Jews Versus the Alt Right: Lessons from History

Andrew Joyce, Ph.D.


Belloc

“The anti-Semitic movement is essentially a reaction against the abnormal growth in Jewish power, and the new strength of anti-Semitism is largely due to the Jews themselves.” Hillaire Belloc, The Jews (1922)

Just over a week ago, Hillary Clinton gave a speech attacking Donald Trump’s alleged associations with the Alt Right. In that boring and over-wrought piece of public speaking, Angela Merkel’s rival as the matriarch of mendacity described the Alt Right as a barely coherent whirlwind of “race-baiting,” “anti-woman,” “anti-Muslim,” and “anti-immigrant ideas.”

Predictably, it was revealed shortly after the speech that parts of it had been cribbed directly from an April propaganda piece by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Originating with an organization that makes a living by peddling horror stories, fantasies, and libels, it was no surprise that the speech relayed exaggerated and contradictory messages about this “emerging racist ideology.” According to Clinton, the Alt Right is “loose” but also “organized.” Its membership is “mostly online,” but also on our streets in droves in the form of a “rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world.”

So far, so banal. However, by mentioning Trump’s alleged Twitter usage of “an anti-Semitic image — a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills,” along with “anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters,” Clinton clumsily broke what seems to have been a long-standing convention that kept Jews and anti-Semitism off discussion tables at the highest level. After decades on the wings, political anti-Semitism had made it to the main stage.

What happens next will be very interesting. In nineteenth-century Europe anti-Semitic discourse gained momentum in the wake of economic crises, the intensification of ethnic competition, social pressures resulting from migration flows, and the increasingly refined and intellectual articulation of anti-Jewish critiques. Although a common Jewish cultural ploy at the time was to denigrate the movement and allude to the largely imagined horrors of medieval persecution, there was sufficient distance from the Middle Ages and sufficient proximity to contemporary anxieties for this to have little effect among the masses. In many respects these factors may be regarded as replicated today in that Jews will find it more and more difficult to gain currency from their World War II narrative as Whites are put under growing pressure from immigration, inter-racial violence, and the increasingly visible distortion of their political processes by essentially foreign interests. Worrying about what may or may not have happened to Jews in the 1940s will not be a luxury that Whites will be able to afford for much longer.

In broad terms then, the stage is set for the return of political anti-Semitism and thus a confrontation between a bloated Jewish power structure and a resurgent White nationalism.

Already there has been some dispute within the Alt Right regarding the ideological position of anti-Semitism. More specifically, Milo Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhair, a homosexual Jew and a Pakistani respectively, penned a Breitbart piece in March of this year in which they implied association with, if not leadership of, the Alt Right. The article claimed that the Alt Right was essentially a reinvention of 1960s counter-culture that was driven by “fun, transgression, and a challenge to social norms.” Yiannopoulos and Bokhair contrast the young jokers of the Alt Right (as they define it) with “anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set,” the latter described as “the worst dregs of human society.” Anti-Semitism, to the extent that it features at all in this narrative, is merely a punchline in the Alt Right’s expansive arsenal of provocative but largely insincere humor. Real ‘racists’ aren’t part of the movement at all.

Contrary to this narrative, it seems barely debateable that for the majority of those involved in the Alt Right, the question of Jewish influence is a genuine concern. And to some of us, the pushing of sanitized movement narratives by Yiannopoulos and Bokhair, and the disproportionate media attention given to these racially and ideologically suspect individuals, is evidence of an attempt to co-opt the Alt Right and divert it from a path of ethnic nationalism. The Daily Stormer has been at the forefront of this reaction, with one article arguing that:

The Alt Right has become such a major political force that it was impossible for [Jewish elites] to continue ignoring us. Our victories have become far too numerous to count. Their new strategy is to try and redefine the Alt Right as a movement led by the homosexual Jew Milo Yiannapolous. They’ve actually been setting this narrative up for a while but are only now choosing to go full force with it… The Jews want the general public to believe that the Alt Right is some kind of goofy White nationalist movement that has no real issue with Jews or homosexuals. They want people to think that the negative things we say about Jews are meant as innocent jokes. This is entirely false.

That Jews would try to co-opt, or attempt to derail, a potentially damaging movement does have many historical precedents. In one of the most pertinent, Steven Beller writes that during the rise of German nationalism in 1860–1880, Jews attempted to take key roles in the movement with a view to re-directing it from its roots in volkisch philosophy and an antagonism towards Jewish influence, and towards a mission of “cultural and social revolution.”[1] Media promotion and careful networking even led to two Jews, Victor Adler and Heinrich Friedjung, vying for leadership of the German nationalist movement in Austria. Indeed, Adler and Friedjung were two of the five framers of the famous Linz Program of 1882, a political platform that called for the complete Germanization of the Austrian state. It was only due to the continued insistence of the non-Jewish movement leaders, particularly Georg Schönerer, that an ethnic version of German nationalism was eventually adhered to. On Schönerer’s insistence, and to the dismay of the erstwhile Jewish “leaders,” the movement adopted an “Aryan clause.” Their attempt to co-opt the movement having failed, Beller adds, “the Jewish reaction was to look elsewhere for their goals of social and cultural change.”[2] For example, Adler became an out and out Marxist overnight.

Similarly in Germany, historian Gordon Mork notes that Jews were also “prominent” among the early leading advocates of German nationalism.[3] In particular, Jews were concentrated in the National Liberal Party, and then formed an influential clique around Bismarck himself. This diversionary clique within German nationalism may be regarded as a key reason why it was more stunted, in terms of an ethnic expression, than its Austrian counterpart until after World War I.

Similarly, during the rise of race science between 1880 and 1920 large numbers of Jews tactically ambushed several medical disciplines that had become increasingly concerned with the study of race differences. Historian Elena Macini writes that in Germany, “Jews flooded medicine at this time not only for social standing, but also in an era that witnessed the efflorescence of race science, for the opportunity of self-representation. … The presence of Jews in the medical sector in general, and in race science in particular, allowed them to assert Jewish equality and very often moral superiority.”[4] With Berlin as the center of German medicine, and Jews comprising one third of doctors in the city,[5] the domination and re-orientation of entire disciplines within the nation was not only feasible but disturbingly easy.

Returning to the present, in addition to the apparent media promotion (and self-promotion) of Milo Yiannopoulos as a key Alt Right leader — if not the Alt Right leader — at the expense of far more legitimate individuals, a number of curious articles have also appeared in the Jewish press that may be intended to blur our ideological lines. For example, shortly after Hillary Clinton’s speech an article appeared in The Forward titled “Is the ‘Alt Right’ Reaching Out to Jews — and Why?” Anyone with any familiarity with the broader movement would know that it is certainly not “reaching out to Jews.” However, in this bizarre article a number of strange assertions are made without evidence, not least the claim that Richard Spencer sees “Jewish and other out-group allies as a way to protect whites.” Like Hillary’s speech, the article is also full of contradictions. Spencer is equally claimed to harbor “deep anti-Semitism,” and Kevin MacDonald is accused of writing books “about the invention of anti-Semitism by Jews,” illustrating only that the authors of the piece haven’t read MacDonald’s work. Confusions aside, these contradictions indicate tension within Jewish approaches to the Alt Right, suggesting that Jews would still prefer to ‘defuse’ the rising movement rather than be forced into more open political confrontation with it.

A further Jewish attempt to grapple with the rise of the Alt Right emerged a few days ago in the Times  of Israel in an article titled: “Anti-immigrant and white supremacist, maybe. But is the Alt Right anti-Semitic?” In this article, which asked “Can you go Alt Right without going anti-Semitic?,” the tension between those who believe the movement can be diverted from an ethnic-nationalist trajectory and those who believe the movement should be condemned is again apparent. On the one hand Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, put forth the equivocal argument that “It may be too early to define the movement, but expressions of Jew hatred by some of its adherents need to be watched closely. It is wrong to accuse every person who associates themselves as part of the Alt Right movement as an anti-Semite.” In a similar vein are comments from Joshua Seidel, who is Jewish and has proclaimed his ‘backing’ for the Alt Right in an earlier piece in The Forward. Seidel pushes a version of the Alt Right that is indistinguishable from that of Yiannopoulos and Bokhair, and claims an affinity with Western civilization and its values. The cumulative effect here is that of encouraging impatient waverers in the Alt Right, perhaps tempted by being on the cusp of mainstream attention, to ‘leave the door ajar’ for Jewish entry. We may surmise from historical precedents that this entry would be followed by diversion, dilution, and ultimately dissolution.

Of course, there are many Jews who wish to stick with more conventional tactics. Of these tactics, Kevin MacDonald has analyzed several in his chapter “Jewish Strategies for Combating Anti-Semitism” in Separation and Its Discontents. One of the most pertinent to us is the formation of self-defense committees. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Centre may be regarded as Jewish self-defense committees, and in terms of their basic operations they are the operational descendants of those that emerged in Germany in the 1870s following failed attempts to divert German nationalism from an ethnic worldview hostile to Jewish influence. Like the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith (the Zentralverein), both the ADL and the SPLC perform activities designed to benefit Jews under the mask of universalist concern. For the Zentralverein this was the pretence that Jews were merely Germans of a different faith, who wanted nothing more than to support the German nation. For the ADL and the SPLC, this is the pretence that they are making the world a better place for all people. All of these organizations share the same tactics in that they have engaged in lobbying the government, utilizing and influencing the legal system, writing apologias and tracts for the non-Jewish masses, using the mass media to promote Jewish causes, and funding organizations that are opposed to anti-Semitism but not explicitly Jewish (for example, socialist movements).

MacDonald writes that groups like these have made it a chief goal to present an image of anti-Semitism as “a disreputable, unsavory enterprise,” and both the ADL and the SPLC have maintained this traditional line of attack against the Alt Right. [6] ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt, who in truly stereotypical fashion made his money by selling something called “ethical water” to disturbingly altruistic White hipsters, has wasted little time in attempting to sling mud. In response to the Times of Israel Post article described above, Greenblatt posted this Tweet, addressing the article’s author, Ron Kampeas:

That being said, it is clear that Jews are struggling to create or present an image of the Alt Right that they feel they can publicly confront, and the tongue-in-cheek nature of much of the movement’s anti-Jewish critique is proving difficult for Jews to deal with by using conventional tactics.

Faced with similar difficulties in the past, Jews have regularly relied upon a fall-back tactic of presenting the troublesome movement as a foreign import, in this case “un-American.” An excellent example of this, of course, would be Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous claim that the Alt Right has somehow been spawned by Putin’s Russia. Since most of her speech originated with the SPLC, we may assume that this particular accusation may be traced to a Hebraic hand. Another bizarre theory of the Alt Right’s foreign origins originating with the SPLC: Mark Potok has weighed in with the strange contention that the Alt Right “began as an anti-Muslim movement in Europe and has been spreading in this country since about 2008.”

And the list goes on. UK-based Jewish journalist Jonathan Freedland, who has a long history of activism against Whites, has penned an article titled “Donald Trump’s achilles heel is that he is truly un-American.” Freedland argues that America’s founding principle is “the belief that national identity did not reside in blood or soil, but in loyalty to the nation’s constitution and its bill of rights”—a clear indication that he has little acquaintance with American history. He continues that, “these moves by Trump are not just reactionary or bigoted or dangerous. They contradict the ideals that all Americans are meant to regard as sacred. Perhaps this is the way to attack Trump: as truly un-American. He says he wants to make America great again. The truth is, he would stop America being America.”

The meme that Trump is ‘un-American’ has also been peddled by Obama. Further Jewish participants in the effort to portray Trump as un-American include but are not limited to: the editorial board of the Washington Post led by the Jewish Martin Baron; the Jewish journalist Franklin Foer; and Jewish talk show host Jerry Springer. Jewish businessman Josh Tetrick also purchased a number of expensive full-page ad spaces in the New York Times aimed at pushing the ‘Trump as un-American’ meme. Reporter Brian Fung writes that, “The Times charges nearly $152,000 for a nationwide black-and-white full-page ad on Sundays, meaning that Tetrick just dropped a serious amount of dough on trying to take Trump down a notch. That’s more money than two typical Tesla Model S’s put together, and before you even get to what Tetrick may have paid the Plain Dealer and other newspapers across the country for a spot.”

In all cases, both Trumpism and the Alt Right are portrayed by Jews as a foreign incursion into American political life. As with other tactics, these have a long lineage. Kevin MacDonald writes that “Jewish organizations in Germany in the period 1870–1914 argued that anti-Semitism was a threat to all of Germany because it was fundamentally ‘un-German.’”[7] In nineteenth-century Germany, anti-Semitism was often described by Jews as a French import. Conversely, Paula Hyman writes that, faced with a rise in anti-Jewish feeling in nineteenth-century France, Jews spread the message that anti-Semitism was “un-French” and a “German import.”[8] Thorsten Wagner reports that it was a common refrain among Jews in Denmark that anti-Semitism there was “a German import — without autochthonous roots and traditions.”[9]

There are countless more examples from countless other countries. The tactic therefore relies on convincing the population that Jews are not the foreign threat but rather that it is the growing volkisch movement that is the foreign entity threatening the nation. Although it’s an absurdly perverse claim, and hard to imagine as being successful, Jews are able to spread the message because of their superior media and political power (as seen with Tetrick’s efforts). This power has ensured that portrayals of nationalist movements as ‘foreign’ have been tactically effective in the past.

Although some of the Jewish responses and reactions to the Alt Right outlined above may appear erratic, ad hoc, or even conflicting, it is important to recall that Jews are “flexible strategizers.” MacDonald notes that

within this framework, one expects that strategies for combating anti-Semitism will be highly flexible and able to respond adaptively to novel situations…These strategies may not succeed in their aims. Rather, unsuccessful strategies are likely to be replaced in a trial-and-error process, and there will be a continual search for new strategies to counter new, perhaps unforeseen, difficulties. … Different sub-groups of Jews may develop different and incompatible strategies for confronting anti-Semitism or attempting to change the wider society to conform to Jewish group interests.[10]

The Alt Right will face serious challenges in the coming months from organized Jews who are keenly aware that it is gaining strength and numbers. Our opponents know that even if the Trump candidacy fails, his candidacy will have been good for the movement. As the ADL puts it: “Though the Alt Right is not a movement, per se, the number of people who identify with it is growing.” As the movement grows, conventional Jewish counter-tactics will be rendered less effective and less practical, and new and more unconventional strategies will be sought. Foremost in this respect will be ongoing attempts to eliminate anti-Jewish critique in the Alt Right, so that a sanitized movement will stagger feebly on. Faced with such a scenario, the temptation of ideological compromise must be resisted. The impact of hostile Jewish influence on our societies is now better documented and understood than at any time in the history of our people. And as Hillaire Belloc wrote in 1922:

The strength of anti-Semitism was and is based not only on intensity of feeling, but also on industry, an industry very accurate in its methods. … Pamphlets, newspapers, and books, which the great daily press is so careful to boycott, form by now a mass of information upon the whole Jewish problem which is already overwhelming and still mounting up. … As a dossier for the Prosecution it is astonishing in extent and accuracy and correlation.

Greatly assisted by sites like The Occidental Observer, along with scores of books and media, the ’dossier’ we now have is unparalleled.

Just as I have drawn many historical parallels thus far, Belloc also noted that there was, in his time, “a fashion to separate oneself from the anti-Semitic movement. You still hear men, when they write or speak upon the Jewish problem, excuse themselves as a rule at the beginning of their remarks by saying ‘I am no anti-Semite.’” There is certainly a similar vein running through elements of the Alt Right today, and this is where potential co-option or compromise will be sought.

As the Alt Right continues to grow, particularly among the young, there is much to look forward to. It is hoped that this article, with its warnings and anticipations, will contribute to this progress. I’ll finish with Belloc:

It has been and will be with anti-Semitism as with all movements. When they begin they are ridiculed. As they grow they come to be feared and boycotted; but of those that are successful it may be justly said that the moment of success begins when they turn the corner and from a fad become a fashion.


[1] S. Beller, Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 162.

[2] Ibid.

[3] G. Mork, ‘German Nationalism and Jewish Assimilation: The Bismarck Period,’ The Lea Baeck Institute Yearbook (1977) 22 (1), 81-90 (81).

[4] E. Mancini, Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom: A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 29.

[5] A. Killen, Berlin Electropolis: Shock, Nerves and German Modernity (University of California Press, 2006), 63.

[6] K. MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward and Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (1st Books, 2004), 227.

[7] Ibid, 232.

[8] A. Lindemann & R. Levy (eds.), Antisemitism: A History (Oxford University Press, 2010), 136.

[9] T. Wagner,’Belated Heroism: The Danish Lutheran Church and the Jews, 1918-1945,’ in K. Spicer (ed), Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 2007), 7.

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