The Spotlight on Charlottesville (and S 720): Why Trump’s Support for Israel Thrives Side by Side with His White Supremacist, Anti-Semitic, Alt-Right Base
- Written by Gilbert Schramm Gilbert Schramm
- Published: 18 August 2017 18 August 2017
As the old saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows. On the face of it, there is nothing more weird or inexplicable than the fact that many leading Israelis and other Zionists strongly back Trump, even though Trump has been shockingly reluctant to condemn anti-Semitic hate crimes—which have surged under his new administration.
The appalling recent events in Charlottesville have put this issue under a spotlight.
In the aftermath of the carnage there, one pro-Zionist Trump supporter insisted that Trump could not be a white supremacist ‘because he was such a strong supporter of Israel.’
That may sound logical, but the underlying premise beneath the temporary convergence of the interests of the extremist Zionist Likud Party in Israel and the equally extreme Trump administration, while ‘logical’ in a sense, has very sinister roots.
We should start with the simple observation that extremist, right-wing groups and demagogues like Trump have never been notable for making any kind of sense. The ability of these types to reconcile extraordinary contradictions, while at the same time arguing that they are presenting “virtue” or even “common sense, ‘is always remarkable.
The facts are plain, aren’t they? Trump’s treasured daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are both Jewish. Jared’s family used to host Benjamin Netanyahu for overnight stays. Trump’s appointment as ambassador to Israel, David Lieberman, is a man who, like Jared, personally gave financial support to illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. In light of all this, how can Trump possibly be anti-Semitic?
There is a “logical” answer, but the details aren’t pretty.
What we need to keep in mind is that it is their shared extremist exclusivist politics, not any kind of real morality or real loyalty that enables this alliance. It is worth remembering that the Zionist extremist terrorist Avram Stern once sought to make common cause with the Nazi regime against America’s British allies. Now that seems to be a real contradiction—almost unbelievable. Yet it is true. Among other things Stern wrote:
The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian foundation, linked by alliance with the German Reich, will safeguard and strengthen the powerful position of Germany in the future of the near east.
Accord to its worldview and structure, Irgun (his Zionist terrorist group) is extremely close to the totalitarian movements of Europe.” *
In a very similar vein, the reason Trumpist white nationalists and Likud Zionists are currently able to make common cause is that they are essentially birds of a feather. To be precise, both embrace a “master race” ideology. I think most people recognize this about American white supremacist nationalists—but they are much less likely to believe it of Zionist Jews. Should anyone doubt the family resemblance, they need only to look at the writings of early Zionists like Arthur Ruppin. Ruppin, a noted Zionist theorist, goes beyond claiming a mere racial difference of the Jews from other peoples to really propounding the innate superiority of Jews. In 1913 he claimed:
...in the Jew of today, we have what is in some respects a particularly valuable human type. Other nations may have other points of superiority, but in respect of intellectual gifts the Jews can scarcely be surpassed by any other nation. (my emphasis)
In an argument typical of the Social Darwinism of his day, Ruppin attributes this “Superiority” to the vicious oppression Jews had faced through history. But he goes on to do a little racial profiling within the Jewish community as well…
…it is perhaps owing to this severe process of natural selection that the Ashkenazim (white Northern European Jews) are today superior in activity, intelligence and scientific capacity to the Sephardim (Spanish and Southern European) and Arabian Jews, in spite of their common ancestry. (p.262, my clarification in parentheses)
He goes on to add his thoughts on the potential immigration to Palestine of Sephardic and other “oriental” Jews:
The spiritual and intellectual status of these Jews is so low that an immigration en masse would lower the general cultural standard of the Jews in Palestine and would be bad from several points of view…
In a final cut, he notes:
Still, it would be good for small numbers of Jews from Arab countries to come, for they are satisfied with little, and can replace the Arab laborers. (my emphasis)
Yes, the master race will always need servants, be they farm laborers on the Israeli kibbutz or waiters at Mar-a-Lago.
Lest there be any remaining doubt about the racist premises of early Zionism, please note the words of Redcliffe Nathan Salaman. Writing about Yemeni Jews (a Jewish community which has existed since ancient times) he asserts:
They are not Jews. They are black, with an elongated skull, Arab half-castes…the true Jew is the (the fair) European Ashkenazi, and I support him after all others. **
For the word “fair” please read “white.”
To put it bluntly, Zionists accepted all the main points of European anti-Semitism—they merely substituted “fair,” blond European Jews for “fair,” blond Teutonic peoples as the “master race.” That in a nutshell, is the ideology that stole the land of Palestine and dispossessed its original inhabitants—and which continues to dispossess them today with US tax dollars. That’s why the Zionist version of white settler colonialism represented by Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition of hard right Likud Zionists has such a strong affinity for Trump’s version of America—and also why Benjamin Netanyahu, the inheritor of that tradition, was so antagonistic to Barack Obama. In recent years, hundreds of prominent Israelis have denounced the extreme rightward direction their country has taken under Netanyahu and the Likud.
Americans need to finally understand that “White Supremacist Nationalists” stand in the exactly the same relationship to American society as “right wing Likudist Zionists” stand in relationship to the many communities of Jews around the world. The only difference is that the Zionists have taken control of a state. One need only look at how they currently govern that state (as an apartheid theatre of exclusionary violence) to see why they can so easily make common cause with the kind of white supremacists who caused the outrage in Charlottesville last weekend. Israel today is a stark example of what an ultra-nationalist state predicated on racism can become.
This also explains why Palestinian activists have recently supported the Native American protestors at Standing Rock and the Black Lives Matter movement. All three groups have received very similar treatment by their respective “master race” oppressors.
Supporters of Israel who buy into the notion that Trump and his followers are really on their side are making a bargain with the devil.
In June, 1964 during the Civil Rights Movement, three activists were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi . The victims were Andrew Goodman and Michael "Mickey" Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney. Schwerner and Goodman, were Jewish. Chaney was black. They went to the American south to fight for civil rights and register black voters. They made common cause because they had the same belief in justice and human rights for all people. All were killed by white supremacists—in this case the “White Knights of the KKK”, apparently with assistance from the Neshoba County Sheriff's Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department.
If Oregon’s liberals feel that kind of thing is far removed from the stances taken by their own liberal politicians, they should pause to consider. Sure, we don’t have the history of the black south, but do we extend our fine moral sense to all people? The record shows that we don’t.
The pending legislation known as S 720 is a litmus test on this issue.
S 720 seeks to criminalize participation in the global BDS movement. That movement is a response to the cry from Palestinian civil society for a BDS campaign. Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) were the tools that helped end apartheid rule in South Africa. The current Palestinian BDS movement seeks to end the apartheid regime that Israel has unilaterally imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank. President Obama’s recent tweet of a quote by Nelson Mandela has become the most popular tweet ever. Mandela would still be in prison if it weren’t for the BDS movement of the 1980s.
Put simply, S 720 seeks to criminalize protests against racism. That’s right—just like Trump’s response to Charlottesville, it seeks to blame (and silence) those who stand against racism and racist violence.
Senator Chuck Schumer supports S 720. Wyden has tied himself in knots worthy of a Trump surrogate as he tries to justify his support for the pending legislation. Governor Kate Brown has shown support for similar legislation at the statewide level. Senator Merkley has not yet taken a position on S 720. I’m sorry to say, there are no real heroes here.
We hope that Merkley and Brown will join Senators Kirsten Gillebrand and Elizabeth Warren and oppose S 720. We hope that Oregon’s congressman will join them. The problem is that they almost all get money from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the most powerful lobbies in America. Unfortunately, AIPAC doesn’t really represent the views of mainstream American Jews—it usually simply accepts the dictates of the Israeli government. And AIPAC doesn’t merely support this kind of legislation, they actually write it. In other words, taking money or accepting election interference from AIPAC isn’t really that different from taking money or support from Putin’s Russia or from the American Alt-Right.
So if you are outraged by the white nationalist outrage in Charlottesville, look at yourself and the lawmakers you elect. As an American taxpayer, you finance the same kind of racism in Palestine that you decry and deplore in Charlottesville. Collectively we spend almost 8 million dollars a day to impose racism on Palestine. Palestinians die almost daily at the hands of Israel— blonde or not, these people are as beautiful and filled with life and a longing for justice as Heather Heyer, victim of the Charlottesville violence.
The point is, if we support racist violence in one context, it will survive to spread in others.
Moral corruption that tries to drape itself in the finery of virtue always exposes its contradictions. Currently Oregon senator Ron Wyden is revealing his hypocrisy by claiming that his opposition to BDS is rooted in a real commitment to a two state solution. This is sheer nonsense: in fact the illegal settlements that BDS specifically opposes are the most fatal obstacle to a two state solution.
Beneath the layer of the onion in which Trump-inspired white supremacy and Likud Zionism find common cause, is an even uglier rotten layer of truth. In the Israel that Netanyahu envisions, an average (non Jewish) American would have no more respect or standing than an average Jew would have in a White Nationalist America—that is, about exactly what a member of “black lives matter” or a Palestinian refugee could expect in either.
These are sad and brutal truths. They will not change until we see ALL “master race” bigotry for what it is and end it forever. Everyone likes to denounce violence. Rightly so: It is so easy! But for those who truly seek peace and justice, we must look at the facts more closely.
In his August 15th press conference, Donald Trump played the old game of trying to insist that violence occurred “on both sides “of the Charlottesville riots. We must draw a sharp distinction here: there is no moral equivalence between the violence created by the Alt-Right, White Supremacist, Nationalists, and Neo-Nazis, and those counter protesters who rightly called them out. The first are people whose ideology is all about depriving other groups of their rights and their way of life. The second are people standing for American and universal human values of equality and justice. Even if someone in the latter group threw a punch, that hardly puts their group on par with the instigators of the incident who came armed with military weapons and clothed in military regalia in a clear attempt to instill fear in their intended victims.
In exactly the same way, the blame for the violence that has taken place in Palestine for almost a century lies clearly in the lap of the Zionist ideology. And yet we continue to blame the Palestinian victims.
Now to be honest, I must voice a simple, unassailable, yet unpopular truth: almost every act of violence committed by Palestinians in defense of their land and their rights to live peacefully on it has been an act of resistance—resistance to the illegal and immoral theft of their land. Likewise, every act of violence committed in pursuit of promoting a Zionist state on land that legitimately belongs to Palestinians has been an act in support of racism and the goal of establishing a racist state. Just as at Charlottesville, the blame isn’t really “on all sides.”
I do not approve of violence, so in this horrible context, I support the global BDS movement—the only non-violent solution to the problem. The question then is “why are our politicians trying to criminalize the only non-violent solution?
Please ask them—not me. And please do it soon, before S 720 becomes law.
David Duke just tweeted to President Trump, thanking him for taking on the “leftist terrorists,” whom Duke blames for the violence in Charlottesville. We have heard the same kind of “thanks” directed at the whole American political establishment over the years for their support of Zionist state sponsored terrorism against Palestinians.
As America tackles the racism exposed by Charlottesville, it also needs to look at its own support for the Zionist Likud regime in Israel. They are not separate issues. In the final analysis, principled support for the true interests of Israel can be shown by support for the BDS movement, not continued support for occupation and settlement of Palestine.
* quoted in Kati Marston’s “A Death In Jerusalem.” Arcade Publishing, 1996, pgs. 54-55
** the Ruppin and Salaman quotes can be found in Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People,” Verso, 2009, pgs. 262-267