Alt-Right Leaders: We Aren’t Racist, We Just Hate Jews
Bad news, Jews: You don’t get to be part of Richard Spencer’s white ethno-state.
In a windowless room in a swanky hotel half a block from the White House on Friday afternoon, three of the most visible leaders of the alt-right movement held a two-hour press conference to discuss their affection for Donald Trump and their hopes for a white homeland. The white supremacist alt-right movement has grown over the last eight years or so, incubated in racist forums like StormFront and meme-loving corners of the internet like 4chan and 8chan. Its members generally share a disdain for political correctness, feminism, zionism, Jews in general, immigration (especially Hispanic and Muslim immigration), and anyone who criticizes them for holding these views.
And the alt-right won substantial mainstream media attention when Hillary Clinton gave a speech last month excoriating Donald Trump for some of his staffers’ ties to it. Clinton’s team zeroed in on the campaign’s new CEO, Steve Bannon, who formerly helmed a website that he himself once described as “the platform for the Alt-Right.” And prominent alt-right figures, including two of the men who helmed Friday’s press conference, told The Daily Beast last month that they were delighted Trump hired him.
Many reporters have been hesitant to give the alt-right much media attention. But since Clinton made their existence part of her anti-Trump campaign pitch, there’s significant public interest in who they are and what they believe. And they’re loving it.
The three alt-right leaders who gathered in D.C. this afternoon made two things very clear: They think white people are genetically predisposed to be more moral and intelligent than black people, and they do not want to share their envisioned utopian ethno-state with folks of the Jewish persuasion. There’s some disagreement in the alt-right on what they refer to as “the Jewish question.” But the big take-away was that Jews are suspicious.
Jared Taylor, who founded the white supremacist American Renaissance site, explained the alt-right as predicated entirely on the belief that some races are inherently superior to others—the movement, he said, is “in unanimity” in rejecting “the idea that the races are basically equivalent and interchangeable.” There are genetic differences in race that make some races more ethical and intelligent than others, he said. That’s what the alt right is all about.
“They also differ, as a matter of fact, in the patterns of the microbes that inhabit their mouths,” he said.
Thus, he continued, we shouldn’t expect black kids to do as well in school as white kids.
One more alt-right platform plank: that white people, as a group, have discrete interests that are different from other races, and that they should push for those interests. In practice, this means the alt-right thinks school integration was bad and apartheid was good. Later in the press conference, Taylor said he thinks white people are more moral and more intelligent than black people.
Despite all this, alt-right leaders bristle if you call them white supremacists.
“You could very effectively argue that East Asians are objectively superior to whites,” Taylor said. “Does that make us yellow supremacists? I don’t think so.”
White supremacists, alt-right leaders argue, think white people are the best race. The alt-right doesn’t necessarily think that, they say; instead, they say they just want white people to have their own homeland.
With no Jews.
Spencer in particular fixates on the homeland idea.
The alt-right needs to aspire to something, even if that dream won’t come true in his lifetime—and that means they should aim to build an ethno-state for just whites. And Spencer made it clear that white-only means Jews aren’t invited. They have their own identity, and it isn’t white-slash-European, and that’s that.
“Jews are Jews,” he said.
He added that his whites-only utopia would still have a good relationship with Israel.
These people (I hope) sound sad and racist and antisemitic and deeply confused to you. But they don’t sound that way to Breitbart, the right-wing news site to which Trump has given countless exclusives and from which he pulled his new campaign boss. The site has seen its traffic skyrocket over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, rapidly gaining clout in the conservative movement and among Trump-loving voters. The site says it had 31 million visitors in July. And in March, it ran a piece describing Taylor, Spencer, and their ilk as “fearsomely intelligent,” and praising them for speaking truth to power or whatever.
So the alt-right—helmed by the trio who gathered at The Willard on Friday—is the most extreme example of a shift on the American right: away from a nostalgic conservative focus on restoring the values of the Founders, and towards a forward-focused nationalism that prioritizes drastic limits on immigration and open hostility to globalism. Trump isn’t a white nationalist. But he speaks their language. And they dig it.