There is a lot of talk today about the “Alt-Right,” but as with many new terms and groups, it is often difficult to know what they stand for and who is in charge. Luckily, famous Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt helps us understand that this is not really a new group or movement at all, but rather a rebranding of white supremacism:
I would say white supremacism. I think white nationalism is just like Holocaust deniers calling themselves, you know, revisionists. To properly understand the danger, we should call them by what they really are, white supremacists.
In the same way that David Duke encouraged Klansmen to dress in suits rather than robes, Richard Spencer and other leaders of the white supremacist movement are encouraging their followers to drop their more overtly racist identifiers in favor of more mainstream-sounding ones. This has been remarkably effective so far and has had the additional desired effect of recruiting people who otherwise would not consider themselves white supremacists and even some people who aren’t white at all. So while there may be some rank and file members of the alt-right who aren’t racist, all the leaders undeniably are. For this reason, we will be following Dr. Lipstadt’s advice and not continue to use their obfuscatory term, but rather call them the Alt-White.
So what does the Alt-White have to do with Israel? Well, the leaders of this hateful movement seem to be trying to learn from their past mistakes (to the extent possible for racists) and are attempting to be more rational with their racism and Jew-hatred. That is why Alt-White leader Greg Johnson does not support the destruction of Israel (at least not yet). Not because he loves Israel, mind you, but because he doesn’t want the Jews (or for that matter, Palestinians) to leave and come live near him:
But some people hate Jews more than they love their own people. They hate Jews so much that they want them to be harmed, even if it harms us too—even if it harms us more… In short, I favor a two state solution. I do not favor the destruction of Israel, because I want the Jews to live there, not among my people. I favor a Palestinian state, because I want the Palestinians to live there, not among my people.
This is essentially the policy that Hitler instituted in Germany from 1933 to 1939: we hate the Jews and want them dead, but we’ll settle for having them all leave our country for now. But more importantly, this temporary attempt to “make peace” with the existence of Israel allows the Alt-White to sometimes speak positively about Israel and to use Jewish Nationalism (i.e. Zionism) as a false parallel for White Nationalism.
So how are White Nationalism and Jewish Nationalism’s different? Well, that’s kind of like asking how Dictatorships are different from Democracies.
Modern Zionism was born out of mass persecution, leading to a return of the Jews to our indigenous homeland. The Zionists established a democratic government that while recognizing and celebrating Judaism, Hebrew culture and Israelite history, accepted peoples of all backgrounds and contrary to thoroughly debunked claims of the Palestinians and BDS movement, it never engaged in genocide, mass expulsion as a matter of policy or state-sponsored discrimination.
White Nationalism, on the other hand, was born by persecuting others en masse. The White Nationalists in America aren’t interested in returning to their native Europe, but rather establishing their White Supremacist state in place of the US government. They are very clear about their hatred of others, openly talk about expulsion and we know from history that when expulsion doesn’t work, the next steps are enslavement and extermination.
Those of you who have had the misfortune of dealing with the Alt-White on Twitter will know a common refrain of theirs is “why can the Jewish have a nationalism but not White people?” This is a carefully crafted question designed to normalize their movement while staining Zionism at the same time. The reason why this question has no merit is because “White” is not an ethnicity, rather there are many different white/European ethnicities, which is one of the reasons why European history is littered with wars between various states with different languages, cultures, cuisines, ideas, and more. These various European identities were about much more than mere skin tone, which is why today there are many people in those countries who are not white but look at themselves as members of their respective nations and cultures, in the same way Jews-by-choice are just as Jewish as Jews-by-birth. What White Nationalists are seeking to do is essentially paper over the history of Europe with a focus solely on skin color, something that cannot be adopted by others and a marker that has been used to dehumanize others throughout history.
However, this attempt to perversely tie White Nationalism to Zionism has not just been accepted by the Alt-White, but it has found fertile ground on the Alt-Left as well. Again, Dr. Lipstadt explains:
For the past few decades, we have witnessed the rise of anti-Semitism from the left. From Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the United Kingdom to college campuses across America, the phenomenon is real, and it is dangerous. Yet, all too often, some Jews — both individuals and organizations — who inhabit the liberal or left end of the spectrum have tried to explain it away with the classic “yes/but” rationalization: “Yes, it’s wrong, but if only Israel would… then the anti-Semitism would disappear.” Maybe their fear of losing their left-wing bona fides blinded them to the fact that the only proper response to prejudice of any kind — anti-Semitism included — is unambiguous condemnation.
It was this comment of hers that caused Mondoweiss take on the Alt-White’s favorite talking point of linking White Nationalism to Zionism:
If she is going to criticize white nationalism as a white supremacist ideology, then what about Jewish nationalism?
The as-a-Jews of Mondoweiss hate Israel so much, they are happy to parrot the words of Alt-White leaders like Paul Town who says, “At the core of the [Jewish Identity] is a malevolent supremacy.” Mondoweiss doesn’t discussion the nationalism of any other country as supremacist, on the contrary, they glorify Palestinian Nationalism despite its many leaders overt support of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Their acceptance of the idea of “Jewish Supremacy” – a canard started by the KKK based on a conscious misinterpretation of the idea of Biblical Chosenness – is itself a manifestation of their reflexive hatred of Jews. This is further reinforced when Mondoweiss condemns Israel’s the Law of Return as racist while ignoring the roughly 40 other countries and territories (including the Palestinians) who have similar laws. This idea of holding Jews uniquely responsible for a crime (real or imagined) that is committed by everyone, is really the textbook definition of Jew-hatred.
The media has spent of lot of time recently condemning and exposing the Alt-White for what it is. Sadly, it has yet to take the same stand against an Alt-Left that uses the same terminology and has the same hatred, but has been better at repackaging it.
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