I tend to post on occasion about left-wing anti-Semitism, rather than the right-wing (and more familiar) version. I do this for a number of reasons.
1.) It exists, and like any bigotry on any side of the political spectrum it needs to be highlighted and condemned
2.) Our side is often either ignorant or in denial of it—primarily because we’re meant to be the more humanitarian of the two “wings” — so confronting it on our side isn’t particularly pleasant
3.) A lot of people wrongly believe that it was vaporized around the same time Hitler was, and that Jews have it great around the country and the world, so even if it crops up, it’s no big deal.
4.) The far-rightist, well-known Neo-Nazi variety of anti-Semitism has been so marginalized that everyone knows how and where to spot it, and condemn it. We tend to assume that we’ve beaten it; that it runs no risk of becoming structural as it did decades ago. The left-wing version, by contrast, is a bit more in “vogue”, and strikes me as having a “creeping” quality to it—making some of our reliable institutions (e.g. universities) a bit more intimidating and threatening than they were just a few years ago.
One reason I focus on the left rather than the right is because generally with the more well-known Right-Wing anti-Semitism, we know what to look for, it’s been fully marginalized within the international community, and honestly I (as well as most Jews) tend to be pretty safe here in the U.S. — I’ve never experienced right-wing anti-Semitism personally so I haven’t taken it to be as much of a personal/community threat these days—the left-wing variety has actually affected me personally to a much greater degree.
That is beginning to change on the national stage.
Here I’m going to look at the well-known, tried and true, famous, classical “To the ovens with ye, kike!” version of anti-Semitism that we’re all familiar with from classic venues like, say, the Holocaust, or pogroms, or the KKK, or neo-Nazi skinheads who spraypaint swastikas on synagogue walls.
They’ve always been around, of course—they didn’t take too well to our side winning WWII. But now, via social media, and with the passive yet screamingly loud support of one nominee of the Republican Party—they’re back in droves.
And they’re out to get us.
With the rise of Trump — and perhaps even more so his sanction by a number of mainstream (and formerly marginally civil, if objectionable) outfits like the Republican National Committee, or elements of the media, or the GOP itself, a number of demographics have been subject to virulent — and sometimes violent — targeting by a number of supporters.
We’ve talked at length about Muslims, of course—by virtue of a flagrantly unconstitutional, inhumane and vicious proposed ban that Trump has proposed and his supporters have rallied around.
We’ve talked at length about Hispanics—by virtue of a hideous proposed mass-deportation policy that the GOP has first passively, then actively embraced by their support.
And then, of course, they came for the Jews (as they usually do anyway).
Erin Schrode, a young (25-year-old!) candidate for congress in CA, has just been the subject of an obscene tirade of Himmler-esque social media attacks since her candidacy was covered by a number of media outlets. In her words:
What is Ms. Schrode talking about? On her facebook page, she gives some examples:
"Everyone knows it's TIME for America's first evil retarded teen cunt Congress kike!"
"Fire up the oven!"
"All would laugh with glee as they gang raped her and then bashed her bagel eating brains in."
And it goes beyond this—she has also reported “doxxing”, whereby her personal information has been posted online. Moving from online harassment to actual fear for physical safety — and an increase in the potential level of criminality.
Well then. Aside from this sort of thing being, as she said, pure evil, it is also a new development. Schrode has said that until this social media harassment, she had never been the subject of personally targeted anti-Semitism. In other words, what she’s seeing is new, and comes from somewhere.
The DailyStormer, the hate-outfit that coordinates many anti-Semitic attacks from the far right, isn’t a new publication. Neo Nazis have been around a long time (hell, they come after the Nazis!) Anti-Semitism, as I’ve noted, is pretty much part-and-parcel of Jewish identity as it has been in various forms for the last few millennia.
What’s unleashing it now, however, is sanction. Because a core constituency of Trump’s support is infuriated white nationalists, and because Trump does not have it in his interest to speak out against them, and because by association, the GOP’s support of Trump means that the GOP tacitly supports it as well (although they publicly claim not to), it means that hatred on the level of the 1930s and 1940s is allowable, permissible, sanctioned, and encouraged.
What Schrode has been seeing isn’t an isolated instance, either. A number of Jewish journalists, especially those who have written anything against (or even about) Trump, have seen similar treatment.
Russian-born Jew (or Jewess—as the neo-Nazi twitterers like to refer to as) Julia Ioffe has posted repeatedly the rash of virulent messages she has received since writing an article about Melania Trump for GQ. To wit:
Even Ben Shapiro, right-wing writer (formerly of Breitbart, until he stood up for Michelle fields, another Breitbart reporter allegedly (and pretty clearly) grabbed by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowsky—has been subject to the same treatment. Why? Because Breitbart has embraced Trump wholeheartedly, and Ben Shapiro did not. The extreme anti-Semitism inherent among Trump supporters seems to have come as a surprise to him (but to his credit at least he’s finally opened his eyes).
Ben Shapiro discovers right-wing anti-Semitism
And even across the pond, far right (and in some cases far-left) anti-Semitism has been increasingly unleashed, caught up in a chaotic mix of xenophobia, Jew-hate, Islamophobia, Brexit/anti-immigrationism, as well as extreme anti-zionist views as well and some common cause between radically different wings of the political spectrum (the cross-pond variety is extraordinarily complex and not something I’m going to detail here—but as an example, the Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger has some choice tweets:)
Online mobilization of these kinds of anti-Semitic attacks has been increasingly facilitated by social-media tricks (there are a number of recent articles on the use of a triple parentheses ((())) surrounding a Jewish social media user (also www.slate.com/… ) or a Jewish sounding name as a kind of “call to arms” to viciously attack said user. A google app called the “Coincidence Detector” was created (and since pulled) to facilitate this sort of thing. In solidarity, a number of Jews (and non-Jews) on twitter and other social media sites have “reclaimed” this by putting their own names in triple parentheses—(I personally am not comfortable with this idea (and neither is Julia Ioffe, apparently) and wouldn’t do it but I appreciate the gesture)
A number of these harassers, of course, vocally support---guess who?
Donald Trump has a daughter who has converted to Judaism. Ivanka is married to an orthodox Jewish man. Donald Trump probably doesn’t personally hate Jews, just like he very likely doesn’t personally hate blacks, or Latinos, or women, or any other demographic that he consistently slurs—either actively or passively. (although I’m sure he’s ridiculously prejudiced) But that is completely inconsequential—as he is more than willing to mobilize those (frighteningly large) demographics of infuriated white guys who DO viciously hate these groups, and may be willing to act on that hate.
These are Trump’s people. It is a hateful, dangerous, and potentially violent demographic. Trump already has an inordinate amount of power at the helm of the GOP, a position the GOP basically handed to him on a silver platter, whether they wanted to or not, and they are far too cowardly to pull back now.
So, anti-Semitism on a level we haven’t seen for decades is now becoming normalized in the U.S. And that’s just with Trump as ascending force.
With Trump as president? People are going to be killed. Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays — people are going to be murdered if this guy is in office, and the guy at the top won’t be particularly fussed about it. Why? Because Trump’s GOP is the party of White Nationalist Resurgence. And with that party at the top? The country might as well be a national Klan rally.
So, to close out—I know there are a number of people here and elsewhere who are considering sitting this one out, or casting a protest vote, or even (in some cases) actually supporting Trump in the name of some sort of hoped-for progressive idealistic society down the road. People like Susan Sarandon have suggested as much. As have a number of others www.theatlantic.com/…
Of course, politics don’t work that way—they are slow processes by which reforms ebb and flow through three branches of checking-and-balancing government. This is the way democracy actually works.
But with someone like Trump in office, democracy may be off the table—the freedom party already has significant clout in the House, the mainstream leadership (Ryan et al) has done little to stymie them, and President Trump would have 2-4 supreme court picks to essentially enshrine the version of “democracy” he would like to see. And that “democracy” may entail the U.S. becoming one of the most hateful societies we have ever seen.
I’m Jewish. But I know a lot of people who are female, or black, or Muslim, or Hispanic, or gay, or any other label that millions of Trump followers have a major problem with, and would love to see removed from our society.
So when you vote, I woud implore you to cast the strongest vote you possibly can against his brand of dystopia. That would, of course, be the person opposing him at the top of the Democratic ticket.
Thanks for recommending this story, folks—the more exposure this sort of crap gets the better.