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Opinion | Antisemitism Cracks Open on the New Right - The New York Times

  
Via:  John Russell  •  8 months ago  •  14 comments

By:   nytimes

Opinion | Antisemitism Cracks Open on the New Right - The New York Times
Antisemitism breaks loose on the populist right wing.

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By David French

Opinion Columnist

A dam burst last week on the right, and a wave of grotesque antisemitism poured out all over the internet.

In August, I wrote about the "lost boys" of the American right, many of them young and relatively unknown, who were outed for having secret or anonymous online profiles and using those profiles to spread raw bigotry, including antisemitism. Some of these people worked for the right wing's biggest names, including Tucker Carlson, Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump.

What started in the shadows is now right in the open. It's being advanced by some of the most powerful and influential people in America, and there is nothing subtle about it. The latest eruption started with a fight between the Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro and his Daily Wire colleague Candace Owens. Both are immensely popular right-wing stars. Owens, for example, has more than four million followers on X, formerly known as Twitter, and more than five million on Instagram.

On Nov. 3, Owens posted on social media, "No government anywhere has a right to commit a genocide, ever. There is no justification for a genocide. I can't believe this even needs to be said or is even considered the least bit controversial to state." Many of her followers interpreted this as a criticism of Israel, and Shapiro, who staunchly supports Israel in its present conflict with Hamas, was later caught on tape at a private event saying Owens's behavior during the war has been "disgraceful."

Daily Wire drama should be of little interest to anyone outside The Daily Wire, but what happened next was truly alarming. First, Jason Whitlock, a leading personality at The Blaze, one of the largest right-wing websites, accused Shapiro of dual loyalties: "The guy has multiple loyalties. He loves America, but he loves Israel too. And maybe he loves Israel and he loves America too." Owens, he said, "is a bit more America first. She only has one loyalty."

Then Owens went on Carlson's show on X, where he ranted against the "biggest donors at, say, Harvard," asking where they were when members of the Harvard community "were calling for white genocide."

"White genocide" is a term of art on the racist right and is linked to the so-called great replacement theory, the notion that leftists (including Jewish progressives) are trying to import people of color to replace America's white majority. This is the theory that motivated the shooter in the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh. It is false, evil and very dangerous.

The same day, an obscure far-right personality posted the same conspiracy theory on X: "Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them."

"I'm deeply disinterested," he continued, "in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don't exactly like them too much."

The post wouldn't be notable, except as yet another example of the bigoted filth that dominates discourse on X, but Elon Musk — the world's richest man and the owner of X — responded with an endorsement. "You have said the actual truth," he replied.

Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, one of the largest right-wing youth organizations in the country, jumped in the next day to defend both the original post and Musk on "The Charlie Kirk Show." While he hedged by saying that he doesn't like to generalize, Kirk argued that "the first part" of the original post "is absolutely true." He then reread the post and repeated the old Jews-and-money trope: "It is true that some of the largest financiers of left-wing anti-white causes have been Jewish Americans."

While there are more examples of right-wing antisemitism spilling into the public square, I'm going to stop there. I by no means want to minimize the antisemitism we've seen from the far left, including on campuses and in the streets, but I am focusing on the people I just mentioned because they are some of the most prominent figures on the right.

What is going on? For the past several decades, the Republican Party has been a strong ally of Israel, so much so that the regard evangelical voters have for Israel has been the subject of considerable criticism. In my years as a Republican and a conservative lawyer, I never witnessed a trace of antisemitism. The answer to my question, however, is clear. The "new" American right isn't that new at all. It has rejected Reaganism, yes, but in doing so, it's reconnecting with older and darker forces on the right.

The ghost of Charles Lindbergh is haunting us. Lindbergh, readers may recall, was the hero aviator who flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. He later grew to admire German fascism and gave a famous speech in September 1941 in which he accused Jews of attempting to push America into World War II.

"The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war," he said, "are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration." And while Lindbergh expressed sympathy for Jews facing Nazi persecution, he went straight to the same tropes that were deployed last week, claiming that the Jewish people's "greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government."

More recently, we see the influence of Pat Buchanan, a former Richard Nixon speechwriter and so-called paleoconservative whom William F. Buckley Jr. denounced for his antisemitism in 1991. A central part of the case against Buchanan once again related to matters of war and peace. In the run-up to the first Iraq war, Buchanan said, "There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East — the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States." And that was a benign comment compared with many of his later pronouncements. In 2010 he wrote that if Elena Kagan were to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, "Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this Democrats' idea of diversity?"

Buchanan is no minor figure. As Nicole Hemmer wrote in 2022, his presidential campaigns in the 1990s forecast the present moment in Republican politics. The party "traded Reaganism for Buchananism," she contended. The evidence that she was correct grows by the day.

Everything about the New Right mind-set told us that this devolution was inevitable. It scorns character, decency and civility in the public square, often turning cruelty into a virtue. This was a necessary precondition for the entire enterprise. Decent people can be misguided, certainly, but they are not consumed with hate. Decent people do not indulge bigots.

The New Right rejects the norms and values of what it calls the uniparty or the cathedral: the center-left and center-right American elite. And one of those values is a steadfast opposition to racism and prejudice. The rejection first manifests itself in the form of just asking questions, then it veers into direct challenge of conventional norms, followed by a descent into true darkness.

Hostility unmoored from character quickly turns conspiratorial, and the world of conspiracy theories is where antisemites live and thrive. And finally, the term "America First," popular with the New Right and the older, Lindbergh right, has always been misleading. It actually means some Americans first or "real" Americans first, and "real" Americans do not include the ideological or religious enemies of the New Right.

It is no coincidence, for example, that after the Owens-Shapiro confrontation, many New Right figures began posting "Christ is king," an obvious shot at Shapiro's Jewish beliefs.

Evolution is a concept that applies to biology, not human nature. It turns out that humanity does not grow out of the darkness of the past. It has to be contested by every generation. We are neither imprisoned by darkness nor ever fully captured by light.

America is no exception. From before the founding, our so-called new world has been plagued by all the sins of the old. Set against that human depravity, however, are the great aspirations of the founding, including the central declaration that "all men are created equal."

American progress was never inevitable. It took immense courage to move haltingly to the more just, more fair country we live in today. We can't presume that progress is permanent. It never is. No one is more aware of that than America's most marginalized and vulnerable communities. They feel the effects very keenly when we take steps backward, when our commitment to our principles falters in the face of our own sin.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We'd like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here's our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

David French is an Opinion columnist. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a former constitutional litigator. His most recent book is "Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation." You can follow him on Threads (@davidfrenchjag).


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    8 months ago
The New Right rejects the norms and values of what it calls the uniparty or the cathedral: the center-left and center-right American elite. And one of those values is a steadfast opposition to racism and prejudice. The rejection first manifests itself in the form of just asking questions, then it veers into direct challenge of conventional norms, followed by a descent into true darkness.

Hostility unmoored from character quickly turns conspiratorial, and the world of conspiracy theories is where antisemites live and thrive. And finally, the term "America First," popular with the New Right and the older, Lindbergh right, has always been misleading. It actually means some Americans first or "real" Americans first, and "real" Americans do not include the ideological or religious enemies of the New Right.

It is no coincidence, for example, that after the Owens-Shapiro confrontation, many New Right figures began posting "Christ is king," an obvious shot at Shapiro's Jewish beliefs.
 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
2  Thrawn 31    8 months ago

It’s always been there, for the most part they have just been quiet about it, but a movement that counts actual Nazis and the KKK as it’s most hardcore supporters has antisemitism deep in its DNA.

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
2.1  bugsy  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2    8 months ago
has antisemitism deep in its DNA.

And as we have seen over the past 6 weeks, millions of democrats, especially those in blue cities and universities sat back and said "hold my beer".

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
2.1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  bugsy @2.1    8 months ago

Never said otherwise. The left has let me down as well. But the whataboutism betrays a bit of insecurity.

I will happily say fuck them all, I stand alone in my views and opinions, I ascribe to no group or movement. 

 
 
 
GregTx
Professor Guide
2.1.2  GregTx  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    8 months ago

Disappointment can be bitter, but I don't think you should confuse the over the top antisemitism expressed by so many progressives with whatabousim by anyone except maybe Nazis.....

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
Senior Quiet
3  Colour Me Free    8 months ago
A dam burst last week on the right, and a wave of grotesque antisemitism poured out all over the internet.

On the internet?  look at what is happening on the streets around the world!

Hostility unmoored from character quickly turns conspiratorial, and the world of conspiracy theories is where antisemites live and thrive.

Conspiracy indeed. 

I get that this is an opinion piece, but to say '.... and the world of conspiracy theories is where antisemites live and thrive' just seems wrong ..  antisemitism is at an all-time high worldwide, is it conspiratorial, are college professors teaching conspiracy theory? ... we are living in some scary times .. seems as though the world is burning - good thing the sky is not falling at the same time...?

And finally, the term "America First," popular with the New Right and the older, Lindbergh right, has always been misleading. It actually means some Americans first or "real" Americans first, and "real" Americans do not include the ideological or religious enemies of the New Right.

Supremacy groups twist the meaning of words, and adapt ancient symbols for their purpose, ruining things like the swastika forever.  America first means different things to different people as does the swastika to the India religion .. the right and left need to stop changing the usage/meanings of words to suit their purpose and improperly using words thus making their true meanings worthless.

This site is about as close to social media as I get ... and it can be hard to handle at times, I cannot imagine what it must be like on social media where algorithms rule the day!  Seems like a rather vicious world out there that is being fueled by social media.

Peace....

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Senior Expert
3.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Colour Me Free @3    8 months ago
I cannot imagine what it must be like on social media where algorithms rule the day! 

NT demographics seem to have a significant population of folks concerned about skin tags and hanging belly.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
Senior Quiet
3.1.1  Colour Me Free  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1    8 months ago

Perhaps true Drinker ... I had to walk away for a while ... seems I chose a volatile time to step back in!

I wish someone would tell me why everything is the blame game.  The facts are that Israel was attacked in a very violent way. They are now killing civilians [I believe unintentionally] as they seek out Hamas .. if the Arab/Muslim nations are so worried about a humanitarian crisis, why is Egypt not opening its border for the Palestinian people, like Europe did for the Syrian people? 

Colour me confused!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Senior Expert
3.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Colour Me Free @3.1.1    8 months ago
I wish someone would tell me why everything is the blame game. 

We are an increasingly binary population, I’m right therefore you’re wrong”.

Some of the hatred is antisemitism and some is based on ignorance.  Those demonstrating on campus and in our cities our quiet about the killing fields in Sudan, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Myanmar,…

Egypt doesn’t want to take risks with Hamas getting into their country.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
Senior Quiet
3.1.3  Colour Me Free  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.2    8 months ago
 I’m right therefore you’re wrong”.

I seem to recall a song that says, 'Nobody's right if everybody's wrong' .. seems like everything is coming down to group think, isn't that what we are seeing on campuses, it is all about the 'likes' - meanwhile their ignorance is showing.

Those demonstrating on campus and in our cities our quiet about the killing fields in Sudan, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Myanmar,…

Very true and they did not speak up when Syrians were being killed either..

Egypt doesn’t want to take risks with Hamas getting into their country.

Fair poiint .. I was not thinking along those lines.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
3.1.4  Right Down the Center  replied to  Colour Me Free @3.1.3    8 months ago
I seem to recall a song that says, 'Nobody's right if everybody's wrong'

Great song

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
Senior Quiet
3.1.5  Colour Me Free  replied to  Right Down the Center @3.1.4    8 months ago

One of my favorites... it is timeless!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Senior Expert
3.1.6  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Right Down the Center @3.1.4    8 months ago

Love that song.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.7  Kavika   replied to  Right Down the Center @3.1.4    8 months ago

As relevant today as it was in 1967.

 
 

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