The New Anti-Semitism

Actually the new anti-Semitism isn’t that “new” (as will be shown below), but it does reflect a change in the direction of anti-Jewish paranoia over the last twenty-five years.

In the decades just after World War II, animosity towards Jews was typically confined to racialist neo-Nazi organizations. Amongst neo-fascists, of the Italian variety, anti-Semitism was less pronounced or simply non-existent. After all, Mussolini’s original Fascist Party allowed Jewish members and had no racial program until 1938, when it came under the ideological pressure of its new ally Nazi Germany. Even then, anti-Jewish measures were relatively lenient (when compared to Hitler’s program). Part of this was because Jews were a small and highly assimilated minority in Italian society.

But a new synthesis of radical nationalism emerged in the 1980s. Anti-Semitism took a slightly different turn. It became less markedly “racialist,” but it was also more widespread. One reason for this change was that anti-Semitism was sold as “anti-Zionism” and opposition to Israel in conjunction with attacks on “capitalism” and America (which was seen as a multi-cultural cesspool as dangerous as, or more so, than Soviet Russia).

Contemporary hostility towards Jews can therefore be seen as part of a broader “anti-liberal” (anti-Western) crusade with roots in a gnostic “traditionalism”. This anti-Jewish view is less the product of social Darwinian theories than it is of an apocalyptic political mentality. Jew-haters can be found across the racial spectrum. Even among white anti-Semites and Hitler-admirers there are people who are not your typical racialists. In the Holocaust revisionist camp, Ted O’Keefe—who writes admiring studies of the Nazi Waffen SS—is (or was) in a long-standing relationship with a Japanese woman. Bradley Smith, organizer of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), has a Mexican wife. John Sharpe (leader of the Legion of St. Louis) is married to a Lebanese woman.

While these attitudes might seem less malevolent than “Aryan” race worship, it is in some ways more insidious. For one thing it allows people like John Sharpe or E. Michael Jones to deflect criticism by saying that they aren’t “anti-Semitic,” as if racial standards were the only determining factor. An excellent response to this rhetorical sidestepping is found on Christopher Blosser’s Against the Grain entry for January 19, 2007. The relevant point is made in his comments about the religious anti-Semitism of Fr. Dennis Fahey

A common strategy of those who intellectually flirt with (or worse, embrace) the ideological right is to confine the definition of anti-semitism to a purely racial hatred of the Jewish people, so as to excuse or explain away any other form of animosity toward the Jewish people…. Unfortunately, Fahey’s restricted definition of anti-semitism didn’t prohibit him from indulging in fantasies of Judeo-Masonic conspiracies so off the wall that Hillaire Belloc was moved to say “The thing is nonsense on the face of it.”

Yet another way of understanding the apparent contradictions of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism is to recall that even Hitler’s Germany was far from consistent in its race policies. Berlin was not only allied with the Asians of Japan, but it allowed the recruitment of Crimean Tatars (also Asians) into its armed forced in the war in Russia. Even its anti-Slavism was selective. German Nazis persecuted Poles and Russians, but allied themselves with Slovaks, Croatians and Ukrainians. Ultimately, claims about racial purity are belied by animosities which are driven more by political and cultural factors than purely biological ones. This was certainly the case in Hitler’s support for Muslim and Arab nationalists, which has come to light since the publication of Der Mufti von Jerusalem und die Nationalsozialisten (“The Mufti and the Holocaust”) by Klaus Gensicke (see book review in Policy Review). When the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was first received by Hitler in Berlin (where he would take up residence for the remainder of the war), the Nazi leader assured him that “the sole German aim will be the destruction of the Jews living in the Arab space under the protection of British power.” Arabs were racially as Semitic as Jews but their cultural and political position was totally different.

Nazi racial views boiled down to an irrational prejudice rather than a “scientific” worldview. Of course, Hitler looked with disdain on non-white Arabs, but during the war he was willing to modify his bigotry to suit wartime ambitions. Likewise we see that since the first Gulf War of 1991, anti-Semites and Hitlerites sought alliances with the Muslim world. They praised the late Saddam Hussein and now support Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (for his anti-Israeli diatribes and promotion of Holocaust revisionism).

This is not to say that racism isn’t a problem. The hatred of any racial or ethnic group is an attempt to “simplify” some deep-seated social problem. And plenty of racially-motivated anti-Semites are still around. In fact a lot of them are to be found at events attended by people like Jones and Sharpe who, even as they publicly disavow racism, are nevertheless willing to join with old-fashioned bigots in “common cause” against the perceived global threat of the Jews.

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