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Backing IHRA

N.C. GOP gubernatorial candidate touts support for IHRA definition, despite running afoul of it in the past

“The recent surge in antisemitism within our communities and on college campuses highlights the significance of House Bill 942,” Robinson said

Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Mark Robinson, lieutenant governor of North Carolina speaks at a rally for U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) at the North Carolina Republican Party Headquarters on November 7, 2022, in Raleigh, N.C.

The Republican lieutenant governor of North Carolina, Mark Robinson, has been dogged for years by accusations of antisemitism over past comments invoking anti-Jewish tropes and conspiracy theories, downplaying the Holocaust and quoting Adolf Hitler.

Robinson, now the GOP nominee to be governor of North Carolina, has sought to dismiss, downplay and otherwise put those past controversies in the rear view mirror.

Most recently, he came out in support of legislation passed by North Carolina’s Statehouse codifying the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism — even though some of his past comments seem to run afoul of the IHRA definition itself.

“The recent surge in antisemitism within our communities and on college campuses highlights the significance of House Bill 942,” Robinson said in a May 9 comment following a vote on the bill. “North Carolina’s decision to adopt the Working Definition of Antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance demonstrates proactive measures in tackling this worrying trend.”

Pressed by JI on the potential contradiction with his past statements, a statement from Robinson’s campaign did not directly address the issue.

“Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson stands with Israel and the Jewish people. While serving as acting governor following Hamas’ terrorist attacks, his first act was to call for solidarity with and a day of prayer for Israel and the Jewish people,” campaign spokesperson Mike Lonergan said. “The Lt. Governor even went to Israel barely a month after the attacks to see firsthand what the Israelis are up against.”

On the campaign trail, Robinson has insisted that he’s “dealt with the Facebook posts and moved past them” while offering apologies. He’s also repeatedly invoked his trip to Israel in response to antisemitism accusations.

The Robinson spokesperson also attempted to turn the issue around on Democrats, targeting Josh Stein, the attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial nominee, who is Jewish, and other Democrats.

“Meanwhile, the Democrat Party of Joe Biden and Josh Stein applauds hateful extremists in positions of leadership and walks out of votes supporting Israel against terrorism — while their radical base terrorizes Jewish students on campus and in the streets chanting antisemitic slogans like ‘From the River to the Sea,’” Lonergan continued. “While Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson stands with Israel and the Jewish people, the Biden-Stein Democrat Party stands with Hamas and their terrorist allies.” 

A campaign spokesperson also pointed JI toward a series of news stories purporting to debunk past accusations of antisemitism against Robinson and accusations of antisemitism against North Carolina Democrats.

Robinson’s already-long record of questionable past posts is also continuing to grow.

In a previously unreported 2019 Facebook post, Robinson lamented, “so Candace Owens was roasted by the left for mentioning Hitler, but Ilhan Omar can shout anti-Semitic rhetoric from the floor of the HOUSE and the left gives her a pass. Sad and disgusting!”

Owens is a far-right influencer who said, in the comments Robinson appears to be referencing, “If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize.”

Jews in Hitler’s Germany — as well as other groups — were ruthlessly persecuted and many were ultimately deported to concentration camps.

Owens, since Oct. 7, has become a prominent anti-Israel commentator, leaning into antisemitic tropes including the blood libel and garnering praise from white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

In another unreported Facebook post, in 2017, Robinson posted a bizarre meme of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with the quote, “If you kill your enemies, they win,” accompanied by a picture of a grinning Hitler.

That image included the watermark “M.Robinson Memes.”

Robinson’s campaign declined to comment on those specific posts, while sharing links to a story about the Biden campaign comparing former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to Hitler’s.

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