Deborah Lipstadt’s double standard on white nationalism and Jewish nationalism

US Politics
on 33 Comments

On National Public Radio yesterday the Holocaust scholar Deborah E. Lipstadt said that “the so-called alt-right” is a euphemism for white nationalism, which is itself a euphemism for white supremacy; and the media should cut through the pretense and say “white supremacism.”

LIPSTADT: I would say white supremacism. I think white nationalism is just like Holocaust deniers calling themselves, you know, revisionists. To properly understand the danger, we should call them by what they really are, white supremacists..

I think it’s incumbent upon the media to understand who these people are and the kind of arguments they’re making and not to treat them as a benign point of view.

Deborah E. Lipstadt

Deborah E. Lipstadt

Meantime, in the Forward, Lipstadt has an article that while critical of rightwing Jewish groups for normalizing Trump’s racism, reserves its main blast for the left. “Didn’t Slam Anti-Semitism On the Left? Don’t Expect Credibility When You Slam It On the Right.” In this article, Lipstadt equates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

For the past few decades, we have witnessed the rise of anti-Semitism from the left. From Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the United Kingdom to college campuses across America, the phenomenon is real, and it is dangerous. Yet, all too often, some Jews — both individuals and organizations — who inhabit the liberal or left end of the spectrum have tried to explain it away with the classic “yes/but” rationalization: “Yes, it’s wrong, but if only Israel would… then the anti-Semitism would disappear.” Maybe their fear of losing their left-wing bona fides blinded them to the fact that the only proper response to prejudice of any kind — anti-Semitism included — is unambiguous condemnation.

Lipstadt is advocating a double standard. If she is going to criticize white nationalism as a white supremacist ideology, then what about Jewish nationalism? Palestinians routinely describe the Zionist regime in Israel Palestine as Jewish supremacy; and there is plenty of evidence to support the victims’ view of the matter. As the illustration above makes plain, any Jew can move to Israel tomorrow; but a Palestinian who was born there and made a refugee by the Jewish state is not allowed to return to his or her own village. There are over 1.5 million Palestinians and registered descendants living in refugee camps right now. Many laws in Israel discriminate against Palestinians in favor of Jews, including many involving land ownership and zoning that are reminiscent of the Jim Crow South. And if you are a Palestinian living in the occupied West Bank, you can’t vote for the government that rules your life; but a Jewish settler living alongside you in an illegal colony can vote. That would seem to be the definition of supremacy.

So: Lipstadt is slamming white nationalism while extolling Jewish nationalism. The left is consistent in condemning both.

This debate is no longer confined to ideologues of Zionism and anti-Zionism. It has become an urgent American discussion because the Trump victory has pushed liberals and leftwingers into the same political space, of Trump resistance. Some of these anti-Trump activists are Zionists, some are anti-Zionists; and the contradiction is no longer sustainable: the lib-left must support equal rights for all people if it is to have ideological integrity and force in opposing Trump. I would argue that Hillary Clinton’s Zionism contributed to her defeat; and that once Jewish nationalism is exposed for its actual accomplishments in Israel and Palestine, Zionists are sure to lose this debate among freedom-loving Americans.

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33 Responses

  1. eljay
    November 28, 2016, 12:28 pm

    … So: Lipstadt is slamming white nationalism while extolling Jewish nationalism. …

    Zionism is about Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

    To condemn other forms of supremacism while advocating, justifying, defending and supporting Jewish supremacism is to be a hypocrite – in other words, a Zio-supremacist.

    Referring to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” doesn’t change that.

    • Peter in SF
      November 29, 2016, 4:02 am

      I don’t think this is quite a double standard. Read Deborah Lipstadt’s exact words: “the only proper response to prejudice of any kind — anti-Semitism included — is unambiguous condemnation.” From her privileged perspective, the thing that needs to be condemned is prejudice, and not actual institutionalized discrimination in favor of one group and depriving another group of its rights. This explains why she dismisses what she calls the “rationalization” of “if only Israel would …” — because the actions of a government are not about prejudice per se, they’re about laws and policies, which are not as important (in her mind) as prejudice, what’s in people’s hearts, and the views they peddle. Once this is understood, her whole article makes sense.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      November 29, 2016, 9:53 am

      Lipstadt herself is “real and dangerous” for she like many Jews who see themselves as progressives remain ambivalent or at one with the lies of the propaganda machines that attempts to lure all Jews into the walled off apartheid house of Zionism. What follows is the monster of manufactured anti-Semitism that freely can label anti-zionists , activists, dissenters who resist the crimes of Zionism as anti-Semites. This is not to negate the reality of a growing number of Palestinian supporters who are truly anti-Semites i.e. white supremacists. Lipstadtis like so many intellectual Jews who claim they are progressive, still remain blind to the suffering Palestinians who continue to live in ghettos of despair. And so, they remain complicit with the crimes and deceit of Zionist Israel.

      • Mooser
        November 29, 2016, 1:59 pm

        “This is not to negate the reality of a growing number of Palestinian supporters who are truly anti-Semites i.e. white supremacists.”

        “Lillian”, is that what you meant to say? Hard for me to think of any “white supremacists” who include Palestinians in their supremacy.

      • echinococcus
        November 29, 2016, 2:36 pm

        This is not to negate the reality of a growing number of Palestinian supporters who are truly anti-Semites i.e. white supremacists.

        You amaze me. Why on earth would White supremacists be antisemitic? Excepting marginal phenomena like the Falasha or the Chinese Jews, all flavors of Jewish are what even believers in the existence of races will define as typical Caucasian. Especially the Central and Eastern European variant that dominates in our climes.

        As for negating the reality of “Palestinian supporters who are truly anti-Semites”, you’re damn tootin’ I negate it.

        Kindly define exactly what you mean by “anti-Semites” first, or just answer: do you mean plain racism, i.e. directed at an inborn characteristic, or directed at anything acquired, like religion, that is perfectly OK to oppose?

        And please bring clear proof of that.

      • Steve Grover
        November 30, 2016, 2:19 pm

        Lillian Rosengarten sez:

        “Lipstadt herself is “real and dangerous” for she like many Jews who see themselves as progressives remain ambivalent or at one with the lies of the propaganda machines”

        If you pulled out Lipstadt from that statement and replaced her name with Lillian Rosengarten and Phil Weiss and Max Blumenthal it would become quite accurate.

      • Donald Johnson
        November 30, 2016, 2:54 pm

        “Why on earth would White supremacists be antisemitic?”

        Gosh, yeah, why would idiotic hate-filled people with delusional beliefs about superiority based on skin color be illogical in other ways? I bet that this has never happened in human history, outside all the times when it has.

        Meanwhile, back in the real world, some people who are white supremacists are also Jew haters. These days in America Muslim hating and/or Arab hating is more mainstream and some of these people claim to love Jews and hate Muslims. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any of the old-fashioned variety of Jew haters around.

        “Kindly define exactly what you mean by “anti-Semites” first, or just answer: do you mean plain racism, i.e. directed at an inborn characteristic, or directed at anything acquired, like religion, that is perfectly OK to oppose?”

        It is fine for people to oppose religious beliefs, but people who hate Jews or Muslims and then claim it is because of the religion are still haters. Martin Luther wasn’t a racist–he just hated Jews because they didn’t convert to Christianity like he thought they would once he came along and presented them with a new and improved version of Christianity. There are people who hate Muslims, but lionize the ones that convert to Christianity.

        I usually see this “Islamophobia isn’t racism because Islam isn’t a race” coming from people defending Islamophobia. It’s both true and misses the point. Bigots are people who hate members of group X. Racism is a subset of bigotry. Antisemites and Islamophobes are very similar in their thinking to racists.

      • Mooser
        November 30, 2016, 6:14 pm

        “If you pulled out…/…quite accurate”

        And “North”, stay off my back. I won’t be held responsible for the stuff I say when I’m drinking.

      • (((James North)))
        November 30, 2016, 6:29 pm

        Moose: Can’t you endow your sock puppet with at least a little more intelligence?

      • Mooser
        November 30, 2016, 9:01 pm

        “Moose: Can’t you endow your sock puppet…”

        I think his endowment has been cut off.

      • echinococcus
        December 1, 2016, 2:36 pm

        Donald,

        some people who are white supremacists are also Jew haters

        My point entirely, thanks. The combo is not a necessary condition. In fact, while White racism is still a huge problem (not necessarily where the current Dim madness sees it, though), “Jew-hating” as you put it is less than marginal. In fact, all the professional witch hunters hardly ever turn up with anything worth writing home about.

        With “Islamophobia” the trouble is with the label itself, coined by the promoters of the racist persecution –and gullibly adopted by the liberal crowd. It has nothing to do with enmity to Islam (which I also practice.) It is directed at anyone, atheist, Christian, Zoroastrian, Yezidi, etc. with an origin in what is now called the Middle East and somewhat beyond, period. Sufficient to justify murders, etc.

        Of course pieces of garbage like Harris &Co are out there pretending to a selective opposition to Islam while propagating racism. That doesn’t mean that opposition, even violent, to any religion as long as it is effectively directed to the superstition is illegitimate. In fact, it is sorely needed.

        The same applies to “antisemitism”: if it is enmity directed to the birth characteristics of a group, it is plain racism. If it is racism directed at being born to Jewish or nominally Jewish parents, well it is racism and does not deserve a separate word for it.

        If, on the other hand, it is directed at the superstition or the practice of religion, or to tribal practices unrelated to religious belief, it is kosher as criticism there is not directed at a characteristic at birth. Of course, this could be used as a pretext for what is really racism (as it happened in 15th C Iberia or 19th C Bessarabia etc.) but I don’t think we are hearing of any significant number of such cases. In fact, seems like many if not most people accused of “antisemitism” are of Jewish origin or even religiously Jewish.

      • MHughes976
        December 1, 2016, 5:04 pm

        White supremacists with any sense of consistency might well regard Israel as a splendidly successful force keeping non-whites in their inferior place, the new Sparta, the spearpoint of the West. They might also think that Jews are only marginally white and so are out of place in any role outside the ME arena. I would think it very hard for them to think of any non-white group as deserving of sympathy and support in demanding liberation, since that is just the sort of demand that is turned against white people. So I don’t think that there is much danger of these supremacists forming a significant part of the pro-P cause.
        It seems that Mathis for Defense is all but certain.

      • Mooser
        December 1, 2016, 6:20 pm
  2. YoniFalic
    November 28, 2016, 1:01 pm

    UCSB historian Albert Lindemann addresses the problem of fake historians like Dawidowicz, Sachar, and Goldhagen, who have found a home in Jewish and Holocaust studies.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=NagdhSUgB9oC&pg=PA509&lpg=PA509&dq=%22esau%27s+tears%22+lindemann+%22Lucy+Dawidowicz%22+509&source=bl&ots=BPPZMZNFLE&sig=eY-2jzDWFLDA53sNGKHED0CWfDw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_0OO9gszQAhUH_IMKHYNRB7UQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q=%22esau's%20tears%22%20lindemann%20%22Lucy%20Dawidowicz%22%20509&f=false

    Lipstadt overlooks completely how Zionism has become an intrinsic component of US white racist ideology for many if not most US white racists.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      November 29, 2016, 9:59 am

      Yoni- I would nor include Goldenhagen in the list. ( I have not read the others) I would not call them fake historians however nor lump them all together. It is revisionist history that is fake. Better to challenge their premises separately with a counter argument.

      • hophmi
        December 5, 2016, 10:58 am

        Perhaps, Yoni, you could direct us to books that you’ve published to demonstrate your entitlement to call other scholars “fake.”

      • echinococcus
        December 5, 2016, 3:11 pm

        It will certainly not be heard by Hophmi that Yoni Falic seems to never imply appeals to authority but gives references for the reader to research by himself.
        Except the reader Hophmi, who doesn’t take anything without appeal to authority.

        Hophmi may also want to reconsider his practice as a provocateur against the right to privacy. This certainly should have been reason enough for suppression of that post.

  3. JoeSmack
    November 28, 2016, 1:04 pm

    Without defending Lipstadt’s overall wordview, I have to ask, where in the excerpt is she defending Jewish nationalism? It sounds like she is simply criticizing the (alleged) leftist tolerance of anti-Semitism. It would be a sign of hypocrisy if, for example, she failed to criticize perceived anti-white bias by black activists, as that would be the analogy to anti-Jewish bias by Palestine activists. However, I don’t see any of the quotations suggesting that. She is slamming white supremacy and also slamming the (alleged) left-wing anti-Semitism. It may very well be that she is wrongly conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism (the Corbyn and college campus references would suggest so) but she doesn’t come out and say what she considers anti-Semitism to be. So I don’t think it’s necessarily hypocritical of her. That being said I’ve always considered her to be somewhat of a huckster whose primary fame comes from being sued by a neo-Nazi. A very bizarre affair.

  4. ErikEast
    November 28, 2016, 2:02 pm

    “From Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the United Kingdom to college campuses across America, the phenomenon is real ”

    Not the first time there has been an invalid suggestion that “Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party” is overtly anti-Semitic. However, I’m surprised it is being made in the U.S. One has to presume that it is due to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn openly backs BDS and has consistently been pro-Palestinian. Moreover, next year marks a couple of important anniversaries in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    Perhaps, Lipstadt should read the following statement from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on Antisemitism in the UK Tenth Report of Session 2016–17:

    “120. Despite significant press and public attention on the Labour Party, and a number of revelations regarding inappropriate social media content, there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party.”

    Surely, an esteemed academic should do their research before spewing spurious charges. Where are the standards.

    • YoniFalic
      November 28, 2016, 4:35 pm

      In Jewish and Holocaust studies there are many academics. Only a subset are serious and genuine scholars.

      • hophmi
        December 5, 2016, 10:57 am

        Do you consider yourself one of them? Lipstadt certainly is. What are your qualifications?

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2016, 3:35 pm

        “What are your qualifications?”

        Uh, pretty much the same as your’s “Hophmi”. He registered to comment at Mondoweiss, just like you.
        And had the integrity to do it under his own name, too!

        (But “Yoni”, be careful when dealing with “Hophmi”! This is the kind of mind you will be dealing with. A mind that can slice itself to pieces in just a few paragraphs.)

  5. Keith
    November 28, 2016, 4:41 pm

    PHIL- “It has become an urgent American discussion because the Trump victory has pushed liberals and leftwingers into the same political space, of Trump resistance.”

    Trump didn’t create the conditions which underlied his victory. These conditions are the consequence primarily of neoliberal globalization, something which so-called liberal Democratic administrations have championed since Bill Clinton was elected. Protesting Trump the man while ignoring these policies is a typical liberal diversion from reality. You need to focus on policy, not personality. Besides, the Deep State still rules, albeit with some relatively minor realignment of priorities. I suspect that the Trump administration will de-emphasize war and try to get that latest disastrous tax cut for the rich and corporations passed into law. The final grand theft prior to a restructuring of the global financial system.

    I might add, that once you begin thinking of Trump and his supporters as the enemy while ignoring the corporations and financial system, you are contributing to the division of society along a sort of manufactured sectarian basis. You are playing into the Deep State’s hands as you assist them in their efforts to divide and rule.

    • joemowrey
      November 28, 2016, 9:22 pm

      Keith,

      I couldn’t agree more. Many so-called progressives have a very narrow understanding of our current situation. They spend a lot of time grappling with the symptoms (and bully for them for the sincere effort) while ignoring the underlying causes.

  6. lyn117
    November 28, 2016, 9:59 pm

    Phil – “I would argue that Hillary Clinton’s Zionism contributed to her defeat; and that once Jewish nationalism is exposed for its actual accomplishments in Israel and Palestine, Zionists are sure to lose this debate among freedom-loving Americans. ”

    Maybe it isn’t Zionism specifically, but her toadying to foreign interests to such and extent, on top of the finance business sector. Nor did Democrats or anyone like the idea that rather than she was nominated not so much by people, but designated by the un-elected Democratic party insiders as the nominee.

    The Washington insiders, pundits and all have pushed the idea that we have to defend Israel at practically any cost, but it never rings quite true especially to more nationalist-minded Americans. Trump’s ads pushed the same buttons in people that antisemites push, linking Clinton with nefarious global bankers.

    • JWalters
      November 29, 2016, 9:06 pm

      The recent LIBOR scandal is conclusive PROOF that international bankers DO conspire against the public.

  7. Atlantaiconoclast
    November 30, 2016, 9:29 am

    The only thing Phil gets wrong is the notion that Americans will ever care much about what Israelis have done in Palestine. They WILL care if they learn what Israel has done to the US.

    • JWalters
      November 30, 2016, 6:40 pm

      I suspect the MW editors feel that would be a bridge too far for the Jewish audience they are trying to reach. At least at this time.

      I agree with you that is what the country needs to learn.

  8. oldgeezer
    December 2, 2016, 1:08 am

    Indeed. Other than the preferred superior group there is no philosophical difference between the two groups. The one practical difference is the zionists have their state and army. They are engaged in practices (criminal ones) white supremacists can only wish for.

    Israel is a blight and a regressive step for humanity as a whole.

  9. hophmi
    December 5, 2016, 12:09 am

    If you’re going to criticize Jewish nationalism, then what about Islamic nationalism? There’s way more of it in the world than Jewish nationalism.

    • Mooser
      December 5, 2016, 11:58 am

      “If you’re going to criticize Jewish nationalism, then what about Islamic nationalism? There’s way more of it in the world than Jewish nationalism.”

      No, a little less, since there are (according to Google) 1.6 billion Muslims and 2 billion Jews. They got about 4/5ths our nationalism.
      And that’s why we must have Palestine. There is no resisting this kind of demographic pressure.

    • echinococcus
      December 5, 2016, 2:29 pm

      Hophmi has been exceedingly clueless for a longish time but this gets the cherry:

      what about Islamic nationalism?

      Nobody told poor Hophmi in his Zionist bubble that the “Nation of Islam” is a very small sect of Americans revolting against American conditions.

      Nobody told poor Hophmi that Islam officially and harshly opposes nationalism –seeing it as the antithesis of the Ummat the collective of believers that should not be divided by nationalism.

      Nobody told poor Hophmi that Islam, or any other religion, is unlike how his Ziowashed mind imagines the Jews, i.e. as a racial characteristic.

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