All posts by Joshua Seidel

Jews: Stop being Progressive

When faced with a potentially challenging idea or ideology, there are different ways to proceed. I’m the “dive right in and deal with it” type, which makes me a minority, certainly in the Jewish community. Many Jews, particularly on the left, still think the old combo of “demonize, misstate, and ignore” will do the trick.

Enter Benjamin Gladstone, with his piece “Jews should not flee to the alt right”. This is a response to an earlier piece of mine suggesting Jews should see the political left as a greater threat than the alt right. Benjamin attempts to shut my argument down right in his title. Of course, Jews shouldn’t “flee” to the alt right, any more than they should “beg” to join it. These are strawman arguments. As I’ve said before, the alt right isn’t something one can “join”, “beg to be a part of” or “flee to”. What we’re talking about is ideology and its effects, not group membership.

Hate to break it to you, Liberal Jews, but as of now you have no “group membership” anyway. It’s time to get past worrying about what “side” we should “join”, and instead take an objective look at the policy/ideological positions we should be supporting. My argument is simple: these positions, in 2017, should be more to the right than the left.

By far.

This brings us back to Benjamin’s piece. He points out that a left which will bend over backwards because a “trans” person is offended thinks nothing of supporting the destruction of Israel. He accurately notes that the left doesn’t care about antisemitism…. And then he says:

We as Jews must be morally upstanding citizens as well as effective advocates for our own needs. That means sticking with the left.

Why is this? Because according to Benjamin, Jews need to support “progressive causes”.

Have you been asleep for the last five years, Benjamin? “Progressive” now means bashing white people, men, Israel, and the ideals upon which the western world is based. It’s now a “progressive” ideal to call the scientific method “racist”. “Progressive” groups like Black Lives Matter have made Israel their only foreign policy focus.  Are you against rape on campus? Better be against Israel, too!

And this is where, politically, Benjamin thinks Jewish people should be.

I’m just not getting it, Benjamin. It’s true that Jews should look with concern at the anti-Semitic parts of the alt right. No argument there. Do you really think, however, that the openly racist, sexist, and bigoted rhetoric of the left is somehow “better”? Is it better because they attack White people instead of Jewish people? Many on the left see Jews as White, so their attacks on Whites are also attacks on us. Is it really a Jewish historical value to attack the founding groups of the nations we live in, and their values? Like many Jews, Benjamin can’t see past Nazi Germany and the idea that Jews were persecuted simply for being another race or religion. Persecution of Jews, however, was often seen as an attack upon a privileged group allied with the nobility, which Jews in the Middle Ages in Western Europe typically were.

Sound familiar? The left’s rhetoric of hatred towards anyone seen as White, western, privileged, etc, will inevitably target Jews, and there’s as much a rich history of persecution from this angle as from a nationalist or religiously exclusive one. This is a tough fact for many Jews to swallow, but one we need to confront nonetheless.

Another question: how can Jews on the political Left effectively support Israel? The left’s race obsession, as I pointed out, puts Ashkenazi Jews into the “White” camp. Strong border security, a strong military, a cohesive society; all necessary for Israel’s survival, all seen as contemptible aspects of “White Supremacy”. How can a Jewish person on the political left argue for a “Jewish State” when the very concept is “racist”? Leftists, of course, never call Palestinian Nationalism “racist”. By moving to the right, we jettison this hypocrisy.

I’m sympathetic to Jews like Benjamin, but we need to recalibrate our political leanings. Of course, we shouldn’t be “fleeing” to the alt right, or “begging” to join them, but we do need to move away from a “progressive” movement that is becoming a real threat. Jewish people: We’re not “oppressed” and we have little in common with those who claim to be. Progressive politics is every bit as divisive on race and other identity issues as the alt right. If you reject the racist alt right, you must reject the left. Let’s find a better way.

 

Why so mad, Jamie Kirchick?

Liberal Journalists have had a tough couple of months. Liberal Jewish journalists? Even tougher. Nothing seemed to work this year. Trump was the worst person ever to run for President, they said. The mainstream media and Hollywood pulled out all the stops. Celebrity videos, polemics by noted thinkers like George Takai and Lena Dunham, CNN panelists; they all tried to tell us Trump hates women, Jews, Black people, and the Constitution.

To no avail.

Perhaps nothing stings so much as “defections” from trusted minority groups. Some in the Jewish community are engaged in furious reprisals against fellow Jews who dared support the “Orange Fuhrer”. Ivanka is harassed on an airplane, Jared Kushner’s Judaism questioned. I knew my turn was coming, and indeed, enter Jamie Kirchick (not really a “liberal”, but very anti-Trump) and his piece. “The Jews begging to join the Alt-Right”, targeting myself and fellow contributors to our website “The Jewish Alternative”. Jamie’s confused, so I’ll help him out a bit.

Despite Kirchick’s title, the “alt right” doesn’t constitute something one can “join”. There’s no organized alt right political party, no organization that can lay complete claim to the title. There’s just people, who have come to their political conclusions in the same manner that Kirchick has. Some of them hate Jews. Me and my fellow contributors are Jewish, and therefore, they hate us. It’s really that simple. We may share some political positions with these anti-Semites, we may agree on some issues, but we are not the same thing, not in the same “group”, and never will be.  Jamie’s semantic games, repeated so many times by the media (all alt right are Nazis, alt right supports Trump, therefore Trump = Nazi) failed to influence the election or shut yours truly up.

Perhaps feeling badly about his poorly-written piece, Kirchick managed to make a halfway decent point:

Jews should know that their well-being is best assured in societies that respect religious and ethnic diversity, pluralism, democratic values and the rule of law.

While we would quibble over what’s meant by “religious and ethnic diversity”, there’s no doubt that rule of law, stable public institutions, and a responsible government benefit the Jewish people. We don’t do well in unstable, polarized environments. We don’t do well when the “public truth” erodes and we’re all in our own epistemological bunkers. Me and Kirchick agree on this, but what he doesn’t see is that engagement with alt right ideas is the only way to reverse this situation and restore us to a country where Jews (and Democracy) will be secure.

The political left is the real threat. No twitter trolls or nasty memes will change this. No esoteric White Nationalist gatherings even come close. On the left, race is every bit the issue as it is on the right, with concern for rule of law on the back burner. The political left controls Universities, media companies, and has inroads to the Democratic Party. What multinational alt right media company can put out an openly racist video like this one from MTV? Where are the tenured alt right college professors, calling for genocide of an entire race? Which political orientation is actively working to reduce legal protections for people accused of a crime?

American Democracy, like it or not, was conceived and implemented entirely by White, Christian, land-owning men. A political left obsessed with attacking “whiteness” hates everything about our founders. Their skin color, their gender, their ideology… and the country they started. The alt right can talk a mean game on Twitter, but they don’t attack our Democracy at the fundamental level the left does, and furthermore, unlike the left, they have no power.

You cannot fight the left without affirming the value of the “whiteness” they attack, because what they are really attacking are the foundations of western civilization. As Jews, we must raise our voices against this. Let the Nazis whine.

Jamie, (and other liberal Jews) we’re on the same side here. We both want a strong Israel and an American Constitutional Republic. We just can’t get there from here. Stop yelling “Nazi” at everything to the right of Barbra Streisand, and join me in the trenches. The alt right will seem like an afterthought, once the identity warriors who are motivating them are brought to heel.

Jews and Antisemitism- why do we get it so wrong?

 

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I’ve spent years arguing with anti-Semites online. I’ve argued with them since before it was called “online”, back in the days of BBS services, dial up modems; green and black monitors. They haven’t changed much, just like Jews haven’t changed much. I almost see them as a dim, monstrous reflection. A true anti-Semite is every bit the internationalist as a Jewish banker. They may cloak themselves in any number of guises, but their anti-Jewish identity is always primary. Countless times I’ve seen self-described White Nationalists and Muslim Extremists speak with ease about “the Jews”, all differences forgotten. Jewish words and ideas are extremely powerful to Anti-Semites. They believe one Jewish woman can influence the thoughts of an entire nation. If an organization contains thousands of people, and five of them are Jewish, an anti-Semite will believe the Jews are in control, regardless of their position. Jewish people saying things drive them nuts, no matter the topic. Anti-Semites will leave nasty comments under an online recipe… “That’s not REALLY a Cherry Pie, JEW!” Always we are the focus, always we are the problem. So why, after so long dealing with this, do we not respond more effectively? Why does it always seem that antisemitism, once rooted, continues to spread?

There are a lot of reasons for this, but some are under our control. As a community, we simply don’t do well when confronted with this issue.

One great example is the saga of Mel Gibson. It’s a simple story. Mel Gibson makes a movie about Jesus. Jews complain. The complaining accomplishes nothing. Jews double down. Some of the behavior was beyond cringeworthy. Wearing concentration camp outfits (Jesus was a Nazi?) to protest the premier. Going on and on. Mel, drunk one night, had something of a response. Jews were overjoyed! We’re right! He’s a real Jew hater!!!

Was he?

It seems to me one might make the argument that “the Jews” struck first, and an inebriated Mel finally responded. Not to condone his words… but is there not something to this? Would Mel Gibson EVER have become an anti-Semitic icon had Jews not protested his work, calling him an anti-Semite before he had spoken on the subject? Is it hateful towards Jews to simply make a film about Jesus? I saw “The Passion of the Christ” with a Christian girlfriend, and I can’t fathom what the issue was. Jews, quite frankly, jumped the gun.

Fast forward to the Donald Trump campaign. Against a field of mostly establishment Neo-Cons, Trump didn’t get the support of established Jewish journalists and commentators. This was quickly noted.

Trump, as I have said before, has lived in NYC for decades, surrounded by Jewish people. There has never been an accusation of antisemitism against him. This fact didn’t seem to matter, though, as the same Jewish journalists and commentators who criticized him before began using his anti-Semitic support as an excuse for more criticism. A man who has lived and worked around Jews his whole life, accused of both outright anti-Semitism and covert support of it, for no action of his own. I have questions: Why should Trump condemn people he has no connection to? Why should Trump give those people any attention by mentioning them? Many in the Jewish community were shrill in their condemnation of Trump, but few seemed to think this through. What is accomplished when someone who doesn’t hate Jews is accused of antisemitism? The Jewish community squares off, in this case, against Republican voters who have shown strong support for Israel and the Jewish community. The antisemities laugh, watching us lose genuine support. And for what? Trump won anyway, and the Jewish community finds itself with a President we openly opposed, and a DNC that’s moving away from us. What a situation!

It’s true that those on the political Right who hate Jewish people have more of a voice than they did before. It’s true that they are emboldened. Before we blame Trump for this, we need to look in the mirror, stop overreacting to internet trolls, and absolutely stop using the term “antisemitism” when what we really mean is “I don’t agree with you.” It’s that simple. The days of crying wolf must end.

Liberal Jews are Messing Up

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We all know the stereotypes. Jewish women, Jewish girls. Aggressive, demanding, pushy!

Maybe, some might say… “whiny”!!!

If you’re a Jewish man you’ve either given voice to these opinions or privately considered them; walking home after another argument, sitting in a restaurant feeling emasculated. “All stereotypes are true” Murry Rothbard once said, and we all know there’s truth to this one. What kind of non-Jewish person would DARE to give voice to the same opinion? Clearly, only Hitler.

Or Stephen Bannon.

Liberal Jews are currently freaking out, badly. They are upset, like all liberals, that the bubble they’ve been living in for the past five or so years was a lie. An absolute, outright lie, constructed by media and entertainment sources they refused to question. While non-Jewish liberals have helpfully responded to this defeat by doubling down on anti-White racism, rioting, and general cluelessness; Jewish liberals are doing all of this AND acting as though Hitler is riding into town on the Trump train.

Which brings us back to Stephen Bannon. Trump’s pick as top White House advisor has an ex-wife who claimed he didn’t want his kids going to school with “whiny Jewish girls”; In divorce proceedings no less. Otherwise his resume includes opening Breitbart in Israel, working with Goldman Sachs and some time spent in Hollywood. David Horowitz claims to be a personal friend.

But hey, his ex-wife says he hates Jews! Also, he runs Breitbart, which liberals hate. Therefore? Piece after piece in the mainstream media, claiming he’s a “White Nationalist”.

This isn’t even the worst of it. You’ve probably seen the hysterical articles claiming Jews are actually under threat. Perhaps the first prize here belongs to Mark Joseph Stern over at Slate, who wrote a piece entitled “I’m a Gay Jew in Trump’s America, and I Fear for My Life.” This article contains such gems as:

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This kind of emotional rhetoric in response to a free and fair election is unbelievable, and beyond that, it’s morally wrong. Trump has never said anything anti-Semitic either publicly, or privately where someone could recall (and you KNOW people would have remembered). The majority of Trump supporters are Conservatives who also support Israel. Aside from internet trolls and a few random individuals, Trump’s campaign hasn’t been “more Anti-Semitic” than any other. Mark isn’t just saying Trump has a problem with Jews, but that so many other Americans do that Trump will be able to overcome government checks and balances and go after the Jewish community.

What a disgusting, bigoted, and unfair way to view your fellow Americans.

It’s time for liberal Jews to stop. We know you are angry that you lost. We know you don’t like Trump, but claiming that America has become anti-Semitic, or that it’s not a friendly country for Jews, is a slap in the face to the country that, besides Israel, has been the best home for Jewish people in thousands of years. Americans have again and again expressed support for Israel, particularly Conservative Christian Americans. America remains largely free of the violent antisemitism sweeping Europe. What’s the problem?

As a postscript, it’s interesting to point out that while Trump reaches out to Israel and works with Jews on a daily basis, the DNC might put anti-Israel Rep. Keith Ellison in charge.

But hey, Bannon said Jewish girls were whiny, so I guess getting stabbed in the back by the DNC is less important… right?

Still for Donald Trump

 

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Yes, I’m still supporting Donald Trump. Of course I am! Nothing’s changed. Sure, plenty of angry Facebook messages, ultimatums. “No more sex/friendship/fantasy football/trivia nights for you!” I just smile and nod. Sure thing, folks.

 

Really though, nothing’s changed.

 

The “new revelations” concerning Trump’s personal behavior aren’t “new” in any real sense. We all knew he behaved this way. Women ask me “Is that REALLY how men talk?” It is, to a point, and it isn’t. Trump’s suggestion that he “grabs” women, perhaps without consent, takes his locker room talk to a cringe-worthy next level. It also changes nothing.

This election will have an impact on the fate of over 300 million Americans. If one truly feels Trump is better for that 300 million, what personal revelations can change the moral calculus? What if he’s a serial killer who has killed five people? Ten people? I’m not sure where we jump off this slippery slope, but we’re not close yet, not even in the ballpark.

The problems associated with globalism and the “Liberal Elite” haven’t changed one bit. Hillary still represents Wall Street excess, foreign policy arrogance and incompetence, a media/government/entertainment complex that seem to hate half of the American population; dying small towns, lack of real jobs, credentialism (needing unnecessary degrees/certifications), racial strife and violence, hateful identity politics. None of this has changed.

Trump’s racist, anti-Semitic, you say? Absolute nonsense. Pathetic, stupid, damaging nonsense. I’ve spent more time in genuine engagement with “anti-Semites” than virtually any Jewish person alive. They don’t like Jews, and they can’t hide it. Trump has spent his life around Jewish people. Every day he has intimate and meaningful interactions with Jews. The same is likely true with Hispanics, Blacks, any group you care to name. Trump, the media-hungry socialite, has led a far more diverse life than anyone reading this essay, and he did so for decades without accusations of “racism”.

Trump gives as a shot at turning back harmful trends. He gives hope to the half of our country that feels alienated, hated by the elite, and under attack. Every single day, our worldview is confirmed. Check out Lena Dunham’s latest “eliminate white people” video, then reflect on the fact that she’s a Clinton surrogate. The media has asked Trump to repudiate David Duke… will Clinton repudiate Dunham?

Liberals seem confused. Attack people based on their race and gender, and they will respond. Tell half the country they don’t belong here, and they will respond. Trump is the response. His personal behavior will never be as grave as the issues facing our country, so for those of us on his side, he’s still the best choice. Get used to it.

Why Donald Trump Won Last Night’s Debate

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After the debate, the women were mad. All up and down my Facebook feed, angry women sounded off. “How can he treat her this way?” they clucked. “I’m getting PTSD watching him shout over her” said one. “No man in my life will vote for Trump under ANY circumstances” promised another.

Better sit this one out, I thought to myself.

Indeed, some were wanting my input. I’m a rather notorious Facebook fiend, but I just didn’t have the heart to jump in. Why mansplain reality to the wounded? Why bother explaining why Trump’s manner and lack of detail won’t hurt him? They weren’t in any mood to listen.

This election has brought out intense passions. Most of us have decided who we’re voting for already. There’s little room for movement among those convinced the other side is evil, out to hurt women, flood our country with Muslims, and we’re not listening to each other. In this environment, what did Trump do that made him, in my opinion, more effective?

What Trump had to do, in my opinion, was convince people like myself that he’s not crazy, and that’s he’s focused enough for the job. Basically, does he have the personality to be President? He did this quite well, not only keeping up with Clinton, but by and large defining the terms and tone of the debate.

Right from the start Trump was aggressive and focused on Clinton’s documented shortcomings. His strategy was a smart one: keep the attacks coming while discussing his policy ideas with broad brush strokes. Trump took every question from Holt and turned it into the discussion HE wanted to have. Holt asked about the economy and how to make it better: Trump responded by talking about everything from trade policy to his own business success, while attacking Hillary’s record on NAFTA. His responses were so dense, so filled with asides and potential tangents, than Clinton couldn’t possibly respond to every assertion Trump was making. Instead, she had to lamely refer people to her own website for “fact checking”. Trump’s strategy here was brilliant: attack Clinton on specific issues, make her defend herself, while presenting his own policies more broadly, making it difficult for her to counter him on specifics. Clinton was on defense virtually the entire debate. By making his attacks early, Trump made it seem as though Clinton was merely responding, rather than coming up with unique attacks on her own, as she hit his tax and business record.

Trump used Holt’s rather hands-off moderation to his advantage. Holt wouldn’t press Trump to answer questions directly and with specifics, and as I said Trump used this to answer in the way he wished. He used old sales tricks to let Holt keep him talking, such as responding to a question with a question. “You asked me a question, didn’t you Lester?” he said at one point as Holt tries to ask a follow-up. “Let me answer”. Reminded me of my cold-calling days.

The facebook ladies are even angrier with me now. “So what if he manipulated the debate, he had no policy specifics!!!! Isn’t that what’s important???”

No, policy specifics mean almost nothing during a debate. Let me say that again, because it’s a big point: policy specifics mean almost NOTHING during a debate! Don’t believe me? Then tell me, without googling, five policy specifics from the Obama/Romney debates. Can’t? How about just ONE? Better question: If you can remember a few policy specifics, tell me how many were implemented, exactly as described during the debate, once the winner was on office. Can you think of any?

I’ve followed politics for decades, and for the life of me, I can’t think of a SINGLE specific policy recommendation from ANY debate I’ve ever watched. Not one. What do I remember? Obama talking about bayonets. Romney talking about binders of women. I remember Tina Fey making fun of Palin, I remember GW Bush’s goofy smile. But nothing really specific. What will be remembered about the Trump debate? Not much, other than that he didn’t appear crazy, and Clinton didn’t get sick. Was Trump sexist? The women who thought so before the debate still do, and the ones that didn’t, still don’t. It’s a wash.

I’m voting for Trump because his vision and his judgement are what I want in a President. I’ve got some idea of his policies, but why do I need more specifics now? We ALL know that the specifics will change once the day to day reality of being President sinks in. I’d rather know that my President is tough, smart, and good on his feet. During the debate, Trump showed that he could walk into a hostile environment in front of a much more experienced opponent, and not only hold his own but make the space his. I want that quality in a President. The specifics will come later.

Alt-Right Musings

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The messages started almost immediately.

As my piece went live, new Twitter accounts begun for this purpose began reaching out. “I’m a Jew, and I’ve always felt this way but I’m afraid to say it” was one common refrain. This was followed up by Facebook massages, invitations to shadowy right-wing Jewish forums, and furtive Kahene supporters verifying my right wing credentials. Was I really a spy? The right wing Jew is such a rare breed in the wild, some simply didn’t believe it.

The comment section of my article attracted a not-so-rare breed: the “get in the oven” trolls, there to let me know they weren’t cutting me any slack and a Jew remains a Jew. Even here there were gems. One insightful commentator noted that I wasn’t a REAL racist like they were, I’d merely made the calculation that the modern right was less dangerous to Jews than the modern left. While this fellow underestimated my genuine support of the west qua west, he wasn’t totally wrong, and his next observation was keen: “Do you realize how incredibly neurotic your people are, including yourself?”

Well… yea!

There are those in the alt-right who define their movement entirely in respect to White Nationalism. To them, the alt-right is the political vehicle in the battle for white “Ethno States”, which will replace current Democracies in Europe and possibly North America/Australia. Many self-consciously model these states on the example of Israel. An “Ethno State” need not be racially homogeneous, but the political, economic, and cultural power in the state will remain in the hands of the dominant race/ethnicity, who will decide for themselves what will constitute citizenship. As some call this “white supremacy”, the alt-right points out that it’s simply how most of the world works:

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So what is an “Ethno-State” and why would figures in the Alt-Right look to Israel for an example?

The idea has been around for some time, in different names and reiterations. For Alt-Right leaders such as Richard Spencer, (head of the National Policy Institute, a “pro white think tank”) defining European and North American states using racial criteria is necessary. Spencer, called the “Karl Marx of the Alt-Right” by Glenn Beck, has written at length about the situation facing American and European Whites. What situation? Minority status, loss of culture, and loss of identity in a multiethnic state where the standard of living has fallen for everyone. The solution? Make race or ethnic identity the core organizing principle of the state. Germany for the Germans, France for the French, Japan for the Japanese, etc. The policies of these states can vary, but the bedrock principle would be the maintenance of a majority for the dominant ethnic group.

To the Alt-Right, this solves many problems at once. In his book “The Ethnostate”, Wilmot Robertson (deceased, 2005) talks about what such a state would look like and what policies it would have. The specifics are less important than the idea that race is a “shortcut” to fix other issues. Problems with Wall Street? Less of a problem in a White ethno-state, where high trust and cultural/ethnic pride lead to better behavior from executives. There’s less of a need for regulation in the first place. Where to put educational resources? Easier question when we aren’t dealing with issues of race and immigration, isn’t it? In an ethno-state, the focus of the government will be a more efficient affair. The time and effort put into bridging ethnic and racial divides in our public institutions will evaporate, leaving societies’ energy focused on more productive issues. The well-being of such a country could be more objectively measured. What’s the standard of living? What’s the pay gap? How’s inequality? These questions are easier to answer without issues of race.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do any states exist with policies intended to keep one ethnic/racial group as a majority? Policies that favor this group? The example given by many Alt-Right figures is Israel. Spencer claims to “respect Israel” as a “homogenous ethno-state”. Israeli policies discouraging non-Jewish immigration and encouraging Palestinians to move away from disputed areas are cited by alt-right leaders as examples for their own ethno-state.

Immigration/emigration are part of the story for Israel, but its commitment to the Jewish population is deeper than that. A good description comes from author Sammy Smooha, in the Journal “Nations and Nationalism”. Smooha writes:

Contrary to its self–image and international reputation as a Western liberal democracy, Israel is an ethnic democracy in which the Jews appropriate the state and make it a tool for advancing their national security, demography, public space, culture and interests.

This is what the Alt-Right theoretically wants. A state in which White people, however defined, have control over the public spaces, the culture, the politics, and the demographic future of their country.

What’s that you say? Israel’s not REALLY an ethno-state? They have minorities? Well, of course. Israel has chosen to extend certain rights to non-Jewish citizens, including the right to vote; there are Arabs in the Knesset. This is all true, yet between ethno-states, policies can differ greatly. There’s no need for such a state to be free of minorities, as long as the state itself is defined around the majority. Israel, which encourages (and pays for) large orthodox Jewish families, and calls itself the “Jewish State” is certainly such a country.

So why isn’t the alt-right thrilled to have more Jews among its ranks? Surely we could provide the guidance they need to set up their ethno-states. If they are impressed with Israel, why not more engagement with sympathetic diaspora Jews?

Many in the Alt-Right fear Jewish influence on their movement, citing the Neoconservative “takeover” of traditional Conservatism, and the change in the movement’s character as a result. They fear that Jews may “dilute” the ethno-state they ultimately want to build.

Kevin McDonald, ex Cal State professor and Alt-Right theorist, has written a piece on Jews and the Alt-Right that mentions 19th century Austrian-Jewish politician Victor Adler. Adler’s Austria was the seat of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was under strain from the repeated influx of “Slavic” immigrants and refugees. Difficult questions of identity revolved around German-speaking Austrians. Should “German” policies, German language, German culture, predominate? Should loyalty to the Emperor and the state trump ethnic loyalty? Adler was a “cultural” nationalist, part of the Linz Program of 1882, explicitly calling for the primacy of German culture, language, and policies in the Austrian State. One of Adler’s co-signers to the Linz Program was Georg Schönerer, who advocated for the inclusion of an “Aryan Paragraph” which would make explicit the connection between German culture and people of German ethnicity.

So what does this have to do with the Ethno-State? Schonerer’s concerns are a model for the concerns of the Alt-Right today. As Austria took in more and more refugees from the east, the relative power of the German-speaking population was reduced. To Schonerer and even Adler, the Slavic “Hungarian” side of the Empire was distinctly inferior to the “German” side. To allow more Slavic influence at court, and to allow more Slavic people into the intuitions of the state would invariably weaken and degrade Austro-Hungary. The Linz Program signers made their feelings explicit:

“We protest against all attempts to convert Austria into a Slavic state. We shall continue to agitate for the maintenance of German as the official language and to oppose the extension of federalism…[W]e are steadfast supporters of the alliance with Germany and the foreign policy now being followed by the empire”

Adler agreed with Schonerer regarding the “inferiority” of Slavic culture to German culture, but Schonerer took things a step further. Merely preserving German language and administrative customs wasn’t enough. Actual German people needed protection as well. His “Aryan Paragraph” provided that Germans would receive privileges in the empire including more access to government positions. Schonerer also advocated for a breakup on the Empire along ethnic lines, and his ideas are said to have motivated Polish and Hungarian Nationalists, as well as providing a model for Zionism. Today’s Alt-Right also feels the need to go beyond “cultural nationalism”. To them, race and ethnicity are biological facts. There’s something genetically distinct, for example, about a German person, and this genetic distinctiveness expresses itself in German culture, which then influences what will be the German state. A majority Black country in Africa could attempt to become a German “culturally nationalist” state, but in the eyes of the Alt-Right, this would end in failure. Only Jews can make a Jewish state, only Zulus a Zulu State. We can speak each other’s languages, eat each other’s food, but there will always be a deep distinction between us.

Adler broke with Schonerer over the Aryan Paragraph and soon ended up leading the Austrian Labour Movement and publishing an influential Marxist journal. MacDonald and other alt-right commentators fear that Jews in the alt-right would exert a similar influence to that of Adler. It’s not the disagreement between cultural/ethnic nationalism in and of itself that bothers them, but the possibility that Jews will push the former and vilify the latter, all while taking on the mantle of the alt-right. Seems a bit farfetched? Perhaps, but who thought Neoconservatives would have taken the mantle of American Conservatism from John Birch?

The Alt-Right is mixed on Jewish help, but nuanced. MacDonald is still open to the idea of Jews “allied” to the alt-right, assuming they are “vocal critics of the Jewish community and its role in the dispossession of European-Americans.” More nuance comes from a recent press conference given by top alt-right luminaries including Spencer and Jarod Taylor. In Taylor’s own words:

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Taylor has long been a “white nationalist” writer, well known for being one of the “moderates” in the movement. His views were well-expressed in a recent NPR interview. What he wants is fairly simple: freedom of association on private property. If (non-Jewish) whites wish to have an all-white club, private school, or neighborhood, government shouldn’t intrude Is this, in and of itself, anti-Semitic? Will I be on my way to the oven? Not sure, but I managed to avoid oppressing the Goyim on my way to Jewish Summer Camp, so who’s to say Whites couldn’t exhibit similar restraint? This really isn’t terribly different than current American policies. Taylor’s “ethno-state” would be far milder than Israel!

Regardless of individual feelings on the Alt-Right, White People, or ethno-states, there is more nuance here than most will give credit for. Media accounts (Betsy Woodruff in Daily Beast) of the NPI Press Conference claim the participants “hate Jews”, despite Taylor’s clear stance to the contrary:

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Covering the NPI Press Conference for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Ron Kampeas writes:

“I want my grandchildren to look like my grandparents,” Taylor said, “not like Fu Manchu or Whoopi Goldberg or Anwar Sadat.”

There were nods of agreement and more pledges to continue the conversation in the Willard bar.

As the room emptied, I prayed silently that Taylor would enjoy good health long enough to behold a grandchild with a pointed goatee, thick braids, foot-long fingernails and a prayer bump, and I recalled his opening remarks, and his overarching predicate for the existence of racial differences.

Most Jewish people would have a similar reaction to Woodruff and Kampeas. Hostility, referring to the Alt-Right leaders as “racist”, mocking their desire for racial and ethnic purity. But why? Are figures like Spencer racist for wanting a White Ethno-State? Is Taylor to be condemned for wanting his grandchildren to look like him? (and, it could be assumed, wanting the same or better standard of living for them?) Why can’t we turn the lens around for a moment? What are we really quibbling over? Is it the location of Spencer’s hypothetical ethno-state? What if it was Norway? Is it a problem that White people want to be around other White people? Want their grandchildren to be like them?

I want my grandchildren to be Jewish, I want the Jewish state of Israel to retain its majority Jewish population and character. I want Israel to be there for me and my grandchildren. I want Judaism and the Jewish people to survive. Am I any different than Spencer? Are you?