Nicholas Harrington

The Rebirth of Antisemitism: New Time, Same Old Tropes

The far-right meme culture emboldened by the European anti-immigration sentiment has unearthed something old but no less brutal: antisemitism.

 

There are genuine reasons to prick up your ears and pay attention to what is going on in Europe as a disturbingly familiar line of reasoning rears its ugly head once more. Some say, “It can’t happen again. We’ve moved on. There’s nothing to worry about.” Be careful. Like a frog in cool water slowly coming to the boil, the temperature rises imperceptibly and the frothing begins when it’s too late to jump out.

There is a video online (which won’t be linked since providing a platform to these views carries the real risk of spreading them to new minds) that has gained over 10,000 views after just 24 hours. This 123-minute interview is distinctive because it illustrates that hardcore anti-Semites have found a way to smuggle their Jew-hating in the back door. They’ve found a way to tie it to Europe’s current crises.

The reason this is particularly worrisome (because of course antisemitism never really goes away completely) is that we now have a large section of the population that is predisposed to more radical, extreme, far-right views. Call them alt-right, call them red-pilled – the nomenclature isn’t important. Paul Joseph Watson says, “Conservatism is the new counter-culture,” and he’s right. To be antiestablishment is cool again. And, unfortunately, the left is the establishment which means the right is what’s cool. Be warned: a neo-antisemitism is being injected into this “new-right vein.” Given years of online ironic “Jew-hating” meme culture (propagated by pubescent dank teens) and an endless “boy who cried ‘Nazi’ barrage” from the mainstream media (thereby desensitizing society to the very thing they hope to stop), a new generation is susceptible to this virulent strain.

This framing of Jewish peoples as separate from the nation in which they reside is foundational to all antisemitic thought. Jews are once more being cast as “the other.” When this discourse gains currency, the pathway to genocide is well and truly greased.

What this video describes is the real deal. Not a joke. Not ironic “troll-the-media-fake-white-power-hand-signs-4chan” lolz. This discourse is proper antisemitic propaganda. It’s insidious, toxic, and extremely dangerous.

No one by now is unaware that mass immigration and multiculturalism writ large is blamed for all manner of social dysfunction currently experienced in Sweden, France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium. Far-right parties in these five states have a fine time blaming the breakdown of traditional social cohesion and the depressive alienation of modernity on immigrants. Particularly, Muslims.

But, did you know that behind all of this (“behind the curtain” was a phrase used in the video) is a cabal of sadistic, vampiric Jews? That is the argument being propagated. But, rest assured, the argument is sophisticated, detailed, employs spurious (yet seemingly credible) facts, and will absolutely find a receptive alt-right audience across the continent.

According to the Jew-haters, here is how the logic follows:

  1. There was a belief in the 1950s and 1960s that an effective way of ensuring that the horrors of the holocaust never reemerged was to ensure that Jews were never again the only minority in a nation, facing a large homogenous majority. Ergo, by creating a multicultural society, Jews would find themselves one of numerous minorities in a pluralist society thus diffusing both the threat against themselves and the dominating power of a hostile majority.
  1. Consequently, a campaign to change European attitudes towards immigration and social composition began.
  1. Articles were written, conferences hosted, lectures and curriculums designed advancing the proposition that pluralism, multiculturalism, openness, tolerance, and diversity were objective goods that would both enrich and pacify society.
  1. Some of the individuals responsible for these ideas, speeches, interviews, studies, essays, and ideas were Jewish.
  1. These ideas are therefore by origination “Jewish ideas.”
  1. Multiculturalism is, therefore, a Jewish conspiracy to “weaken” homogenous European states and make them more hospitable to (and for) Jews.

Listening to the YouTube video published on May 1st, 2017, reveals many of the same heinous claims that permeated German society in the 1920s and ’30s. The interviewer claims that, despite being well aware that Islamic migrants posed a “threat” to Jewish safety (apparently it is common knowledge that in Sweden, Jewish people can’t display their religious symbols for fear of having head coverings and other items pulled off by marauding gangs of Muslim youths), individual Jews won’t speak out about the danger posed by mass immigration from the Middle East. Why not? Well, apparently it is because this goes against the “instructions” of their rabbi and other Temple elders. And here is the most disturbing historical parallel within the discussion. The interviewee says, “Why are they more aligned to their leaders than to Sweden?” before she adds (in a disingenuous manner), “I had always thought Jews were loyal to Sweden, not separate from us.”

This framing of Jewish peoples as separate from the nation in which they reside is foundational to all antisemitic thought. This is what made the video so shocking. Jews are once more being cast as “the other”: inside, but separate. Enjoying the benefits of the society, but never loyal, never true countrymen. It shouldn’t need emphasizing that when this discourse gains currency, the pathway to genocide is well and truly greased.

Other moments in the video revived themes of “look at them all in positions in the government, look at the way they run the media.” The video even refers to a 21st century “Protocols of Zion.” These anti-Semites claim they have unearthed a secret discussion where a Jewish activist asserts that the “Jews are going to be at the center of (multiculturalism) … it’s a huge transformation … Jews will be resented because of our leading role.”


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At this very moment, there is good reason to be concerned. It’s one thing to link economic distress to immigration. This happens during every recession. It’s a hackneyed reactionary technique which at worst results in a decline in foreign admissions or perhaps harsh right-wing rhetoric. However, when a grand conspiratorial link is made, the time for complacency is over.

We find ourselves, at this very moment, in a time when an individual whose political positions are considered subversive can be casually identified as “a Jew” … as though this is simply additional information to enrich the understanding. The real concern is that the kindling has all been placed. Brexit, Trump, nationalism, poor economic conditions, fear of the other, and an Internet subculture that has been “playing with fire” for keks are a flammable mix being threatened with an evil flame.

This discourse, this narrative, cannot be allowed to spread. Action must be taken to shut these sources down – sources that talk openly about a “destructive Jewish conspiracy” or “enemies of the states within our midst.” Otherwise (and this is said without hyperbole), in twelve months’ time Europe may find itself dealing once again with the hateful bigotry that birthed one of humanity’s greatest stains.

 

 

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