On social media, I am often asked: “As a Jewish person, why would you identify with the Alt-right, aren’t they anti-Semitic?” I understand why people would ask, and why they see the alt-right as they do. To answer, I need to ask a question of my own:
What is antisemitism?
I favor Rothbard’s definition, slightly modified: an anti-Semite is someone who wants Jews subjected to legal sanction of some kind, as well as those who call for violence against us, qua Jews. This definition won’t help the mental tranquility of liberal Jews and Trump critics, seeing a deluge of frog-memes coming their way, but it helps me stay focused. I ask myself: Why do some Jews put so much effort into combating the Alt-Right for cartoonish memes, while ignoring systematic, institutional threats? Why are we, as a community, afraid of any reasonable engagement with people like this:
Yes, very relevant. Jews who push for diversity in the US but not Israel should be challenged. https://t.co/oQ5KxH3dBl
— Ricky Vaughn (@Ricky_Vaughn99) May 4, 2016
Is “Ricky” wrong? Does this dynamic indeed exist in our community? Are Jewish people not overrepresented in this great western push for “diversity”?
She's half-jewish. Jews can't have White privilege because of Holocaust + Antisemitism^2 ÷ WASP Country Clubs https://t.co/0xAkQp09pR
— Ricky Vaughn (@Ricky_Vaughn99) January 25, 2016
Again, is Ricky wrong? Mention the Holocaust this way and most Jews slam their minds shut. I can’t speak for Lena Dunham (thank G-D), but Ricky has his finger on a point here. I sometimes wonder what Jews who enthusiastically go on about “white privilege” think the endgame is. They seem to think this concept will serve to shut the mouths of middle and working class whites in flyover country, while liberal Jews hold the clipboards and direct victorious POC in a dismantling of “whiteness”. Privileges will be checked, and all will be well in the world. I don’t see it.
Consider the case of Eliav Terk, Jewish High School student in Texas. Complaining about fellow students posting anti-Semitic imagery on Facebook:
“School administrators informed him that no action would be taken. Terk was told by the administrators that the anti-Israel students must be excused for their behavior because they are part of an ‘oppressed and victimized’ people.”
This is High School! In the same national environment where saying “All Lives Matter” can lead to sanction, posting “anti-Semitic” caricatures are part of being “an oppressed and victimized people”?
Does this look like the language and behavior of the Alt-Right? Where is the ADL to investigate? American Jewish organizations have made us look foolish, kvetching about Pepe the Frog and nasty tweets, yet when a Jewish High School student faces institutional discrimination, only the Israeli Press notices. The situation is much worse when we take a larger look at things. Jews are fleeing Europe, under constant attack by members of the Muslim community. Jews in higher education face threats, ostracism, and discrimination. Identity groups like Black Lives Matter have made Israel the ONLY overseas focus point, and this is replicated in Hispanic, Asian, and Muslim student groups. Considering the institutional fawning over identity groups representing “people of color”, this will not end well for Jews. Jewish groups remain largely ineffective in dealing with left wing intuitional and demographic threats. The Alt-Right is more observant:
So Soros (a Jew) bribes politicians to flood Europe with Muslims. Alt Right warns this is a bad idea. Muslims stab Jews. Alt Right is blamed
— RAMZPAUL (@ramzpaul) August 19, 2016
If you’re still with me, the dopey ADL is clueless, the Alt-Right is nasty but redeemable, and left wing institutional power is the real threat. But how does any of this explain ME? Why can I swim in a sea of (sometimes genuine) antisemitism and laugh at it, while other Jews can’t stand to be called “Jew”? Why am I easily able to ignore the nasty language, stereotyping, and general hostility Jews experience from the Alt-Right?
Part of it is because I believe that what happened to young Eliav Terk is worse than a million Pepe memes. Part of it is because traditional Conservative politics have failed and offer no response to the left’s toxic identity politics.
But in the end it’s just me.
I enjoy the nasty talk in the alt-right. I enjoy spending rhetorical time with people who might otherwise hate me. The alt-right has energy, it has vitality, it’s something NEW and creative, it’s honest and forthright. It’s also the only viable political movement that is explicitly fighting for that nebulous concept of “Western Civilization”.
I have thick skin and a tolerance for others. Liberals like to imagine themselves “tolerant”, but real tolerance is in the ability to be around people who are different than you and still value them as people. I’m from a small town, and was raised around tough, rural whites who didn’t spend much time checking their privilege. I could have ended up a nice, sheltered, liberal Jewish boy, but poor choices and a wandering nature put an end to that. I’ve seen too much, experienced too much, to be bothered by memes. I’ve lived with and befriended people most Jews would dismiss, and found that the meanest and the roughest can hold forth with truth from time to time. As a community we’re quick to ignore certain speech because of who the speaker is. I focus on the speech.
Western Civilization is a good thing for Jews. Sharia Law, Political Islam, identity politics, and the collapse of reason generally are bad things for Jews. I don’t care if someone standing up to the left doesn’t talk like my mother. I don’t care if someone who wants to control European borders blames Jews for the Muslim influx. Time to grow some skin, and focus on the real threats. Pepe won’t bite.