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Jews - Friends of White Supremacy?

Years ago, I wrote actively on the potential rise of the Alternative Right - a political movement of well dressed hipster neo-Nazis who would present white supremacy in much more aesthetically pleasing ways (or at least ways we don't associate with Nazism). What I predicted not only came to be but came to be with a vengeance, with the frontrunner for the Republican Party actively speaking their language and flirting with them as he runs for president of the United States.

White supremacy is an odd animal. For something so ugly, it works with subtleties that one wouldn't initially expect.

While I was living in Seattle from January of 2015 to earlier this year, I lived with a landlord who was most certainly a closeted Nazi. He had books like The German Way of War in his room, along with various war artifacts. Most significantly, both his life and his household were filled with minorities.

Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, the full gamut of minorities graced his household, to the point that it actually struck me as strange, as if he did it on purpose. I realized with some serious disillusionment towards the end of my living with him that he kept a household of people he thought he was better than. The few flaws I had told him about he mentioned quite a bit, while imagining others that weren't there, and he played up the real flaws in everyone else living there extraneously - as if he just needed to reinforce his sense of superiority to himself.

It's as if nothing about our nature has changed in one hundred years and, with a little bit of variation on who the players are and where they are in the world, we are back at the same sort of conflict that usurped the world in the second world war. Human nature didn't change at all - but the place of the players has.

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While the enmity that neo-fascists have for Muslims and blacks is clearly very, very real, the hatred for Jews goes back millennia. Islam wasn't a thing and Arabs and blacks were largely supporting characters in the struggles of the Roman empire during its rise and decline.

When white nationalism took hold in the wake of World War One, Jews were a convenient group to blame. They were stateless outsiders in most of Europe and prominent Jews had been involved in creating communism and with the rise of it in the Soviet Union.

However, we are in a much different world now.

Political and racial ideology juxtapose with a group's place in the world and their interaction with it. Fascism and its need to express overt domination takes root amongst Europeans because Europe is a geographic and statistical minority - a tiny continent in the face of the world's majority of brown people. Through both fascism and colonialism, white supremacists often used non-white minorities in order to get what they needed out of various political situations. This happened throughout colonialism but showed its extreme face with Nazism, as Adolf Hitler courted Imperial Japan, the Arabs in Jerusalem and others who likely didn't match up to his ideas of racial superiority. White supremacy needs an enemy and people to use.

Jews, likewise, display an extreme paranoia because of their exiled role in the world, often being seen as an outsider in which problems were blamed on. Whereas Jews became the group by which the world's troubles were blamed on during WWII, they now are in a much different position now - one much like the non-white allies of Hitler. Despite his fondness among white supremacists, Donald Trump got big cheers in front of AIPAC. Vladimir Putin, a nationalist in his own right who would likely be Trump's biggest ally if he ever became president, has publicly urged Jews to "come to Russia." As Trump got huge cheers at AIPAC, one could only be puzzled as to what the crowd liked in him. Would they have cheered for David Duke as well?

Israel is a dependent country, not challenging the authority of the countries that loan out to it. An outsider often is either hostile and defiant when cornered or working to cultivate and protect its place when safe. Jews do not challenge the power of white supremacy and may, as bizarre as it is, now fit in it. In a world in which Islamic fanaticism is resurgent all over the world, Hispanic immigrants outpace the growth of any other demographic in the United States and the two term presidency of America's first black president comes to a close, Jews now are friends to white supremacy.

Just as many Jews joined in to conservatism, I would not be surprised if many join with resurgent white nationalism, forgetting and betraying the bloody past as they fall prey to fear. Even if I predicted its rise, I do not think white nationalism will succeed. It's an ideology bound to fail in its pure, raw form - but its distilled version can linger on. Jews who think they have a place in it are booking a room on a sinking ship.

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One friend of mine said that the climate we are in now as a society is more like the 1970s, when intolerance and chaos certainly were part of American life. I don't think that's true. I think the possibility for genocide - real genocide of the sort you saw in Europe - is real and could happen here in the United States. I don't know what it would look like - fascism is an unpredictable animal. An escalation of tensions between blacks or Muslims (or both, as they do intersect) and the larger society could erupt both here and in Europe. Racism and prejudice seems like an every day thing in American life now, whereas it was avoided by most only years ago. People seem to look for prejudice as opposed to just succumbing to it - hoping that it will provide some relief for their anxiety and fear.

I don't see why the sort of shameful bursts of fascism that have overcome almost every society at some point can't happen in the United States. In fact, that seems to be exactly what is happening in the United States. I encourage Jews, who have a historical lesson to learn about oppression that few others can, not to succumb to hate and fear. If they do, then perhaps being Jewish means little - just sharing a few meaningless cultural traits the way that blacks or Japanese or anyone does but no core cultural principles beyond the cultivation of power that all groups seek.

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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