Anti-Semitism, Jews and the Alt-Right

Anti-Semitism, Jews and the Alt-Right


Howard Adelman

The torch-bearing men in Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally screaming, “Jews will not replace us,” provide an indicator of the core belief of White Nationalists. Many, if not most, commentators on the tragedy in Charlottesville tended not to zero in on the canary in the coal mine. Anti-Semitism was pushed to the side as the focus became primarily racism and gender rights.  The liberal-left media readily concluded that coddling of the alt-right by allegedly conservative parties, parties permeated with an uncoded racism, was mainly responsible for the rise of the alt-right. On the other hand, the view of the Jewish right that the world is made up of us versus them, that the world has always hated Jews, was reinforced by the efforts of the alt-right. However, if we liberal-leftists do not recognize that we are also infected, then our failure to be accountable, indeed our intellectual dishonesty, will doom liberalism as well as true “conservatism”.

Eric K. Ward, a Black activist civil rights worker, who studied the alt-right and worked to document its character since 1990, recently reaffirmed that, “American White nationalism, which emerged in the wake of the 1960s civil rights struggle and descends from White supremacism, is a revolutionary social movement committed to building a Whites-only nation, and antisemitism forms its theoretical core.” (my italics) Antisemitism is the lynchpin of the White nationalist belief system. Jews are blamed for the globalist forces that put nationalist zealotry on the defensive. Sigmund Freud was incorrect about many things, but not when he insisted that the roots of anti-Semitism can be found in resentment of Jewish existence, and, to go further, in resentment that the roots of their own nationalist and extremist zealotry itself can be traced in part back to Judaism in the narrative of the nationalist zealot, Pinchas or Phineas (Numbers 25:10 – 30:1).

Friedrich Nietzsche in The Genealogy of Morals traced the roots of hatred to powerlessness that grows into something “enormous and uncanny,” “something most spiritual and most poisonous.” The expression of that hatred is “the spirit of revenge” that grows out of a slave revolt. When the country one lives in is not the one described, it becomes very difficult to identify the one that does. Denied fulfillment, blocked from realizing a vision, the loss of an ideal, however false and misplaced, means that losses can only be compensated for through revenge, revenge of the alt-right on Jews and resentment of the alt-left on Zionism and Israel as the religious caricature of the Jew first morphed into a racial one and, more currently, into a political one. Nay-saying supersedes yea-saying as extremists dedicate themselves “to go to the ends of the earth to hunt down the last of Satan’s spawns.” (The Turner Diaries)

Over the last fifty years, multiculturalism had displaced the monochromatic ideal, feminists and LGBTQ activists have almost buried misogyny, globalization continues to win even as economic nationalism has reasserted itself. For the right, there must be a cabal, a mythological secret conspiracy, a fantasy of an invisible power, to have won so much and so fast, to emerge and become so influential in the media and the establishment political class in Washington, whether Republican or Democrat. Jews are not simply convenient scapegoats. They are at the core.

But anti-Semitism had declined. Jews have been accepted like never before in history. In just over fifty years, anti-Semitism, already having diminished, was cut by almost a further 50%. However, over the last two years there has been a dramatic spike upwards. This is not simply because the alt-right has been given permission by authorities in power to act out its heinous ideology. That is simply the surface explanation. The deeper roots are to be found in the politics of resentment, not simply in resentment that the core figure in their own Christian belief system was a practicing Jew, but that the core of their nationalist zealotry can be traced back to Judaism. One should not be surprised that Richard Kelly Hoskins Vigilantes of Christendom takes as its hero the Phineas who, as a Hebrew zealot, stabbed an intermarried couple through with a single spear to prevent idolatry and intermarriage with the Midianites.

The politics of ressentiment, the conclusion that society has failed us, that we live in a time when the promise not simply remains unfulfilled but cannot be fulfilled, is not simply a belief deeply embedded in the right. The liberal-left have also been deeply disappointed. Efforts to create a world government answerable to a higher standard have failed. The dream of Jews and Palestinians creating a united federated state or a two-state solution in which they live side-by-side in peace, is proving daily to be a chimera, a chimera that can be blamed on the right, but also must and should be placed at the feet of the darlings of the left. If anti-Semitism is represented by White Nationalists on the right, it is also at work in the new form of anti-Israel double standards and activism on the liberal left. Anti-Semitism is at the core of the alt-right. The failure of both the conservative right coddlers and the liberal-left critics to zero in on that central finding is cause for great concern.

I focus, not on those who express outright antisemitism and call the pre-Trump governments in Washington the Zionist Occupied Government or ZOG, nor on Kevin MacDonald, who rails against multiculturalism while longing for a “white” civilization and opposing Jewish influence and identity. The 1488er neo-Nazis with its 14 word credo to secure the White Race and its promotion of the eighth letter of the alphabet repeated, that is, HH for Heil Hitler, The (((echo))) which claims that, “all Jewish surnames echo throughout history,” David Duke as the born-again Ku-Klux-Klaner who focuses on “Jewish supremacism,” and the neo-Nazi group, The Order, that bombed synagogues in Washington state and murdered Alan Berg, a radio talk show host, are all set aside. So are the so-called “more moderate” alt-right leaders, Richard Spencer, Peter Brimelow and Jared Taylor. I focus on those who support the alt-right who are Jews or, like Stephen Bannon, philo-Jews.

Many leaders of the alt-right have made outreach to Jews a priority – sometimes just tactical, at other times strategic, but often enough substantive. Yet the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) labeled Breitbart as “the premier website of the alt-right” with its “white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” How does one reconcile the overt anti-antisemitism of a significant part of the alt-right while its semi-establishment leaders so frequently overtly coddle the movement? In November 2016, Bannon boasted to The Washington Post that “Breitbart was “the platform for the alt-right”. The overt support and not just coddling was most recently evident in Bannon’s vocal support for former Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore.

Breitbart News, that Bannon runs, was started by Jews, the late Andrew Breitbart and his co-founder and successor, Larry Solov. The news organization routinely plays up lies with a built-in racism (Obama was not born in the U.S.) and promotes conspiracy theories allegedly originating on the left. Aaron Klein, a Jew, is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and its senior investigative reporter in the Middle East. He also has his own New York radio show with a weekly audience of about a million. Author of a best-seller, The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists, he makes Trump’s assault on Obama look benign.

Aaron Klein might reply to accusations that he, and Breitbart News more generally, coddles extremism by insisting (correctly) that he has done more work interviewing terrorists (Islamic ones mind you), than any reporter in America; Klein interviewed both Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ chief political advisor, and Mahmoud al-Zahar, the chief of Hamas. Klein insists that he recognizes extremism and the left-liberals who coddle Islamicists. The issue is not simply a credo. Klein authored The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know. He uniquely made Libya an important issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Before the third presidential debate, Aaron Klein painted Hilary Clinton with Bill Clinton’s infidelities (and lies) by bringing one of Clinton’s accusers, Leslie Millwee, a former Arkansas TV reporter, on his radio show.

What is Aaron Klein, a “good” Jewish boy who grew up in a tight-knit orthodox Jewish community, attended the Torah Academy Boys High School in Philadelphia and went onto study English at Yeshiva University, doing in an organization that supports sympathizers of the alt-right?

Aaron Klein, Andrew Breitbart and Steve Bannon all openly declared that they reject the “ethno-nationalism” of the alt-right and certainly any manifestations of its anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, Bannon champions the alt-right more generally even as Breitbart disassociated himself by defining its white-nationalism. (At the same time, leaked emails suggested that Breitbart News was marketing neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideology.) Why Jews?

The core is Israel. Breitbart started his far-right news network in 2007 with “the aim of starting a site that would be unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel. We were sick of the anti-Israel bias of the mainstream media and J-Street.” Steven Bannon was one of the strongest advocates for moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Trump’s insistence that the decision does not pre-empt any determination of borders appears to have originated in the State Department and/or his security advisers.) Though Breitbart and its allies mainly target the establishment in the Republican Party, all aspects of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media (including Hollywood), the core concern has been Israel and the mistreatment of Israel by these three main targets. They are accused of being pusillanimous and prejudiced against Israel.

A pro-Israel policy and anti-Semitism can possibly be reconciled. If Israel were defeated, Jewish refugees from Israel would flee to the U.S. This is the inverse of the belief that evangelical Christians only support Israel because they believe the restoration of Israel is a necessary prerequisite to the second coming of Christ. However, the excuse does not hold up. Most supporters and promoters of the alt-right (not alt-right members) are both pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. The leading propaganda forum is controlled and largely managed by Jews. Aaron Klein for the last 12 years has called Tel Aviv home. They support Israel, not only for its dynamism and creativity, not only because it is a haven for Jews, but because it is an outpost in the Islamic world of western democracy and European cultural values, and mostly because of the alleged unfair treatment of Israel by the liberal-left.

The core conundrum is that anti-Semitism lies at the theoretical core of the alt-right, yet the main publicists and umbrellas are supplied by organizations run mainly by Jews with philo-Jews playing a major role. If we understand the roots of that conundrum, we will also be in a better place to understand why its anti-Semitic outrages quickly became peripheral in the accounts of the mainstream press repeatedly critical of Trump and Bannon. If the new establishment coddles the alt-right and ignores the anti-Semitism at its core, the left-liberal press rejects the alt-right, but also relegates its own core anti-Semitism to the periphery. The coddlers ignore the anti-Semitism and the liberal-left minimize its significance in themselves.

I attribute the rise of the alt-right first and foremost to our failure to understand that the alt-right at its centre is anti-Semitic, that both the non-alt-right coddlers and the anti-alt-right critics tend to deny this reality. In this essay, I have not developed three additional propositions: our failure to see that the roots of nationalist zealotry itself can be found in Judaism; that somehow and for some reasons, Canada has mostly escaped that blight; and, finally, but not entirely, anti-Semitism continues to lurk in the reeds of the swamp of anti-Zionism in the public policies that continue to be adopted towards Israel. But these are all arguments for another day.


Is Donald Trump a Fascist? Part II

Is Donald Trump a Fascist? Part II


Howard Adelman

Trump doesn’t believe in tradition. He does not believe in science. He does not believe in thinking. So what does he believe in? Well, he doesn’t believe in dissent – “Throw him out.” He believes in “Me”. BELIEVE ME is his motto as he claims to be the voice of the frustrated middle class stalled or even dropping down in the competitive climb upwards of the modern age. He believes in manipulating the aggravations and exasperations of the discontented and the infuriated to build a movement founded in resentment. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, the politics of resentment is built on a foundation of feeling powerless and seeing oneself as a victim of the actions of others. Trump targets elites who he claims live off the avails of politics – and, as he openly admits, he should know because he personally preyed upon and used that self-serving politics of the elite. He is the epitome of the glaring inequities in wealth and taking advantage of the tax code to pay as little tax as legally possible – which can be very little. He is the epitome of privilege. And he became the voice of the disintegration of the Republican Party that increasingly relied on vitriolic, uncompromising take no-prisoners rhetoric. He showed that he could do it better than any of the rest of his competitors.

When violence assaults us daily and appears both immovable and persistent, precisely at a time when political rhetoric is most needed that is temperate and cool, it is easy to stoke the coals of burning resentment into a wildfire that is as unstable and unpredictable as that which destroyed a good part of Fort McMurray this past spring. Resentment erupts like a volcano, and once the lava starts to flow profusely, it is virtually impossible to stop. One only prays that the quantity present will not be in such profuse proportions that it will destroy civilization as we know it.

But the resentment was there. Donald Trump did not manufacture it. Bernie Sanders tapped into the same vein of those who feel powerless, who feel exploited, who feel that they have become outsiders in a country in which they previously constituted the core of the American dream both in their status and in their values. They have become bitter and unloving and may now be immune to the Democratic Party appeal to hope and love and positive thinking and a deep belief that everyone can benefit from a rising tide. They certainly have not.

It is because of the politics of resentment that a famous journalist less than one hundred years ago in the first half of the twentieth century, H.I. Mencken, had such a jaundiced view of the voting public and recognized the appeal of fear-mongering to a populace full of repressed anger, those whom Mencken disparagingly referred to as the booboisie in contrast to the bourgeoisie, to the gullible public wide open to the appeal of a verbal soothsayer who sews fear and paints a picture of an apocalypse that so conforms to their inner feelings about self and the state of the world. Mencken understood the politics of resentment because he had read Friedrich Nietzsche and even wrote about him. Mencken knew a mountebank when he saw one because Mencken had the same dismissive temperament but, in comparison, excelled in the art of dissing. Politicians were mainly swindlers or oafs. Most voters had a herd mentality, were incapable of rational thought and looked totally ready to be led to the slaughter by the first “shepherd” who came along, the first savior who promised a form of salvation as he led them on a death march.

Donald Trump replaced the crusading and corrupt evangelist preachers of a former era so it is no real surprise that he can appeal to the evangelical crowd in spite of his blaring non-Christian values. His appeal to evangelicals is more powerful than that of Ted Cruz because he taps into a deeper core of hatred and resentment. For far deeper than the love of mankind, Mencken argued, was the hatred for “one’s betters,” the intense distaste for privilege. What better one to lead them than a Moses who grew up as an outsider in that realm of privilege and came down from that mountain to lead them into the wilderness by depicting the elites as exploiters and enslavers, as abusers and misusers, so that even the surrounding other nations get painted with the same brush as misled idolaters climbing upward at their expense. In the mind of the populist, the moral uplift of the Democratic Convention can be regarded as so much bunkum.

What Trump had going for him is that, like Mencken who dissed democracy without limit, Trump too has a sense of glee in the whole affair. A good part of him regards the whole exercise as an effort in stirring up amusement, as an opportunity to bathe in his own cussing and cursing, as an opportunity for whimsical and irreverent expression disguised as thinking. For Trump, all declarations of truths are simply fictions, simply fabrications, simply illusions, and he is as capable of contributing as any trained scientist. He is a post-modern man indifferent to the gap between conception and sensibility. So, of course, the fact that the truth-checkers can find as much as twenty-five outright lies in his speech to the Republican Convention, the fact that he utters explicit falsehoods at an average of two or three a day, is totally irrelevant. Correction is totally irrelevant and its uselessness proves that the whole idea of truth is itself an invention of the devil. The neo-liberal cosmopolitan dream is just as much a deceit as nativism and protectionism, but at least the latter will allegedly benefit those who have been abandoned and left behind.

Why, Donald asks, should one believe Hillary? She has been a major contributor to the neo-liberal internationalist fraud, but now claims to love you, to care for you, that she will introduce protective measures that will reverse the downward drift. Believe her and you can believe me, Trump proclaims, and you can believe me much more because I recognize your hatred and resentment and do not engage in the fraudulent appeal to love.

No more apathy. We need to create an army that rebels against the elites Trump cries out. I know you are frightened, Trump tells them. I recognize that you feel imperiled. I recognize that you have been pushed into a corner of apathy and acquiescence. Well it is time to open every window and shout, “We won’t take it anymore,” and make the walls of Jericho come crashing down. Did I rise by sincerity or by sin? Did I rise by believing in, “We the people?” I exemplify the exposure of the lie and that is why I am best to lead you, supposedly to the land of milk and honey, but, in reality, into the wilderness. That is why you, the vulnerable, can count on me as your voice. NOT because I feel what you do, but because I express what you feel and I epitomize and understand the manipulation to which you have been subjected. I will lead you to drowning the rich and the ostentatious in a sea of reeds. So do not be surprised that they resent me. Do not be surprised that my class and my peers turn against me. For at heart I am an outsider who has risen into their ranks and have now set out to destroy the royal order.

We the people? Self-government? Self-legislation? Are you kidding? This is the very guise on which the rich and the powerful have acquired their wealth and accumulated their power. Respect the other? Conduct yourself with dignity? No. Rebel and throw mud in their faces. Problem solving? Pragmatism? Political policy debates? These are all cover-ups for a renewed power grab. The winners teach falsifiability only to repress real and deep criticism. Trust us because we know we err, they pronounce. Does Trump say that he knows we cannot always achieve what we promise? Does Trump announce that he knows that we are fallible? No. No more. Trust me, not that collective brew of liars and thieves. Trust me because I am a liar and a thief and know the ropes. Only I can lead you out of slavery to a system built on lies. I know idolatry when I see it because I have made the mass of my wealth by building those idols.

Education, social interaction, discussion and debate – these are all frauds and if you expect me to beat Hillary Clinton under such a rigged system, you have to think again. But you won’t. You are too deeply immersed in your false vision of a land of milk and honey for all. I can deliver that land because I truly understand that you cannot simply nip the elites at the tips of their fingers and their ears. You have to drown them. You have to destroy them. You have to seize their wealth and power even as you offer them more tax breaks to limit the use of their money in opposing you. That is my route to leading you to paradise. And it will be built on the power and energy erupting from your deep resentment. And on my recognition and cultivation of that resentment. I deserve to lead you because I refuse to be a patrician but am not a plebian but myself come from the monied aristocracy. I have demonstrated I can lead you by conquering the bastion of the patricians, the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln and the pretense that all men are born equal as the cover for increasing inequality and repression. I can lead you because I am strong and recognize your weakness. That is why you need and can count of me as a charismatic ruler. With your help, I and only I am capable of seizing that power. Believe me.

And count on this. Hillary promises to beat the Islamic fanatics as they grow in strength and in their destructiveness. But Hillary does not – nor do even our establishment generals – recognize that you already possess the tools to do so. For any battle waged with fanatics cannot be won with rational calculation, clever strategies and well thought-out plans. For this is where we the people come in. The people must offer a counter-martyrdom, a willingness to die for an alternate cause, a willingness to set aside fine distinctions between loyal Muslims and extremism, a willingness to brand the whole lot of them as extremist.

And this is where Donald Trump fails as a fascist. He is unwilling to spell out that need for self-sacrifice, the need for martyrdom, that this is perceived as a fight to the finish, not only one in which the other must not be left with one soldier standing, but by a willingness to sacrifice the whole herd in the cause of fighting the alien Others. Trump lacks the insight of Jean Jacques Rousseau that what is required is a general will to oppose both common sense on the one hand and total and absolute common insensitivity on the other hand. For those are the two parties really engaged in battle.

That is why I appeal to your nativism, Trump might explain, why I elevate our national identity into a cult, why I trace our origins to our membership in the same country and pinpoint outliers as enemies, why I paint a portrait of a conspiracy, a deliberate plan, to keep you oppressed, why it is an international plot rather than one attributable to Russia or China, let alone North Korea and Turkey. That is why xenophobia is not to be discarded but embraced. You feel besieged because you are besieged by a cosmopolitan conspiracy of globalization. And in league with Muslims, a far better target for Americans than Jews. Like Leon Trotsky, like Mao Zeduog of the cultural revolution, revolution, revolt and the enhancing the belief that the other are truly revolting, requires a permanent commitment, a permanent revolution. A campaign had to be forged on breaking one’s teeth by biting the air and regarding human flesh as disposable and ready to be sacrificed as a scorched-earth burnt offering.

So is Trump a fascist? Certainly ha has many of the traits. Certainly there is a family resemblance between himself and Putin, between himself and Erdoğan, between himself and Mussolini, between himself and Hitler. But it is only a family resemblance. Donald Trump is on the same range of leaders in the politics of resentment, but he is at the other extreme from Hitler, though he shares none of Hitler’s traits, but some of the characteristics of those who mediate between Hitler and himself and increasingly carry a bit more of Trump’s character the closer they stand shoulder to shoulder with him. In the serial and uninterrupted series of decreasing similarities between Trump and Hitler, we find the suspicions of fascism, but as we near the Trump terminus, the core elements are missing. That is why we may be prone to labeling Trump as a fascist, but also why he is not one and why, in labeling him that way as a slogan rather than as a conclusion of empirical analysis and critique, we lose by falling onto the same practice of false labeling which is his forte.

The reality, in the end, is that Donald Trump lacks enough of the qualities to make him a true fascistic leader.

With the help of Alex Zisman