by Justin Rosario
I was going to write a completely different article this week but as I was skimming through my various social media accounts before settling down to start banging away ay my keyboard I came across this headline: Christian TV Host Warns Followers Trump Impeachment Is ‘Jew Coup’.
Oh? Was this some random nobody in the middle of nowhere on public access TV? Nope. This was Rick Wiles, a very popular and influential right-wing Christian talking head that's been preaching about the end times to white Republican voters for quite some time.
This week's article was promptly preempted.
"And There It Is"
After slowly ramping up the Jew-hatred by conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism (the two are not synonymous), Wiles tore off the mask and went full Nazi:
That’s the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda. This ‘impeach Trump’ effort is a Jew coup and the American people better wake up to it really fast because this thing is moving now toward a vote in the House and then a trial in the Senate. We could have a trial before Christmas.
They're not even pretending anymore. And I knew this was coming from Day One.
When Trump was first elected, and I've explained this before, I let it be known to my friends and family that if they voted for Trump, they had best keep it to themselves. If they told me they voted for him, we would not be speaking again for the rest of their lives.
Debbie's mother apparently thought I was kidding and called the next day to explicitly tell Deb that she and her husband, Deb's stepfather, had, in fact, voted for Trump. I haven't spoken to them since and I mean that literally. I leave the state when they come to visit.
I bring this up because Debbie didn't understand why I was at DEFCON 1 over this. After all, Republicans had won the 2010 and 2014 elections and I didn't turn my back on her parents then, right?
I sat her down, more than once, and explained to her that Trump was a straight-up monster who had surrounded himself with white nationalists. His campaign was based on white nationalism and he spoke explicitly to a base of white nationalists.
Debbie didn't really understand what that meant because she grew up white in a middle-class white neighborhood surrounded by white people. So did I, but even as a half-Jew, once I was old enough to understand antisemitism and the Holocaust, I became acutely aware of how hated Jews are.
I never felt slightly threatened in the multi-cultural haven that is New York City but I knew that there were people who would literally kill me if they had the chance just for being born who I was.
It was in this context that watching the rise of Donald Trump and his white nationalist message after years of watching the growing rage and racism of the right convinced me that we were about to see a massive surge of antisemitism followed by its mainstreaming followed by people going full Nazi.
When I watched the clip of Rick Wiles spewing his hate...
This is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States and it’s beyond removing Donald Trump, it’s removing you and me. That’s what’s at the heart of it. You have been taken over by a Jewish cabal.
The church of Jesus Christ, you’re next. Get it through your head! They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.
...all I could think to myself was, "And there it is."
The Hate Is Escalating
The two things that Debbie didn't understand about white nationalism are the two things that most people don't understand, especially people in the media who have made a career of not understanding right-wing extremism.
The first thing to understand about white nationalism is that it is not interchangeable with white supremacy. At all.
White supremacy is a system designed, on purpose or otherwise (but usually on purpose), to privilege white people over everyone else. Sometimes it is designed to privilege white people while actively making things harder for other people but sometimes not.
The main point is that white people remain at the top of the pecking order. The more invisible it is, the better.
White nationalism, on the other hand, cannot tolerate the continued presence of Those People among white people. It's not about keeping white people at the top, it's about eliminating the competition.
This is why white nationalism invariably leads to violence. The more of a foothold the ideology gets in a society, the more violent it becomes. We've seen it in America before, when groups of young Irish Catholic men would terrorize Jewish communities in Boston and New York in the year leading up to WWII. When it gains total control, you get the Holocaust, Russian Pogroms, and other kinds of ethnic cleansing.
As Trump and the GOP make white nationalism more acceptable and the media pretends that's not happening, white Republican voters become increasingly violent.
"White genocide" is the theory promulgated by white nationalists that the white race is in a zero sum struggle with non-whites. It's either us or them, and if white people lose, they will be wiped out.
That is literally the plot of "The Camp of the Saints," the book both Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller read and internalized as a guide for their politics. If you believe that a race war is not only inevitable but desirable, what wouldn't you do?
They Always Come For The Jews
The second thing that most people and almost the entirety of the American press don’t understand about white nationalism, and therefore the Republican Party's base, is that, sooner or later, they will come for the Jews.
This is the main thing I had to drill into Debbie after the election. I told her over and over again, "It doesn't matter that they're screaming about Muslims and Latino immigrants right now. Sooner or later, they'll start screaming about Jews. They always come for the Jews. Always."
That summer, Charlottesville happened. I sat Deb and Anastasia, who was 7 at the time, down to watch the VICE special about it on HBO. There, they both watched a group of well-dressed 20-somethings marching just two hours away from where we live while chanting "Jews will not replace us!"
That's when Debbie really understood. White nationalists always come for the Jews, and they were now running the country. Her mother had voted for a man who was enabling a climate that directly put her husband and her children at risk and she did it knowing what kind of monster Trump was. The least I could do was never talk to such a person again.
To be clear, there is no huge organized Jewish lobby pushing for Jewish rights in America. There's groups like AIPAC pushing for Israel and the ADL fighting antisemitism, but nothing trying to give Jews extra rights. Or even equal rights, really. Jews are not systemically oppressed in any way I can think of in America. Certainly not like other minorities. We can get jobs anywhere. We can buy homes anywhere. The police don't harass us. We don't get followed in stores. We aren't denied visas. We get to live our lives.
Or, at least, we used to be able to do that.
These days, antisemitic hate crimes are on a steep rise with two synagogue shootings in the last 14 months and another attempted attack stopped in October.
Republicans, Fox, AM Hate Radio and right wing hate sites constantly talk about "globalists," which is barely coded language for "Jews," and George Soros, who is Jewish, as being behind everything from immigrant caravans to stock market instability.
And now we have a fairly popular voice on the right openly stating that Jews, not the coding word "globalists," but Jews, are trying to overthrow the government of the United States.
The press will cluck its tongue but this, along with all of the rest of the right's white nationalism, will receive but a fraction of the coverage accorded to the most idle comment against the rich uttered by Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. And Dog help us all if Cory Booker or Kamala Harris say something less than flattering about white people! That would be headlines for weeks and the end of their candidacy!
The Normalization Proceeds Apace
20 years ago, a right winger saying anything that even hinted at what Wiles openly stated would have been driven out of Republican politics.
Now? It's unlikely there will be even mild condemnation from Republicans. After all, they wouldn't want to upset their base, would they? Wiles is just saying what they're thinking and they love that! Add the wholesale acceptance among Republicans to the press' herculean efforts to make white nationalism seem like just another regular political ideology and the normalization proceeds apace.
It is only in this absolutely broken national dialogue where Bernie Sanders' comfortably left wing platform and Antifa's defensive actions can be considered the moral and ideological equivalent of Trump's extreme right wing fascism and the rapidly escalating violence of the white nationalists Trump inspires.
But that's how it works. And that's how we've gone from coded language to Rick Wiles openly accusing Jews of orchestrating a coup in the United States with the ultimate goal of slaughtering millions of Christians. It won't be long until we start hearing about the blood libel again, in which us dastardly Jews use the blood of innocent Christian babies, probably aborted fetuses, in our Satanic Jewish rituals.
This is the language that drives the machine that leads to mass murder. It's how the Nazis convinced everyday Germans to look the other way as millions of Jews were loaded on to cattle cars to die in gas chambers.
These are the stakes in next year's election. Another 4 years of Trump and there will be pogroms in America again. Count on it.
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities
Enjoying The Banter Newsletter? Become a subscriber today and join our fight against the Trump administration. Subscribers can read all premium articles, join exclusive chat threads, and get access to our online archive. All for less that $1.25 a week!
Read the latest for Banter Subscribers:
The scariest part is most Americans don’t even see this coming
Let's not forget that Americans elected Biden in 2020. That said, I know what antisemitism against Jews is (there IS antisemitism against Arabs), since I was born on the doorsill of 1941 and I remember the Irish abutting my neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They weren't pretty. McGonigle, who owned a grocery store, told my mother he was delighted Hitler was "mopping up all the kikes." So: I do know real antisemitism. And I would agree: it is coming to that now.