Many are calling for the resignation of long-time Trump advisor Stephen Miller now that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has definitively confirmed what most already knew: He’s a white nationalist. A former Breitbart reporter leaked emails showing how he encouraged the outlet to write several anti-immigrant stories. Many of these exchanges referenced reports that original appeared on white nationalist websites like VDARE and American Renaissance (AmRen). He also name-dropped the racist French novel Camp of the Saints, considered a classic in the white nationalist circles on par with other race war porn like The Turner Diaries.
This isn’t the first time the accusation has be leveled against Miller. Journalists in the past have pointed out Miller’s coy use of dogwhistles, such as statements about Emma Lazarus’ famous poem on the Statue of Liberty, which echoed a popular white nationalist meme. Alt-right media and forums celebrated Miller’s comments. A headline on Occidental Dissent read “(((Stephen Miller))) Goes Full Fash On Lying Media Snakes, Sends Jews Into Rabid Rage.”
Miller’s defenders frequently use the fact that he is Jewish as a shield.
It’s true that the alt-right, for the most part, holds anti-Semitic beliefs consistent with other earlier manifestations of white nationalism, such as Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
Anti-Semitism is also one of the few bright lines dividing the alt-right from the so-called alt-lite. For example, fans of Neo-Nazi podcaster Nick Fuentes have been turning out en masse to disrupt events put on by the libertarian college astroturf group Turning Point USA, highlighting the importance of the “JQ” (Jewish Question) in drawing the battle lines between the two sides of the broader far-right.
During Q&A sessions, attendees have trolled TPUSA speakers, including Dan Crenshaw and Donald Trump, Jr., with questions referencing popular anti-Semitic conspiracies, like the USS Liberty bombing and the canard of Israelis dancing during the Sept. 11 attacks.
However, while antisemitism is pervasive among the alt-right, that doesn’t necessarily preclude Jews from aligning themselves with white nationalism. Miller is hardly the first. In fact, Jewish paleoconservative and H.L. Mencken Club President Paul Gottfried coined the term “alternative right,” though he has since tried to distance himself from the movement.
As the SPLC report pointed out, Miller is an avid reader of AmRen. Helmed by the Yale-educated Jared Taylor, AmRen is synonymous with a brand of racist respectability politics oriented toward the academic set. It’s also notable for being one of the few white nationalist outfits that accepts Jews into its ranks.
Taylor takes the position that Jews are white and that they are natural allies in the fight against immigration from majority-Muslim nations and other non-white countries. In an interview with the Jewish publication Forward, Taylor said that Jews were necessary to achieve AmRen’s policy goals, calling them the “conscience of our society.” (Still, his statements betray a belief that Jews are a powerful subterranean force in US politics, which is one of the oldest and most pernicious antisemitic tropes.)
Jewish astrophysicist Michael Hart has attended the annual AmRen conference regularly since the 1990s. He has argued that Jews and whites should have solidarity on the basis of European ancestry and “Judeo-Christian values.”
Up until very recently, he advocated breaking up America into racially homogenous states in a white separatist scheme akin to the neo-Nazi Butler Plan. He has since moderated this view somewhat and now only advocates a partition along political lines (Interestingly, this idea has been floated—both jokingly and not— by mainstream liberals, as well).
Hart’s involvement with AmRen, which also includes hardline neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, has made for some strange bedfellows. In 2006, he stormed out of the annual conference during a speech by former Klansmen cum Lousiana politician David Duke in which Duke said “There is a power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and spirit.”
Hart stood up and angrily denounced Duke: “You fucking Nazi, you’ve disgraced this meeting!”
As Forward notes, only about 5 percent of the 300 attendees to its 2006 conference were Jewish. Though there’s not a more recent estimate, it’s safe to assume that Jewish involvement in the organization continues to be negligible.
Still, another Jewish member has been pivotal in AmRen’s mission of promoting racist pseudoscience, which it refers to as “race realism.” Philosophy professor Michael Levin acts as AmRen’s in-house expert on race and IQ. Levin draws on the junk science financed by a neo-eugenics foundation known as the Pioneer Fund to intellectualize garden variety racism with statements like “on average, blacks are less concerned than whites about the golden rule.”
AmRen’s fetish for IQ probably explains its willingness to accept Jews better than light skin or shared values. Its archives are full of stories about the supposedly high Jewish “phenotypical IQ.”
Most recently, Dov Bechhofer, a Jewish doctor in New York City, was outed as a fan of Jared Taylor and a secret columnist for Counter-Currents, a white nationalist site.
Bechhofer apparently went far beyond Hart’s white separatism and Levin’s “race realism” into full-on Nazi territory. One of his posts was titled “A Jewish Defense of Anti-Semitism.”
The existence of a Jewish Nazi is surprisingly not unprecedented, either. Infamous neo-Nazi troll and co-creator of the Daily Stormer Andrew ‘weev’ Auernheimer has Jewish family members on both sides.
Frank Collin, a prominent leader in the American Nazi Party, was the son of a Holocaust survivor. He led the infamous march through Skokie, a predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb, that provoked a landmark Supreme Court free speech case.
While Jews exist on the far-right, they’re nonetheless extraordinarily rare. Historically, Jews have on average been liberal or leftwing because a shared experience of persecution tends to engender a sense of social justice. Jews were far better represented in the American civil rights movement or the fight against apartheid than they ever were in any white nationalist movement.
Nevertheless, Jews can sometimes come to white nationalism by way of movements politically adjacent to the racist far right, such as paleoconservatism. Michael Levin, for example, was active in a fringe group of racist libertarians associated with the Mises Institute, founded by Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard. Alternatively, they can be drawn by simple and plain racism against blacks or other non-white minorities.
At the end of the day, the existence of Jewish white nationalists speaks to the adaptability of white supremacy as a system and how it has been able to endure for so long. The definition of whiteness has expanded constantly over the course of American history to include groups that were once not considered white, such as Italians, Poles and the Irish.
Can fascism be multiracial?
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Increasingly, lighter-skinned and more assimilated Hispanics are being brought into the fold. Despite Trump’s vilification of Mexicans as “rapists” and his incessant demonization of immigrants from Latin American countries, he managed to capture close to 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2016 and maintains some fervent Latino supporters.
As an identity, whiteness is defined not by who you are but rather who you aren’t.