope

By: - September 15, 2022 1:44 pm

Republican state Rep. Mark Finchem speaking with attendees at rally for Donald Trump in Florence on Jan. 15, 2022. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Oro Valley Republican Representative and candidate for Secretary of State Mark Finchem is being criticized for his continued use of an antisemitic trope in an attack on his Democratic opponent Adrian Fontes. The trope is connected to a QAnon conspiracy theory

In a tweet Wednesday, Finchem said that Democratic politicians are all “liars and deceivers” who are loyal to George Soros and Mike Bloomberg and implored his audience to “not be deceived.” 

Soros, a wealthy Hungarian-born businessman and philanthropist, has become the boogeyman of the right-wing due to his financing of many left-leaning causes and politicians. This has led to a large number of conspiracy theories around the man which have been debunked but still persist to this day, some of which are rooted in QAnon and antisemitism.  

Both Soros and Bloomberg are Jewish. 

I think it is fair to say that context is everything,” Tim Eckstein, board chair with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix said to the Arizona Mirror. “An attack on George Soros for some specific thing he has done or said is fine, or at least not on its face antisemitic.”

Finchem has invoked Soros’ name 24 times on his Telegram channel, often saying he is going up against the “Soros machine” or his “Soros funded opponent” or claiming that the media is funded by Soros. On his Gab, a hotspot for antisemitism, he has also pushed the Soros conspiracy theory, among others, such as that the media is controlled by the CIA. 

“If you don’t show up, you cant win the office. It is an inconvenient truth in politics. And, I might add, the corrupt mockingbird media cartel HATES me,” Finchem said in one comment referring to the belief that the media is a propaganda arm of the CIA referring to a long defunct program

“The invocation of his name, however, as a stand-in for Jewish financier/elitist who is part of a broad conspiracy aimed at world domination, is rooted in antisemitic ideology going back to the 19th Century,” Eckstein said, adding that the repeated use of Soros’ name by a candidate with a track record of conspiratorial thinking is “deeply troubling.” 

Finchem did not respond to a request for comment for this story but shortly after the Arizona Mirror reached out to him, he shared a post on social media saying that his statements were not antisemitic. 

“Calling out Soros and Bloomberg and their political objectives is not anti-Semitic,” Finchem said in a post shared across his social media platforms. “This is a political discussion, not a religious one. I love the Jewish people. I do not love Marxists who hate America. The gaslighting of patriots must end NOW.”

Earlier this year Finchem received the endorsement of two known antisemite conspiracy theorists, Andrew Torba and Jarron Jackson

“[I]t is hard to conclude anything other than that Rep. Finchem seems to believe that trafficking in antisemitic tropes enhances his chances of getting elected,” Eckstein said. 

Finchem has also appeared at a QAnon conspiracy theory conference where the opening video showed antisemitic images and debunked conspiracy theories

The Arizona Mirror found one video, created by the same company used for the event, that claimed the Titanic disaster was a hoax, Adolf Hitler faked his death and baby blood is being harvested as part of a popular QAnon conspiracy about Hollywood elites. Another video also superimposed the Star of David among images of the 9/11 attacks.

At the same conference Finchem compared the murder of six million people in Holocaust to cancel culture. 

“You know what happened in the 1940s, right? Six million Jews were exterminated because they were dehumanized. (Kurt Tucholsky) said, ‘A country is not just what it does, it’s what it tolerates.’ We have become far too tolerant of those who would try to ‘cancel culture’ us, of those who would tell us to sit down and shut up,” he said. “And Aristotle, another notable, said tolerance is the last virtue left of a failing society.”

The JCRC denounced Finchem’s tweet saying his “reliance on #antisemitic tropes to spearhead” his campaign are “an embarrassment to the majority of #Arizona residents and serves to reinforce that you cannot be trusted to serve as our Secretary of State.” 

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

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