Monday, November 07, 2022

How many of these far-Right Republican figures have dabbled in antisemitism?

Haaretz has two articles about extremism in today's Republican party, and many of the examples include what they claim is antisemitism. 

Armed with my definition of antisemitism, do their examples fit the bill?

Law professor David Schraub says that the GOP is now as antisemitic as Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party was. Let's look at what he says.

After years of largely futile efforts by Jews to raise the alarm bells on ascendant antisemitism in the GOP, 2022 finally has made the problem too obvious to ignore. Republican candidates up and down the ballot are cavorting with open white supremacists, attacking their opponents for sending their kids to Jewish schools and eagerly elevating the conspiratorial Jew-baiting of celebrities like Kanye West.
My definition is precise, so I need precise examples. I am unaware of any candidate attacking opponents for sending kids to Jewish schools, for example, but the specific language would be important - i.e., if the point was attacking their record on public schools  but having nothing to do with the "Jewish" part of the schools they sent their kids to.

The only link given to a specific event is here:
The faux-populist rage at “globalists” and cosmopolitan “elites,” at what one far-right judge sneeringly dubbed “the Goldman rule”– that is, "the guys with the gold get to make the rules" – would be perfectly at home in the Corbynist social media milieu.
He points to a concurring opinion in a legal case by circuit judge James Ho, who quotes "The Goldman Rule:" "He who has the gold makes the rules."

That really sounds antisemitic. But Judge Ho includes a source for this "rule," and it comes from the book "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam" by Vivek Ramaswamy, about an unwritten rule at Goldman Sachs that the employees would joke about. It has nothing to do with Jews - it has everything to do with corruption at Goldman Sachs.

Now, Judge Ho was tone deaf to mention this without further context, and it opened him up to the appearance of antisemitism. It was stupid. But antisemitism is malicious, and when you follow the source, there is no indication of malice; it was tone deaf in the sense that Ho did not seem to recognize that without context, Goldman was not referring to a generic Jew. 

The cases where apparent stupidity cross the line into antisemitism is when the person saying the statement is either knowingly engaging in antisemitic dog whistling, or when any normal person would recognize that the trope is antisemitic. Such is one case in the other article, by Ben Samuels, "Meet 10 of the Most Extreme Republicans Running for Congress." 

I am certainly not trying to promote these candidates' nutty opinions, many of which include QAnon conspiracy theories. Conspiracy  theorists very often fall into antisemitic tropes. I just want to look at the specific examples of antisemitism given and determine if, indeed, they are.

One of those Republican candidates in the article is Marjorie Taylor-Greene, whose most famous episode is when she claimed the Rothschild family worked with a California utility to redirect the sun's rays to start wildfires to clear land for a rail project. The conspiracy theory is insane enough but adding the Rothschilds makes it cross the line into antisemitism. The article also mentions that she, like many far-Right figures, promotes conspiracy theories about George Soros - and without specifically mentioning his Jewishness, I am reluctant to consider those inherently antisemitic (as my linked article on the topic notes.) Yet the clearest evidence of her antisemitic attitudes comes from her promoting a video in 2018 that said “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation.”

The article says that Rep. Lauren Boebert "notably asked a group of kippa-wearing visitors at a U.S. Capitol building last January if they were doing 'reconnaissance.'" Again, at first glance, this appears to be a clear example of antisemitism. But a little research shows that this is a case of being clueless rather than antisemitic - Boebert had been accused a year earlier of bringing groups of people to the Capitol to engage in "reconnaissance" ahead of the January 6 riots. She was making fun of herself, and assumed (like most political blowhards) that everyone, especially religious Jews who generally lean Republican,  follows her life obsessively and would get the joke. 

Again, tone deaf and stupid, but not antisemitic in itself. 

Candidate J.R. Majewski is not specifically quoted on antisemitism in the article, but it does quote him as referring to himself as a "superfan of Gab," the social network that hosts many white supremacists and antisemites. It seems highly unlikely that someone who is a fan of Gab is unaware of the antisemitism on the platform. You might argue that Twitter also is filled with antisemitism, but who refers to themselves as a superfan of Twitter? This, to me, strongly indicates that at the very least, Majewski is tolerant of antisemitism. 

The article notes that  in 2016, candidate John Gibbs defended an antisemitic Twitter account that regularly promoted Nazi-era propaganda. That account, "Ricky Vaughn," was a cesspool of antisemitism and racism; there is no way to defend that account without defending antisemitism. 

Republican candidate from Texas Johnny Teague leaves little doubt:

[Teague has] written a novel fictionalizing Anne Frank’s final days, in which he writes that she embraced Christianity just before being murdered by the Nazis. As reported by JTA, the book continues Frank’s diary entries, where she aimed to learn more about Jesus by trying to obtain a copy of the New Testament, reciting palms and expressing sympathy for Jesus’ plight. His version of Frank writes: “Every Jewish man or woman should ask questions like ‘Where is the Messiah? … Did He come already, and we didn’t recognize Him?’”   
This is incredibly offensive and antisemitic, effectively saying that Jews who do not accept Christianity are wrong.  

Two other candidates that engage in George Soros conspiracy theories - Jo Rae Perkins and Mike Cargile - also engage in other truly nutty conspiracy theories. Cargile also has been linked to white supremacists, which would indicate that his Soros theories include a Jewish component that would make them antisemitic, Perkins is obsessed with QAnon which as far as I know has not trafficked in antisemitism, so she appears to just be an idiot. 

I am generally of the opinion that if accusations of antisemitism must include mind-reading, without any other evidence, we should err on the side of caution. I say this knowing that some antisemites will consciously hide their hate for Jews, or wink at that hate with dog-whistles (I don't see evidence of that in these cases except for MJT.) There is also the strong possibility that some of these candidates have said other things not mentioned in this article that could add the context that would tip their ambiguous statements into full blown Jew-hate.

Yet even with that caution, too many of these candidates appear to fall on the antisemitic side of the fence. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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