From the right and from the left

August 22, 2017

American pop star Billy Joel, who is Jewish, wears a yellow Star of David during his concert at Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday evening, in protest at a perceived rise in American anti-Semitism.

While some welcomed this gesture, others accused Joel of politicizing anti-Semitism: a screen Joel put up at his concert flashed pictures of fired White House staffers Stephen Bannon, Sean Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci to the despair of those who argued that none of these individuals are anti-Semitic, and pointed out that Scaramucci’s two children by his second wife are Jewish.

 



An increasingly popular T-Shirt in America

 



A ten-year study published in June 2017 at the University of Oslo in Norway, supported by The Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, revealed that in most European countries anti-Semitic threats were coming primarily from Islamists and from the Far Left.

http://www.hlsenteret.no/publikasjoner/digitale-hefter/antisemittisk-vold-i-europa_engelsk_endelig-versjon.pdf

 

FROM THE RIGHT AND FROM THE LEFT

[Note by Tom Gross]

As readers may know from my various articles over the years on the Holocaust, Nazis and neo-Nazis, there is no group that I believe are more repellent than right-wing fascists. President Trump was wrong not immediately to condemn in an unambiguous way the 200 or so ultra right-wing white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville 10 days ago.

But I have also long campaigned against the hateful human rights abuses in left-wing regimes from North Korea to Venezuela, and in addition have pointed out the anti-Semitism of leftists in many countries, including some in America. On this dispatch list I have also highlighted far-left rallies in Europe in recent years where placards showing Stars of David turned into swastikas have been on display.

Below, I attach three articles in left-leaning publications (The Forward, Haaretz and The Atlantic) from recent days, noting the dangers of left-wing anti-Semitism.

Indeed many of the threats against American Jewish institutions made earlier this year, wrongly attributed to Trump supporters, were carried out by a left-wing journalist (Juan Thompson), and a deranged self-hating Jew.

(There are two further articles after these three pieces. There are short extracts first for those who don’t have time to read the full articles which follow. The authors of the pieces in Haaretz and The Atlantic, Anshel Pfeffer and Peter Beinart, are subscribers to this dispatch list.)

 



Moderate British Labour MP Luciana Berger (who is a friend and a subscriber to this list) is one of the Jewish MPs in Britain who have complained that they are anti-Semitic attack by the radical left of their own party.

 

CONTENTS

1. “Why Anti-Semitism On The Left Is More Dangerous Than Anti-Semitism On The Right” (By Benyamin Moalem, The Forward, Aug.21, 2017)
2. “Who Will Fight the Racist Right? Don’t Look to the Hard Left” (By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz, Aug. 15, 2017)
3. “The Rise of the Violent Left” (By Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, September 2017)
4. “Why can’t tech firms shut down terrorists as fast as they do Nazis?” (New York Post Editorial, Aug. 21, 2017)
5. “New York Times Blames the Jews for Donald Trump” (By Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Aug. 21, 2017)

 

ARTICLE EXTRACTS

“HIDE THEIR RACISM BEHIND THE FIG LEAF OF PROGRESSIVE IDEALS”

From The Forward:

For left wing racists are no less anti-Semitic than the despicable individuals who marched in the August 12 rally. Those who couch or color their anti-Semitism are no less culpable than those who publicly express their racist views (as is their right), even if those on the left manage to successfully hide their racism behind the fig leaf of one form of progressive ideal or another.

 

SHARING THE SAME METHODS AND ATTITUDES

From Haaretz:

The far left’s presumption to be the only true opponent of the far right hides the fact it share the same methods and attitudes to the media and democracy

They hate the police and the government. Put no trust in the mainstream media or the financial system. They’re in favor of limiting freedom of speech, outlawing what’s “dangerous” or “offensive.” They condone political violence (though they call it “protecting the community” or “direct action”).

On foreign policy, they are fans of Vladimir Putin, Assad’s regime and Iran. Generally, they’re fine with most dictators. They oppose free trade agreements, abhor NATO and if they’re European, the European Union as well. If they’re American, they didn’t vote for “corrupt” and “warmongering” Hillary Clinton.

Oh, and they don’t like most Jews (for whom they usually use labels like “Zionists,” “globalists,” “Soros financiers” and “Rothschild bankers” instead), and will accuse them of overusing the Holocaust for their own interests…

The far left’s presumption to be the only true opponents of the far right covers up the fact that it shares the same methods and attitudes to the media and democracy, believes in the same conspiracy theories.

 

CELEBRATING VIOLENCE

From The Atlantic (Peter Beinart):

On Inauguration Day, a masked activist punched a white-supremacist leader. In February, protesters violently disrupted UC Berkeley’s plans to host a speech by a former Breitbart.com editor. In March, protesters pushed and shoved the controversial conservative political scientist Charles Murray when he spoke at Middlebury College, in Vermont… These activists appear to be linked to a movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action. The movement’s secrecy makes definitively cataloging its activities difficult, but this much is certain: Antifa’s power is growing. And how the rest of the activist left responds will help define its moral character in the Trump age…

Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”

The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators – at least some of whom were associated with antifa – punched people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.” …

In Sacramento at an Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento counterdemonstration, at least 10 people were stabbed… All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech…

Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.

 

“THERE’S NO ROOM FOR HATE IN A PLACE WHERE YOU’RE LOOKING FOR LOVE”

From The New York Post:

After the violence in Charlottesville, some tech firms and social-media sites were quick to ban white supremacists – far quicker than they were when it came to scrubbing radical Islamic terrorists.

GoDaddy, Google and even Russian Internet officials booted the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white-supremacist Web site, after it published a despicable derogatory story about the woman killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville…

Even OkCupid, a dating site owned by Match.com, banned white supremacist Chris Cantwell for life for joining that rally.

“There’s no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love,” tweeted the folks at OkCupid.

Yet the tech companies haven’t treated all “objectionable” sites equally, doing little if anything was done to shut down online violence-spouting left-wing extremists, such as the antifa thugs…

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND BREITBART

From The Algemeiner:

When a New York Times column blaming right-wing Jews for Trump generates a reader comment with 410 upvotes and a gold ribbon “NYT pick”, some people might start suspecting the Times itself of engaging in Breitbart-style reader-comment opportunism.

 

* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia


ARTICLES

WHY ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE LEFT IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE RIGHT

Why Anti-Semitism On The Left Is More Dangerous Than Anti-Semitism On The Right
By Benyamin Moalem
The Forward
August 21, 2017

http://forward.com/opinion/380573/why-anti-semitism-on-the-left-is-more-dangerous-than-anti-semitism-on-the-r/

Much ink has been spilled over the past week about president Donald Trump’s failure to adequately condemn white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA, and rightfully so. As Stephen Colbert so eloquently put it, how could the president “shank a softball like that so hard?” The car ramming attack in Charlottesville was no less a terror attack than any “radical Islamic” attack the president would not have hesitated to forcefully condemn. Instead, in this case, he called out the violence on “both sides.”

So, let’s talk about the other side. I’m not quite sure who the President was referring to when he referred to the “other side” in his condemnation, seeing as only one side produced a murderer who drove a car into a crowd of innocent people and only one side instigated a riot by holding a rally for Nazis. But there actually is another side to the ugly face of racism in this country, and it’s that other side I want to address.

For left wing racists are no less anti-Semitic than the despicable individuals who marched in the August 12 rally. Those who couch or color their anti-Semitism are no less culpable than those who publicly express their racist views (as is their right), even if those on the left manage to successfully hide their racism behind the fig leaf of one form of progressive ideal or another.

Take for example the Chicago Dyke Walk, who famously expelled individuals from its march for waving gay flags emblazoned with a Jewish star, a star that was a universal symbol of Judaism long before the rise of modern Zionism. Many on the (extreme) left were either quick to defend the actions of the Chicago Slut March or, at the very least, tolerated it. While the question of which views are considered “legitimate” in a free society is beyond the scope of this article, the exclusion of individuals or groups based on their religious beliefs or nationality is textbook racism.

How are the acts of the Chicago Dyke Walk any different than the actions of the White Nationalists in Virginia? While the organizers Chicago Slut March did not use the imagery of the alt right marchers in Charlottesville, their actions were no less anti-Semitic.

Likewise, why hasn’t Roger Waters been widely condemned for his overt displays of anti-Semitism? How can we “enlightened progressives” expect the President to condemn a group of tiki torch wielding mobs wearing quasi Nazi uniforms (as we should), but have no qualms when Roger Waters fills up stadiums wearing a similar Nazi-looking uniform and floats a balloon in the shape of a pig with an image of a Jewish star alongside a swastika on it? Is Waters’ uniform any less Nazi looking? How is the caricature of a Jewish star alongside a swastika on an inflated pig (widely known to be an “unclean” animal in Jewish tradition) not anti-Semitic imagery? Why is Roger Waters’ anti-Semitism ok?

At college campuses across America, ostensibly liberal groups are excluding Jewish students and Jewish students are increasingly feeling threatened. A recent study by Tel Aviv University researchers found that while violent attacks against Jews has dropped in the last ten years, college campuses in the U.S. have become a “hotbed of anti-Semitism.” Hiding behind the mantra of “anti-Zionism” while attempting to support their position by stating that they feel “unsafe,” these self-styled liberals are getting away with covert and even overt anti-Semitism and, unlike the racists in Charlottesville, their words and actions are becoming increasingly acceptable.

In America today, we’ve come full circle: The number one enemy of the Nazis is the same enemy as some of those standing on the opposite extreme of the political spectrum.

But left wing anti-Semitism is even more dangerous than its Nazi counterpart in some respects, for the simple fact that while Nazis are considered beyond the pale of what is accepted by civil society, left wing anti-Semitism is increasingly considered “legitimate” because it can hide behind widely accepted liberal ideas like anti-Zionism, for example.

According to Jewish law, for an animal to be kosher, it must have split hooves and chew its cud. The Midrash expounds on this and teaches that the pig symbolizes deceit because when it lies down and extends its feet it shows the passerby its split hooves as if to say, “I’m kosher,” when it is not because it does not chew its cud. Because Nazis and white supremacists are not ashamed to say they hate Jews (and black people and anyone else not deemed “white enough”), they at least do us the favor of letting us know they are the enemy. By contrast, the left-wing racists profess tolerance and acceptance and pay lip service to political correctness when in fact, they are no different than those who marched in Charlottesville.

While we should be careful not to quickly label those we disagree with as anti-Semitic, as a society, we must do a better job of rooting out racists who attempt to fool us with their otherwise progressive views. It is time we make it clear that all forms of anti-Semitism are unacceptable, instead of conveniently ignoring the anti-Semitism of those we may be otherwise closer aligned with ideologically. Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism no matter what form it takes.

 

WHO WILL FIGHT THE RACIST RIGHT? DON’T LOOK TO THE HARD LEFT

Who Will Fight the Racist Right? Don’t Look to the Hard Left
By Anshel Pfeffer
Haaretz
August 15, 2017

The far left’s presumption to be the only true opponent of the far right hides the fact it share the same methods and attitudes to the media and democracy

They hate the police and the government. Put no trust in the mainstream media or the financial system. They’re in favor of limiting freedom of speech, outlawing what’s “dangerous” or “offensive.” They condone political violence (though they call it “protecting the community” or “direct action”).

On foreign policy, they are fans of Vladimir Putin, Assad’s regime and Iran. Generally, they’re fine with most dictators. They oppose free trade agreements, abhor NATO and if they’re European, the European Union as well. If they’re American, they didn’t vote for “corrupt” and “warmongering” Hillary Clinton.

Oh, and they don’t like most Jews (for whom they usually use labels like “Zionists,” “globalists,” “Soros financiers” and “Rothschild bankers” instead), and will accuse them of overusing the Holocaust for their own interests.

All of the above applies to those on the far, or “alt-right,” American white supremacists and European neo-fascists. All of it applies equally to those in the West’s far, or radical, left – even though it describes itself as anti-fascist.

On Saturday U.S. President Donald Trump shamefully refused to single out for condemnation the violent supremacists who wreaked havoc and murdered a counter-protester in Charlottesville, blaming instead “many sides.” But the justified criticism of Trump shouldn’t obscure the fact that the racists on the right are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from their ostensible rivals on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The far left’s presumption to be the only true opponents of the far right covers up the fact that it shares the same methods and attitudes to the media and democracy, believes in the same conspiracy theories. Both sides dismiss the accumulating evidence against Trump and his collusion with the Kremlin as lies fabricated by the “deep state” and trumpeted by the fake-news MSM.

For those following British politics, Trump’s condemnation Saturday of “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides” was eerily reminiscent of an interview a week earlier with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, in which he refused to denounce the violent crackdown on democracy in Venezuela. Corbyn would say only that “what I condemn is the violence that has been done by any side, by all sides.”

A life-long admirer of left-wing Latin American dictatorships who has called for Britain to adopt Chavez-style socialism, Corbyn couldn’t bring himself to criticize Chavez’s successor for cancelling democracy in Venezuela any more than Trump could single out his “alt-right” supporters for mowing down protesters in Charlottesville. The two men may be very different in their personalities and beliefs, but their political mindsets are all too similar.

The far left rushed to dismiss the “horseshoe” theory, which holds that it is much closer to the far right than to the center, when it came into vogue in the early 21st century. The fact that both reject neo-liberal globalization was only a superficial similarity, they claimed. But when actually put to the test, the far left consistently refuses to cooperate with centrists against the far right.

That was the case last year in the United States, when figures such as Green Party candidate Jill Stein described Hillary Clinton’s policies as “much scarier than Donald Trump’s, who does not want to go to war with Russia.” And it is the case now in Britain where Corbyn is joining the xenophobic far right in support of a “hard Brexit,” in which Britain will not only leave the EU but also the European common market entirely.

And it was the case earlier this year in the second round of the French presidential elections, forced to choose between the centrist Emmanuel Macron and neo-fascist Marine Le Pen, the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon refused to call upon his supporters to vote for Macron. Melenchon and Le Pen share a surprising amount of domestic and foreign policy positions. Last month, he even echoed her stance on the Holocaust, criticizing President Macron for accepting the French Republic’s responsibility for the deportation of Jews to death camps during the German occupation.

This is not so surprising, considering that the far left, once a bastion of Jewish activists, is now similar in its anti-Semitism to those it claims to fight. Both the extreme right and the extreme left view the Jewish people today as a shadowy network of lobbies and cabals, working to dispossess those who don’t belong to the chosen people.

On both sides, the hatred toward Jews has been modified somewhat. On the far right, there are a few “acceptable” Jews, who subscribe to ultra-nationalist and anti-Muslim Breitbart-style nativism and serve as links to the far right in Israel, giving them a warped legitimacy. On the ultra left, anti-Israel Jews who have renounced their privilege to the Palestinians’ land are okay. Like anti-State of Israel Neturei Karta rabbis at the Al-Quds Day rallies organized and funded by Iran.

Anyway, racism isn’t what it used to be. Neo-Nazi leaders like David Duke and Nick Griffin, the former leader of the British National Party, hate Muslims when they arrive in the West, but are happy to travel to Muslim countries like Iran and Syria, where they are feted by local leaders. The same hypocrisy is prevalent on the far left, which practices an unrelenting version of human rights ultra-orthodoxy at home but are happy to overlook homophobia, misogyny and racism in any dictatorship abroad, as long as the dictator is “anti-imperialist.”

The far right is more reprehensible as their motives are bigotry and racism and their violence is directed against minorities and their places of worship.

The far left sticks up for some of those minorities, at least when they are victims, or perceived to be victims of Western white hegemony. Its “direct action” violence is aimed at the police and symbols of capitalism, capable of defending themselves. But all too often, the far left emerges as an enabler of the far right, as happened last year when it helped elect Trump and made common cause for Brexit.

Those on the far left won’t be the ones to beat Trump and the “alt-right” in America or the neo-fascists in Europe. They can’t help themselves: they have too much in common.

 

THE RISE OF THE VIOLENT LEFT

The Rise of the Violent Left
Antifa’s activists say they’re battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead?
By Peter Beinart
The Atlantic
September 2017 Issue

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/

Since 1907, Portland, Oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.

In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”

Next, the parade’s organizers received an anonymous email warning that if “Trump supporters” and others who promote “hateful rhetoric” marched, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push those people out.” When Portland police said they lacked the resources to provide adequate security, the organizers canceled the parade. It was a sign of things to come.

For progressives, Donald Trump is not just another Republican president. Seventy-six percent of Democrats, according to a Suffolk poll from last September, consider him a racist. Last March, according to a YouGov survey, 71 percent of Democrats agreed that his campaign contained “fascist undertones.” All of which raises a question that is likely to bedevil progressives for years to come: If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?

In Washington, D.C., the response to that question centers on how members of Congress can oppose Trump’s agenda, on how Democrats can retake the House of Representatives, and on how and when to push for impeachment. But in the country at large, some militant leftists are offering a very different answer. On Inauguration Day, a masked activist punched the white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer. In February, protesters violently disrupted UC Berkeley’s plans to host a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart.com editor. In March, protesters pushed and shoved the controversial conservative political scientist Charles Murray when he spoke at Middlebury College, in Vermont.

As far-flung as these incidents were, they have something crucial in common. Like the organizations that opposed the Multnomah County Republican Party’s participation in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, these activists appear to be linked to a movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action. The movement’s secrecy makes definitively cataloging its activities difficult, but this much is certain: Antifa’s power is growing. And how the rest of the activist left responds will help define its moral character in the Trump age.

Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ‘30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ‘70s and ‘80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.

In the late ‘80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ‘90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl.

Antifa’s violent tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left.
By the 2000s, as the internet facilitated more transatlantic dialogue, some American activists had adopted the name antifa. But even on the militant left, the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.

Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”

Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.

Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”

The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators – at least some of whom were associated with antifa – punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.”

Antifascists call such actions defensive. Hate speech against vulnerable minorities, they argue, leads to violence against vulnerable minorities. But Trump supporters and white nationalists see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their right to freely assemble, which they in turn seek to reassert. The result is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s. A few weeks after the attacks in San Jose, for instance, a white-supremacist leader announced that he would host a march in Sacramento to protest the attacks at Trump rallies. Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento called for a counterdemonstration; in the end, at least 10 people were stabbed.

A similar cycle has played out at UC Berkeley. In February, masked antifascists broke store windows and hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at police during a rally against the planned speech by Yiannopoulos. After the university canceled the speech out of what it called “concern for public safety,” white nationalists announced a “March on Berkeley” in support of “free speech.” At that rally, a 41-year-old man named Kyle Chapman, who was wearing a baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, and a mask, smashed an antifa activist over the head with a wooden post. Suddenly, Trump supporters had a viral video of their own. A far-right crowdfunding site soon raised more than $80,000 for Chapman’s legal defense. (In January, the same site had offered a substantial reward for the identity of the antifascist who had punched Spencer.) A politicized fight culture is emerging, fueled by cheerleaders on both sides. As James Anderson, an editor at It’s Going Down, told Vice, “This shit is fun.”

Portland offers perhaps the clearest glimpse of where all of this can lead. The Pacific Northwest has long attracted white supremacists, who have seen it as a haven from America’s multiracial East and South. In 1857, Oregon (then a federal territory) banned African Americans from living there. By the 1920s, it boasted the highest Ku Klux Klan membership rate of any state.

In 1988, neo-Nazis in Portland killed an Ethiopian immigrant with a baseball bat. Shortly thereafter, notes Alex Reid Ross, a lecturer at Portland State University and the author of Against the Fascist Creep, anti-Nazi skinheads formed a chapter of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. Before long, the city also had an Anti-Racist Action group.

Now, in the Trump era, Portland has become a bastion of antifascist militancy. Masked protesters smashed store windows during multiday demonstrations following Trump’s election. In early April, antifa activists threw smoke bombs into a “Rally for Trump and Freedom” in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. A local paper said the ensuing melee resembled a mosh pit.

When antifascists forced the cancellation of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, Trump supporters responded with a “March for Free Speech.” Among those who attended was Jeremy Christian, a burly ex-con draped in an American flag, who uttered racial slurs and made Nazi salutes. A few weeks later, on May 25, a man believed to be Christian was filmed calling antifa “a bunch of punk bitches.”

The next day, Christian boarded a light-rail train and began yelling that “colored people” were ruining the city. He fixed his attention on two teenage girls, one African American and the other wearing a hijab, and told them “to go back to Saudi Arabia” or “kill themselves.” As the girls retreated to the back of the train, three men interposed themselves between Christian and his targets. “Please,” one said, “get off this train.” Christian stabbed all three. One bled to death on the train. One was declared dead at a local hospital. One survived.

The cycle continued. Nine days after the attack, on June 4, Trump supporters hosted another Portland rally, this one featuring Chapman, who had gained fame with his assault on the antifascist in Berkeley. Antifa activists threw bricks until the police dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas.

What’s eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifascists don’t want the government to stop white supremacists from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. With help from other left-wing activists, they’re already having some success at disrupting government. Demonstrators have interrupted so many city-council meetings that in February, the council met behind locked doors. In February and March, activists protesting police violence and the city’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline hounded Mayor Ted Wheeler so persistently at his home that he took refuge in a hotel. The fateful email to parade organizers warned, “The police cannot stop us from shutting down roads.”

All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech. Joey Gibson, a Trump supporter who organized the June 4 Portland rally, told me that his “biggest pet peeve is when mayors have police stand down … They don’t want conservatives to be coming together and speaking.” To provide security at the rally, Gibson brought in a far-right militia called the Oath Keepers. In late June, James Buchal, the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, announced that it too would use militia members for security, because “volunteers don’t feel safe on the streets of Portland.”

Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names.

Antifa’s perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government’s. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president’s corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people.

Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.

 

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WHY CAN’T TECH FIRMS SHUT DOWN TERRORISTS AS FAST AS THEY DO NAZIS?

Why can’t tech firms shut down terrorists as fast as they do Nazis?
By New York Post Editorial Board
August 21, 2017

http://nypost.com/2017/08/20/why-cant-tech-firms-shut-down-terrorists-as-fast-as-they-do-nazis/

After the violence in Charlottesville, Va., some tech firms and social-media sites were quick to ban white supremacists – far quicker than they were when it came to scrubbing radical Islamic terrorists.

GoDaddy, Google and even Russian Internet officials booted the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white-supremacist Web site, after it published a despicable derogatory story about the woman killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville.

Facebook took hits for failing to remove the event page for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Even OkCupid, a dating site owned by Match.com, banned white supremacist Chris Cantwell for life for joining that rally.

“There’s no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love,” tweeted the folks at OkCupid.

Yet the tech companies haven’t treated all “objectionable” sites equally. Even after the shooting attack that nearly killed House GOP Majority Whip Steven Scalise, or the violent rallies against conservative speakers, little if anything was done to shut down online violence-spouting left-wing extremists, such as the antifa thugs.

Which raises a key question: Can these mammoth custodians of information and public debate be trusted to fairly decide what’s objectionable?

True, as private entities, these firms may be within their legal rights to decide whom they’ll do business with, who gets to use their sites and how.

But given their near-monopoly status and enormous power to control thought and debate, that ought to make everyone nervous.

 

NEW YORK TIMES BLAMES THE JEWS FOR DONALD TRUMP

New York Times Blames the Jews for Donald Trump
By Ira Stoll
Algemeiner
August 21, 2017

https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/08/21/new-york-times-blames-the-jews-for-donald-trump/

The New York Times is blaming the Jews for Donald Trump.

That’s what I took away from two pieces in the newspaper over the weekend.
The first was a news article from Jerusalem, headlined, “As Trump Offers Neo-Nazis Muted Criticism, Netanyahu Is Largely Silent.”

The article faulted the Israeli prime minister for failing to condemn President Trump in a manner that the Times judged to be sufficiently speedy and specific.

This is strange on two fronts. First, it’s a double standard. When Netanyahu publicly faulted former President Barack Obama for the Iran nuclear deal, the Times complained he was meddling in US politics and making an enemy out of an American president. Now that Netanyahu is doing his best to avoid a public fight with an American president, he gets criticized for that, too.

Second, the Charlottesville marchers weren’t just antisemites, they were also, at least reportedly, racists. It was a Confederate statue that triggered the whole thing, not any Jewish symbol. But the only country whose leader got put on the spot in a full-length Times news article, at least so far as I can tell, was Israel. There was no full-length Times news article I saw about any majority black African or Caribbean countries or majority Asian countries (other than Israel) and their prime ministers’ or presidents’ reactions or non-reactions to Trump’s response to the Charlottesville events. Maybe there were some such Times articles that I missed. But I usually read the paper pretty carefully, and I sure did not spot any.

In the same Saturday issue of the Times came a column by Bret Stephens headlined “President Jabberwock and the Jewish Right,” critical of “right-of-center Jews who voted for Donald Trump in the election.” This is such a small group in proportion to Trump’s overall support that it’s hard to see why it merits an entire column. Not a single one of these “right-of-center Jews who voted for Donald Trump in the election” is actually named in the column, which claims that such Jews are now subject to “moral embarrassment.”

The column says Jews should have known not to vote for Trump because of “the denunciations of ‘globalism’ and ‘international banks’ and the ‘enemy of the American people’ news media.” Yet on July 3, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt sent a message denouncing “the old fetishes of so-called international bankers.” Plenty of Jews nonetheless voted for FDR without any moral embarrassment. Likewise, Bernie Sanders attacks the press, including CNN and the New York Times, just about as vociferously and directly as Trump does. Plenty of Jews voted for Sanders, too, and Sanders’ attacks on the press haven’t been widely interpreted as antisemitic.

In my own view, the danger of antisemitism right now is less in the Oval Office and more in the Times comment section and editorial moderation. It was just days ago that the Times was assuring us that its decision to award a gold ribbon and “NYT Pick” stamp of approval to a reader comment describing Netanyahu as a “parasitic thug” was an inadvertent mistake. Yet in the comments on the Stephens column, the Times again awards a gold ribbon and “NYT Pick” label to a comment that reads in part, “It also remains to be seen whether American Zionists have learned to stop prioritizing ‘good for Israel’ over ‘good for America.’” That comment, which earned “thumbs up” upvotes from at least 410 Times readers, could have easily fit into the Times news article about the Charlottesville racists and antisemites “in their own words.” (It was also consistent with the Stephens column itself, which explicitly mentioned Israel as part of “the gist of the Jewish conservative’s case for Trump,” but omitted taxes, deregulation, or the Supreme Court.)

There was an extended discussion in the Times this weekend about bigoted commenters. That discussion came in a Times magazine article about the website Breitbart. The Times reported:

Breitbart functioned as a legitimizing tether for the most abhorrent currents of the right wing. Benkler referred to this as a ‘‘bridge’’ phenomenon, in which extremist websites linked to Breitbart for validation and those same fanatics could then gather in Breitbart’s comment section to hurl invectives… many of the writers and editors at Breitbart really were inclined to a pedestrian politics, but they were happy enough to welcome bigots if it meant increasing traffic. …he says he doubts that many of his former colleagues realize how deplorable their commenters can be. “They’re mostly just seen the way a lot of websites see their commenters, which is: ‘Oh, God, these idiots,’ ” he said. ‘‘I think there was a lot of opportunism going on. If they could get traffic from those people, then they got traffic from those people.”

When a Times column blaming right-wing Jews for Trump generates a reader comment with 410 upvotes and a gold ribbon “NYT pick” for asserting that US Zionists prioritize Israel’s interests ahead of America’s, some people might start suspecting the Times itself of engaging in Breitbart-style reader-comment opportunism.

So long as the Times is on the topic of “moral embarrassment” – well, let’s just say, if not much of that seems on display among the paper’s own editors, it’s not because it’s entirely unwarranted.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.