I think the important thing to understand about antisemitism as a political factor is that its not coterminous with "Jew hatred", it's a particular type of obsessive preoccupation and fantasy about the presence of an alien force in the national body
It's difficult to understand the type of politics being practiced by Tucker, Vance, Hawley et. al. without understanding the history of antisemitism. Jews were not just singled out as Jews, but filled a structural role as the cause of various maladies, liberalism, socialism, etc
Antisemitism was a synthesis of reactionary ideals and myths, it focused the tangled problems of society onto a single, identifiable enemy figure
Americans don't actually have much experience with political antisemitism and so for the most part only understand explicit negative prejudicial treatment of Jews, which is fortunately pretty rare in the US. So have trouble understanding when things are redolent of antisemitism
Unfortunately trying to identify the appearance of more political forms of antisemitism often devolves into sort of quasi-literate "trope hunting", which just makes talk of political antisemitism more phantasmic and hysterical, because it seems to see it in every shadow
Can you be antisemitic without fully intending to be? In some ways, yes, if you're extremely irresponsible like Carlson . I think we can see this in the irritation that more hardcore antisemites have when he seems to be coming up to the line of that sort of talk but not
quite going there. They are flirting with the themes, but unwilling to enjoy it fully in all of its obscenity, to channel Zizek for a moment.
Antisemitism is a much, much weirder thing than "hating Jews", people can be prejudiced against Jews without really being antisemitic in the full sense that its the center of their entire political consciousness
Certain forms of anti-blackness definitely come close in the American experience to this type of antisemitism, where the increasing integration of blacks in the middle class, political office, and popular culture actually accelerates rather than allays racist fears
The difference between political antisemitism and just negative personal feelings against Jews is apparent when you look at the history in Europe: many antisemites had friendly, even intimate, connections with Jews on a personal level but adopted antisemitic politics
So this game of being "well, they can't be antisemitic because they have a Jewish friend etc" or even perversely enough, are Jewish, is not useful. Unfortunately, there are antisemitic Jews or at least ones willing to do work for antisemitic movements
Sartre said antisemitism is not a view, it's a passion, it becomes an existential principle through which to organize one's life, I think that's true, but it's also sometimes a convenient and opportune method of organizing political passions
Look at what Charles Maurras, one of the big anti-Dreyfusard ideologues and nationalists said of it—it allows everything to be smoothed over, arranged, etc. it's useful
So I think in summary whenever there's an effort to synthesize the various perceived social maladies into a single figure of "enemy" antisemitism becomes a possible threat but the history is also an important lesson no matter who or what becomes the ultimate target
One more great quote, from the historian Nancy Fitch, “Dreyfus, the Jewish traitor, appeared almost miraculously in 1898 to save the cause of anti-parliamentarian conservatives.”
I would encourage people to try think of antisemitism as a type of propaganda and politics and not first and foremost as a form of interpersonal prejudice
One more remark, about a recent piece of writing that I actually had a lot of merit, the reason to me to "center" discussions of antisemitism is not to privilege the suffering of the Jews over everyone else, but to use it as a lesson in the way racism functions politically
Here's Michel Winock, a historian I really like
I turned this thread into a more extended piece here johnganz.substack.com/p/some-thought…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with John Ganz

John Ganz Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @lionel_trolling

8 Apr
Yeah well look a minority elected Trump, an obvious moron, and majorities rejected him twice. I think there's proof of concept right there. Not to mention there are very few examples of dictators being acclaimed by democratic plebiscite, rather examples of parties finagling power
The whole aristocratic republican idea that democracy cant be trusted because it will lead to the rise of some kind of unscrupulous demagogue is probably one of the most discredited notions in political theory, we can see it's almost exactly wrong
Factions have recourse to desperate maneuvers for power, but democratic majorities contain with them many interests that have to be balanced and reconciled
Read 5 tweets
8 Apr
i dont know what "infrastructure" means or for that matter what any other word means, but i believe they should jam pack as much nonsense into every bill as humanly possible
lets commit $100 million to studying what the word infrastructure means, form a blue ribbon panel, organize art projects, you name it
i want every spending bill to be a veritable cornucopia of boondoggles and pork until every last citizen is sated
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr
i dont think one should tailor ones writing to the needs of political strategy, because it's pretentious to suppose what you write is of vital and immediate importance to the work of politics and also you end up subordinating intellectual life to imaginary chess moves
of course, there's writing that's explicitly about formulating political strategy and tactics, but it doesn't need to be the focus of every piece of analysis
because works of strategic political writing so rarely directly influence political considerations on a meaningful scale, they become just about political styles, what sort of affect and words and attitude to adopt in the pursuit of politics
Read 6 tweets
8 Apr
I don't really get this argument that says "oh it can't be fascism because no WW1" yes there's maybe not the kind of catastrophe that leads to the overwhelming strength and popularity of such movements, and there's no masses of brutalized men to staff paramilitaries, but
what else should you call a form politics that declares the nation is in some kind of terminal state of decline, is being dominated by alien non-citizens, and requires some kind of redemptive violence and strong leader to recover its former glory?
the idea that conditions need to be precisely the same for certain categories to obtain just makes any kind of categorization impossible, you might as well say well there's not really a left, because they dont literally sit on the left of the National Assembly in 1792
Read 11 tweets
7 Apr
People often say things "the American people are good, but the government and institutions are bad" I disagree, I believe the American people are bad, there is something wrong with all of them
The institutions are a reflection of us as a people, and we are bad
This is not to say "Oh America is the worst country on earth" blah blah, which isn't really a meaningful statement, usually thats just more about Americans trying to maintain their own innocence, which is what we are all about: being bad and pretending to not even know it
Read 4 tweets
7 Apr
Yes exactly, the American people love cheap oil, politicians lost elections over this stuff, they were often responding to political incentives. Also, like low oil prices are great for most of the country but not all regions. Louisiana had a boom time in the 1970s
This is the problem with the whole conspiratorial take on American politics and history: even in their most private counsels politicians are worried about public opinion
deceptive moves are taken to confuse public opinion, but most politicians know they are temporary expedients and eventually they need to deliver a tangible benefit to some constituency. that creates its own problems, where we do short term fixes of structural problems etc
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!