Friday, March 29, 2024

Candace Owens, Antisemitism, and American Conservatism


My book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype shows that one cannot understand antisemitism in Poland or Eastern Europe without also understanding antisemitism anywhere else. Singling Poles or other Eastern Europeans out as "the world's worst anti-Semites" distorts rather than clarifies. It is morally corrupt, and it is cowardly. Demonizing Eastern Europeans harms, not helps, any efforts to address antisemitism. If we want to resist antisemitism, we must begin in our own backyards, and then address the rest of the world. Antisemites worldwide tend to have more in common than not.


The Candace Owens antisemitism scandal highlights a problem on the American right. Under Trump, the right abandoned traditional values like intact families, personal responsibility, and lower taxes. The right embraced a convicted rapist, business cheat, and foul-mouthed bully. In its support for a demagogue, the right opened the door to horrors, including misogyny, xenophobia, and antisemitism. Of course there is antisemitism on the left, but under Trump, antisemitism on the right is becoming more prominent. Candace Owens is just one manifestation of that.


Note: in the past, I have praised a film Owens made about the George Floyd death. I would still praise that film today. It's a good film, and its value is not compromised by other bad things Owens has done.


Candace Owens is a 34-year-old American media figure. Owens was born with movie-star good looks, she voices contrarian and often conservative political commentary, she's an ambitious egotist, and she is black. And that's why she has a career. Her ethnicity, her youth, her attractiveness, her drive to promote herself, combined with conservative opinions are the reasons she has any audience at all. The right, as well as the left, practices affirmative action in hiring.


Owens has said some really clueless things, and she becomes furious and she lashes out to wound others with false accusations when she is called on her clueless statements; see here. One of her most clueless statements was her comment about Hitler.


In 2018, in a public forum, Owens was asked about the terms "globalism" and "nationalism." She responded,


"I actually don't have any problems at all with the word 'nationalism'. I think that the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don't want. Whenever we say 'nationalism' the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. You know, [Hitler] was a national socialist, but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine. The problem is that he wanted—he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. That's not, to me, that's not nationalism."


Owens' Hitler statement does not reflect the most basic understanding of Hitler, or the term "globalism," or the term "nationalism." When Owens is confronted about this embarrassing and irresponsible statement, she turns furiously on the person pointing out her blunder, and insists that that person is motivated by personal wickedness. Her gaslighting and DARVO approach reflects badly on her character. She can't take responsibility. She lashes out irrationally. She blames others for her failures and tries to smear their character. You can see an example of that here.


Owens has questioned the moon landing. She insists that Brigitte Macron is really a man. "I am," she said, "willing to stake my entire professional reputation on the fact that Brigitte Macron is in fact a man... The implications here are terrifying."  


At one point, Owens worked briefly for Dennis Prager, an observant Jew. He criticized her support for antisemite Kanye West. Owens called Prager and yelled at him, saying, "I'm not playing this game with the Jewish community again."


Owens claimed that Muslims in Jerusalem are forced to live in a "Muslim quarter" and that that proves that Israel is not a free country. From the Daily Beast: "As she tried to criticize Israel for this non-existent policy, Owens likened the 'Muslim quarters (sic)' to that of the segregated south, where her grandfather grew up. 'When I'm walking through Jerusalem, and you see, and they say 'these are the Muslim quarters, this is where the Muslims are allowed to live,' that doesn't feel like a bastion of freedom to me,' Owens said."


Owens called Israel's self-defense "genocide" and argued that America should not help Israel financially. Owens also made false claims about the first lady of Ukraine. She addressed Ukraine's president: "We want nothing to do with you. Stop stealing from our people while your wife drops tens of thousands of dollars shopping in Paris. Despicable."


She condemned what she saw as a "sinister" Jewish gang in Hollywood that harms and kills people, including black entertainers Sean Combs, Michael Jackson, and Kanye West. "What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood, if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism?" You can read Owens' particular antisemitic conspiracy theory here.


Candace Owens liked a post that accused a rabbi of being drunk on Christian blood.


According to the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right think tank, Owens began as a liberal, and became a conservative. "Less than a decade ago, she was an unknown college dropout working as a marketing professional in New York, writing pieces for her company’s website about the 'bat-shit crazy antics of the Republican Tea Party.'"


The conservative Daily Wire hired Owens four years ago. Ben Shapiro is that outlet's star, and he is an observant Jew. I thought that a partnership between an observant Jew and a woman who had made questionable comments about Hitler would not last long. But I realized that, again, Owens is young, very pretty, black, conservative, and highly ambitious, and the Daily Wire was ignoring the Hitler comment because of the other qualities Owens brought to their site. But of course eventually Owens' antisemitism became too much for Daily Wire and they let her go.


Ben Shapiro criticized Owens' anti-Israel stance as 'disgraceful.' The AEI reports, "she took the feud public on social media, posting Bible verses, including Matthew 5:9, which states, 'No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.'


Shapiro responded, 'Candace, if you feel that taking money from The Daily Wire somehow comes between you and God, by all means quit.' Owens misrepresented Shapiro’s response while simultaneously casting herself as a Christian martyr: 'You are utterly out of line for suggesting that I cannot quote biblical scripture. The Bible is not about you. Christ is king.'"


This is classic Owens. She habitually makes inflammatory or simply stupid and false statements. She then mischaracterizes anyone who points out the problems in her many stupid and malicious statements. Ben Shapiro never said that Owens "cannot quote Biblical scripture." She's lying and she's fomenting hatred against her Jewish boss. On adding "Christ is king," Owens is trying to recruit Jesus Christ to her team in her war against Jews.


Daily Wire commentator Andrew Klavan is of Jewish ancestry. He's been a Christian for twenty years. Klavan is charming and funny. He's also a propagandist, misrepresenting opposition to Trump. And he hates feminism. So he's got some good qualities, but his support for Trump, his demonization of those who oppose Trump, and his misogyny are his own sins, the kind of sins that lead American conservatism to get into bed with xenophobes, antisemites, and people who are okay with an unrepentant convicted rapist in the Oval Office.


Klavan's sins have caught up to him. I don't rejoice at this.


As a Christian of Jewish ancestry, Klavan felt it necessary to address the Candace Owens controversy. His comments are heartbreaking and poignant. He appears to come close to tears. To sum up, Klavan says that Owens' antisemitism is bad, and all antisemitism is bad. He says many more important things, but I'll let you watch his commentary for yourself, here.


I didn't read all 5,000 of the comments under Klavan's beautiful and heartfelt commentary, but I read some. The ones I read are antisemitic. Some samples, below, cut and pasted, not edited.

·         I'm DONE with "CONSERVATIVE JEWS".. its an OXYMORON at this point.

·         utter SATANISM.

·         Andrew is pretending to be a Christian

·         Bud light the daily wire [This post is calling for a boycott that will economically destroy the Daily Wire.]

·         If you call me anti-Semitic, you have condemned yourself and all those you have influenced. The Times denied the Ukrainians' death through starvation 10 million through the years of Stalin and Lenin. Oh, wait claims of this was called Anti-Semitic,  the anti-Semitic grift has lost all credibility

·         You claim to be a Christian

·         Jews Supporting jews And making excuses for them? Who knew!!!

·         What God loves, a Jew discards.

·         the Daily Wire is in danger of losing many followers of Christ

·         you are completely full of it!!!

·         Go get right with Jesus

·         your race abandoned God

What does this outburst of antisemitism say about antisemitism in general or Polish or other Eastern European antisemitism?


Antisemites are an international phenomenon, not limited to one country. Antisemites worldwide have more in common than not, including, of course, hatred, but also paranoia, stupidity, belligerence, irrationality, and muddled thinking. I'm sure Candace Owens has a lot in common with, say, Grzegorz Braun, the Polish antisemite who sprayed a menorah with a fire extinguisher.


The Republican Party, and the Daily Wire, made a deal with the devil when they got into bed with antisemites. Andrew Klavan, when I read all those antisemitic comments under your YouTube commentary, I felt so bad for you I sent you a personal note of condolence. OTOH, when you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

1 comment:

  1. I have followed the issue of recent antisemitism in some detail and am taken aback by those Jews who argue that antisemitism is a right-wing phenomenon versus those Jews who argue that antisemitism is both a right-wing and left-wing phenomenon.


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