For Richard Spencer, the leading ideologue of the “alt-right,” Donald Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism was an important, perhaps revolutionary, step.
Spencer dubbed it the “de-Judification” of the Holocaust.
Jewish activists, Spencer wrote in a short post for his new website, Altright.com, have long insisted on making the Holocaust “all about their meta-narrative of suffering” and a way to “undergird their peculiar position in American society.”
The Holocaust, in Spencer’s opinion, has become a sort of moral bludgeon — used against white nationalists like himself.
“We can’t limit immigration, because Hitler. We can’t can’t proud of ourselves as a Europeans, because Holocaust. White people can be Christian, but not too Christian, because Auschwitz,” he wrote.
Spencer went on: “Effectively, any policy, idea, or belief that is markedly right-wing and traditional — that evokes identity, power, hierarchy, and dominance — must be regulated by the possibility that it could potentially lead back to the German Führer.”
Spencer, a one-time Duke University doctoral student, popularized the term “alt-right,” a broad label that defines a new generation of white nationalists.
While other influential members of the movement, like Andrew Anglin, clearly identify with Nazis (Anglin’s Daily Stormer website is named after the Nazi propaganda sheet Der Stürmer), Spencer says he is not a Nazi and that he denies the label often attributed to him, preferring the term “identitarian,” a reference to a far-right political movement that has roots in France.
Spencer dismissed Jewish responses to Trump’s statement as “kvetching,” using a Yiddish term for “complaining.”
In speaking about Hitler and the Holocaust, Spencer has also elided Jewish suffering, telling The Daily Caller that “terrible things were done to many different people during that terrible war.”
He also does not condemn Hitler outright, instead calling him a “historical figure.” “He’s done things that I think are despicable,” Spencer told The Daily Caller, but did not go into details. “I’m not going to play this game.”
In Spencer’s viewpoint, the “de-Judefication” of the Holocaust is a quintessentially “Trumpian” statement. Spencer championed Trump through the presidential campaign — and though he has been critical of the president at times, he seems to have come around to Trump.
“Trump is a white nationalist, so to speak, he is ‘alt-right’ whether he likes it or not,” Spencer said in a recent interview on “The David Pakman Show.”
Contact Sam Kestenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.