When Neo-Nazis Collaborate With Hamas, Should Jews Trust The Right Or The Left?
In a January 5th post entitled “March on Whitefish Moves Forward,” Andrew Anglin, the American neo-Nazi who founded the “Daily Stormer,” updated his supporters on plans for an armed march that he earlier described as “against Jews, Jewish businesses, and everyone who supports either” in Whitefish, Montana. In this particular post, Anglin added that, “a representative of Hamas will be in attendance, and will give a speech about the international threat of the Jews.” The article concludes with the sinister line, “and they will rue the day, as they see two hundred skinhead Alt-Right Nazis marching with a guy from Hamas carrying machine guns through the center of their town! Hail victory.”
We’ve all heard the stories about the relationship between Adolf Hitler and the British-appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, one of the founding leaders of the anti-Zionist movement. Historians have disagreed over the details of their collaboration, but it is clear that al-Husseini met with such figures as Heinrich Himmler and Hitler himself, that he recruited soldiers for the Nazi war effort, and that he wrote and disseminated pro-Nazi propaganda. Because the Nazis never reached Jerusalem, we cannot know whether or not al-Husseini would have put the anti-Semitic ideology that he so often preached into practice to enact the “final solution.”
Today, of course, American anti-Zionists dismiss that relationship as either exaggerated or irrelevant. Realizing that flirtations with modern-day fascism could be an impediment to their efforts to hijack the political left, they try to sweep any evidence under the rug.
But this latest collaboration between neo-Nazis and a Hamas representative will make the ideological overlap harder to dismiss. Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the US Department of State, is a militaristic, ultra-nationalist, anti-Zionist extremist faction that openly calls for a mass extermination of Jews. Many Students for Justice in Palestine chapters in the United States support their anti-Zionist co-ideologists, and experts on terrorist financing have discovered startling overlap between the Hamas and BDS funding networks. As pro-Hamas neo-Nazis like Anglin gain more and more of a platform in America, it will be increasingly difficult for mainstream American anti-Zionists to pretend that their goals aren’t, in many ways, aligned.
Anglin isn’t alone, either. As Betsy Woodruff astutely reported in the Daily Beast, members of the “alt-right” “generally share a disdain for political correctness, feminism, Zionism, Jews in general, immigration (especially Hispanic and Muslim immigration), and anyone who criticizes them for holding these views.”
In response to my most recent article, the far-right anti-Semitic blogger Mark Glenn wrote, “There is no use of the word ‘universal’ that can be associated with Jews or their self-absorbed, self-worshipping mindset, outside of course the context of the ‘universal’ domination that they crave.” As I scrolled through his long rant about my article, I noticed the images that he had selected to accompany his blog: Uncle Sam pointing with the slogan “I’m Israel’s bitch. And so are YOU!,” images of wounded Palestinians, multiple claims that “Israel did 9-11,” the tagline “Palestinian holocaust,” and more. Much of Glenn’s work, in fact, draws on the same themes that the anti-Zionists whom I have encountered on campus commonly evoke.
It’s not hard to see where American anti-Semitic fascism and the anti-Zionist movement overlap. One calls for armed marches against Jewish businesses; the other calls for boycotts against Zionist businesses (not only Israeli companies, but also companies like Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, founded by progressive Americans Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield). One refers to Jews as “internationalist” (a term used broadly to indicate a range of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories); the other refers to the Jewish State as “imperialist.” One calls Jews “powerful” and “wealthy;” the other calls Jews “privileged” and “bourgeois.” One seeks the extermination of the “Jewish race,” the other of the Jewish State. There is a very thin line between discrimination against Jews based on “race” or “religion” and discrimination against Israelis based on nationality or “Zionists,” a term that encompasses the overwhelming majority of Jews, based on political identity.
In this way, Jewish issues are excluded from both the political far-right and the political far-left. As America becomes more and more polarized, I fear that Jews will have nowhere to turn. I believe in the long-term potential for Jews to find a place on the political left, but that possibility grows more distant every time a progressive organization allows itself to be tempted by Hamas’s anti-Zionist supporters. It’s been said before that the furthest extremes of the left and the furthest extremes of the right are not dissimilar from one another – it disturbs me to think that support for an anti-Semitic militia may become common ground.
I am not at all suggesting that anti-Zionism is necessarily fascist, or that all American anti-Zionists support fascism. To claim either would be preposterous. But fascism, as a whole, is anti-Zionist, and proponents of the mainstream American anti-Zionist movement have a lot of work to do if they want to distance themselves from the legacy of Haj Amin al-Husseini and from the militaristic, anti-Semitic ultra-nationalism of Hamas and the Daily Stormer.