Tuesday, April 2, 2024

MAGA Antisemitism; Candace Owens' Dog Whistle Gets Louder


Image source the New Yorker

MAGA antisemitism part two.


As previously mentioned, as my book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype makes clear, you can't understand antisemitism in Poland unless you understand antisemitism period. If you want to understand how accusations of antisemitism against Poles are treated in the West, you have to understand how accusations of antisemitism against any group, for example blacks or Trump supporters or black Trump supporters are treated in the West.


In a previous post entitled "Candace Owens, Antisemitism, and American Conservatism," I talked about Candace Owens' antisemitism. Since that post, Candace Owens has posted a new post that I would like to discuss here.


On April 2, 2024, Candace Owens tweeted, "President Zelensky sure is behaving like a Bolshevist. How many more Christians will he conscript to death?"


Here Candace Owens is repeating a very ugly and deadly antisemitic trope.


It goes like this.


First, this trope is a reaction against the reality of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was very, very bad and very ugly. Witnessing the horrors of the Holocaust, even in just a newsreel or a book or a museum, made many antisemites think twice about their beliefs. Wow, this is where hate leads, they realized. Six million innocent and defenseless men, women, and children murdered just because of their identity. Bad!


To keep antisemitism alive in the face of such horror, antisemites came up with a counter narrative. In this counter narrative, which is not true, and this is the idea of antisemites, as they would put it, "Communism is Jewish. Communists murdered Christians. This murder took more lives than the Holocaust. So this Communist massacre of Christians cancels out any respect due to the Holocaust."


This narrative is false. Yes, at times and in places – but not at all times and not in all places – Communism was disproportionately Jewish. But most Communists were never Jews, and most Jews were never Communists.


Remember, Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the KGB, was once a Polish Catholic nobleman. Joseph Stalin received a scholarship to study at a seminary to be an Russian Orthodox priest. Lenin's devout father had him baptized. Mao, who murdered more than Stalin, was not Jewish. The Khmer Rouge, whose genocide took the lives of 21% of the entire population of Cambodia, were not Jewish.


Marx was of Jewish ancestry, but there were Communist thinkers and doers before Marx. So, no, Communism is not Jewish.


"Communists murdered Christians" is only partially true. Communists murdered Jews. Communists murdered Muslims – see for example, here. The Khmer Rouge persecuted Buddhists. In short, Communists persecute anyone who has an identity that might interfere with Communist power. And sometimes Communists persecuted people just because they are in the way of some Communist boondoggle. Bieganski cites an article that talks about Communists in Poland oppressing windmill operators. Why windmill operators? Why not? People who wear glasses, people who collect stamps – all have been persecuted by Communists.


Yes, Communists murdered Christians. Communists murdered a lot of others, too.


There's one more antisemitic trope in Owens' tweet. "President Zelensky sure is behaving like a Bolshevist. How many more Christians will he conscript to death?"


Owens' tweet relies on an understanding of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky as not Ukrainian. As an outsider. As a deadly force. As an enemy of Christians. Why does Owens understand Volodymyr Zelensky that way? Because, in the mind of an antisemite, Zelensky is Jewish, and, therefore, he is an outsider, he is a deadly force, he is Communism personified, he is an enemy of Christians. This is a sick, evil, false and dangerous antisemitic trope. Owens should be required to renounce it, or to be excluded from decent society.


Why do I associate Owens' tweet with MAGA? Because antisemitism has been a feature of MAGA. Because any visit to online discussion boards reveals that the Venn diagram that shows overlapping populations shows that many of the folks who believe the above antisemitic trope are also Trump supporters, although they feel that Trump has not gone far enough.


No, not all Trump supporters are antisemites. Probably most Trump voters are not antisemites. And yes, there is plenty of antisemitism on the left, in the Democratic Party, in Christianity, etc. This post addresses one slice of antisemitism, that is, a kind of antisemitism found among some, not all, Trump supporters.


  1. Is this a question of "just a few individuals" acting in isolation from each other, or is this a question of some form of collective responsibility? Let's have no double standards.

    So long as Jews have no problem collectively blaming Poles for everything negative in Polish-Jewish relations, so long will I have no problem in blaming Jews collectively for Communism.

    1. " blaming Jews collectively for Communism."

      Not only is this stance morally wrong, it is factually incorrect. And please don't attempt to "support" this stance in a subsequent post. I don't want to post antisemitic material here.

  2. Two thoughts about Candace Owens - who I only know from your blogposts.

    Firstly, how fortunate she is to be that photogenic in an image-obsessed age.

    Secondly, if the trope you quoted is in fact "a reaction against the reality of the Holocaust", then at least she can't be blaming us Poles/Polonians for it!

    That is a bonus, media wise.

    And Candy, in case you are listening in, may I answer the question you ask: "President Zelensky sure is behaving like a Bolshevist. How many more Christians will he conscript to death?"

    The answer is: None. Christians - famously - are to "lay down" their swords, and to do good to all, even to their enemies. Now, President Zelensky could persecute Christians for refusing conscription, as many rulers have done, but as far as I am aware, he is doing no such thing. For which I commend him.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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