In the wake of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shootings, the long-running hysteria about Donald Trump promoting anti-Semitism, racism, and “White supremacy” has been intensified. It’s at the point now that it is morphing into an obvious attempt to shut down or at least pathologize public discussion of critical issues.
Particularly important are globalism and nationalism, and the role of the establishment—particularly the media—in shaping attitudes on these issues. The election of Donald Trump and the clear rise of nationalist politics and anti-immigration sentiment in Europe are causing extreme anxiety in establishment circles. And yet, these issues are central to the interests of all the citizens of Western countries.
An honest discussion is therefore imperative, but all too often, as in much of the EU, honest discussion is vilified and even threatened with legal sanctions (e.g., here, here, and here). What we have is a corrupt establishment desperately fighting to remain in power—an establishment that is out of touch with the interests and concerns of its native populations. We in the United States are threatened with a similar situation if present trends continue.
For starters. Trump’s recent statement that “I am a nationalist” was greeted with a deluge of comments that such a statement is racist and dog whistled White Supremacism,” and Nazism (here, here, here, here). Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) stated:
“We should stop giving him the benefit of the doubt, that he doesn’t understand what he means when he refers to nationalists or any of these other terms. These are not just dog whistles, but it’s bullhorns. It’s racism, it’s basically for many people it’s anti-semitic [sic], it’s white supremacy. He knows very well what he’s talking about even though he professes otherwise.”
This is amazing given that Trump was quite clear in stating that he meant that America’s interests should come first, as in this statement contrasting nationalism with globalism that immediately followied his claim that he is a nationalist: “A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much.” This is nothing more than a garden-variety restatement of civic nationalism that has been a bedrock conservative idea for decades.
The problem is that in the present context of hyper-polarized political debate, such a statement is reflexively associated in the media with the Alt Right—the threatening menace of White racial nationalism. This is more a testament to the lurking influence of the Alt Right. The establishment sees any mention of nationalism in this context as at best a slippery slope toward racial nationalism.
Hirono’s point about nationalism being linked to perceptions of anti-Semitism is supported by the views of a long history of Jewish writers dating back to the nineteenth century (here, pp. 73–76). As Jonathan Weisman notes in reference to the most recent controversy, “In the long history of our people, Jews do not tend to do well when nationalist sentiments rise, when borders are sharply drawn and identities are crisply defined. Such times tend to leave us out — isolated, excluded and eventually attacked.”
In short, for diaspora Jews, nationalism—even civic nationalism—is inextricably linked with perceptions of national cohesion, national identities, and national cultures that will eventually turn on the Jews—the specter of National Socialism. Again the slippery slope: borders and national identities can end up as racial anti-Semitism.
The fundamental importance of nationalism, and indeed ethnic nationalism, for Israeli Jews and—given the extent to which American Jews identify with Israel—American Jews as well, the obvious inconsistency and lack of principled thinking in such a perspective never enters consciousness.
A good example can be seen in a reply by New York Times op-ed stalwart and Israeli patriot Bret Stephens commenting on a tweet by Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio tweeted:
Some already giving in to temptation to react to this terror attack by either assigning blame for or rationalizing it. No sane or well-intentioned person, no matter how partisan, would do this. It’s either the work of a demented person or terror aimed at further dividing America.’
To which Bret Stephens replied:
Here’s why, Senator: Trump routinely defames “globalists” and “international banks” and “corrupt media,” all of which anti-Semites associate with Jews. Responsible rhetoric begins by not demonizing entire categories of people, or giving deranged people mental ammunition.
There is a certain logic to Stephens’ argument. I suppose it is likely that if one took a poll of people who have critical attitudes about Jews, one would find that they would associate Jews with the media, the large investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, and globalism. My own work has focused on Jewish involvement in promoting globalism (defined by its two most disastrous policy positions, immigration and multiculturalism) and the media. The bottom line is that yes, Jews have vastly disproportionate influence in these areas. And we should be able to talk about it.
Regarding Jewish involvement in the media, there’s no question Jews are massively overrepresented both in terms of content (especially regarding issues such as Israel, multiculturalism, immigration, treatment of Christianity and Judaism) and ownership (see here, pp. xlvi–lvi). A good data point is Steve Sailer’s finding, based on a 2009 ranking by The Atlantic, that Jews comprise around half of the top U,S media pundits while being less than 3% of the population.
Regarding immigration—the key component of globalism affecting the interests of the traditional American majority, I noted previously on VDARE,
My hypothesis, advanced in my book The Culture of Critique: it is part of an evolutionary strategy aimed at advancing Jewish interests. As Leonard Glickman of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society has put it memorably: “The more diverse American society is, the safer [Jews] are.” (“Community Questioning Open Door,” by Nacha Cattan, Forward, November 29, 2002).
Of course, this does not involve all Jews, and some consciously reject it. But positive attitudes and activism aimed at ending the pre-1965 ethnic homogeneity of the United States have been typical of the entire Jewish political spectrum and all of the main Jewish activist organizations. These efforts were the driving force in favor of liberalized immigration up to the 1965 sea change in immigration law. This pattern continues into the present. (“Was the 1924 Immigration Cut-off Racist?”; see also “Why Do Jewish Organizations Want Anti-Israel Refugees?”)
The quote from Glickman is pertinent here because the alleged killer, Robert Bowers, appears to have directed his anti-Jewish ire against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, posting on Gab.com:
HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.
One can certainly understand anger directed at immigrant criminality—at what VDARE labels the “Immigrant Mass Murder Syndrome”—and even at Jewish involvement in shaping current immigration policy. But obviously killing Jews is not a rational way to go about changing our immigration policies. Anti-immigration activism in all its forms is the only reasonable way to change disastrous U.S immigration policies.
But it’s silly to deny a special role for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. In a 2013 debate over the immigration amnesty/surge bill, a letter organized by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and sent by over 100 Jewish organizations to President Obama and Congress stated that “American Jews know too well the impact of restrictive immigration policies,” indicating that HIAS activism goes well beyond resettling refugees This bill was bitterly opposed by the grassroots Republican base and didn’t make it through the House. There were no Jewish organizations that came out against the bill.
And, as Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch notes, the HIAS is the most politically active of all the refugee resettlement groups
I think we all agree everyone is entitled to free speech, and HIAS can demonstrate in the streets against the President and for open borders, they can sue the Administration, they can cheer on the migrant caravan and they can campaign against Republicans in the midterms, but what is so patently unfair to the average citizen who is learning about their community organizing activities (from alternative media) is that they receive millions and millions of taxpayer dollars each year while promoting a political agenda that many Americans vehemently disagree with. (Emphasis in original)
HIAS commented on the Pittsburgh shootings in a way that reinforces the view that leftist immigration and refugee policies remain dominant within the Jewish community:
HIAS may not have the backing of the White House, but its issue remains popular across the Jewish community. All four major movements opposed Trump’s travel ban last year. More than 400 congregations are part of its “Welcome Campaign.” Last week, it organized a “refugee Shabbat” across synagogues, focused on talking about helping refugees.
It should be possible to criticize powerful groups in a democracy— to try to rationally show just how powerful they are and what policies their influence is affecting. There was a robust history of criticism of the formerly dominant WASP elite in the U.S., even prior to their demise. It was common to criticize and even ridicule their social registers, exclusive clubs, and sexual repression. Jews were particularly critical because they were sometimes denied access to elite institutions—Ivy League universities, white shoe law firms, the State Department (and its perceived anti-Israel bias) and other institutions of the old establishment. As Jacob Heilbrunn noted in his They Knew They Were Right, the early Jewish neoconservatives sought
to overturn the old order in America. . . . After all, no matter how hard they worked, there were still quotas at the Ivy League universities. Then there were the fancy clubs, the legal and financial firms that saw Jews as interlopers who would soil their proud escutcheons and were to be kept at bay. Smarting with unsurpassed social resentment, the young Jews viewed themselves as liberators, proclaiming a new faith. (p. 28)
Well-thought-out, soundly based criticism of elites is perfectly legitimate, with a very long history in the West. Obviously, fact-based criticism of our new elite does not make such rational critics responsible when a deranged person kills innocent people. We are seeing the death throes of an elite that has long been out of touch with the interests and attitudes of the traditional American majority.