Search for “Anti-Semitism” in conservative publications like National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal editorial page and Commentary and you’ll find analyses of the phenomenon. Search for “Islamophobia,” by contrast, and you’ll find articles with headlines like “Islamophobia is a myth,” “‘Islamophobia’ Is Still Not the Problem,” “The Islamophobia Myth Hits the FBI” and “’Islamophobia’ or ‘Truthophobia.’” Often, the term itself is put in quotation marks. Victimization of American Jews is considered a real problem. Victimization of American Muslims is considered a politically inspired hoax.
These publications aren’t Breitbart. They aren’t blanket apologists for Trump. But even anti-Trump conservatives tend to view “political correctness” as inhibiting an honest conversation about the supposed pathologies of Islam. And they thus ignore accusations of Islamophobia or actively deny them.
This helps explain why Trump faces so little pressure to condemn the spasm of anti-Muslim attacks. His initial failure to forcefully condemn anti-Semitism didn’t only spark criticism from the mainstream media, which Trump delights in belittling. It also sparked criticism from his own ideological side. The Zionist Organization of America, whose annual gala Steve Bannon asked to attend, insisted that Trump personally condemn anti-Semitism.* The Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose founder spoke at Trump’s inaugural, urged him to do more. On CNN, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who endorsed Trump, said he was “befuddled” as to why Trump had not spoken out. Even Jake Turx, the Jewish reporter who Trump berated for asking about anti-Semitism, probably only got to ask the question at all because his publication, Ami, is sympathetic to Trump.
No pro-Trump Muslim publications have been invited to presidential briefings. There is no Muslim equivalent of the ZOA or Simon Wiesenthal Center. There’s no former Republican presidential candidate who is as philo-Islamic as Santorum is philo-Semitic. In other words, there’s no influential cadre of people who support Trump, and have earned his trust, yet care enough about attacks on Muslims to challenge his silence on the subject.
Trump was forced to condemn anti-Semitism because in 2017 appearing indifferent to the safety of American Jews is politically dangerous in both parties. In today’s GOP, by contrast, appearing indifferent to the safety of American Muslims is easy. It’s showing genuine concern that might entail a political price.
* An earlier version of this article stated that Steve Bannon was invited to the Zionist Organization of America's annual gala when, in fact, Bannon asked to be invited. We regret the error.