Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano poses with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)
By Jay Bookman
We should talk a bit about Nick Fuentes, the far-right leader who recently dined with Donald Trump and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago. News accounts have described Fuentes as an anti-Semite, but that does not fully capture the vileness of the man or the danger that Trump courts by giving him credibility.
According to Fuentes, American Jews are disrespectful ingrates who need to show more humility toward Christian Americans who have so far allowed them to be in this country. He admits that anti-Semitism has a history of erupting quickly into something ugly and violent – he’s actually happy about it, calling it the “silver lining” of anti-Semitism – but also argues that “there’s a reason for that, and the reason is them, OK?”
In other words, it’s the Jews’ fault.
“When it comes to the Jews, every society where the sh– has gone down with these people, it always goes from zero to 60,” Fuentes says. “It never starts with ‘they’re burning all the Talmuds in Paris,’ OK? It never starts that way. But frequently, it seems to end that way, and it gets there very rapidly.”
Fuentes says such things not in horror, but with the anticipation of a child awaiting Christmas. And just as Jews are responsible for causing anti-Semitism, in his mind they are responsible for stopping it too.
The Jews, he says, “had better start being nice to people like us. Because what comes out of this is going to be a lot uglier for them and a lot worse for them than anything that’s being said” on his show. And by being “nice,” he means among other things that Jews should stop talking about the Holocaust.
“I’ve heard enough about this Holocaust, I’ve heard enough about it. I don’t want to hear one more time about it. …. You want to hear about a Holocaust, how about Jesus Christ being crucified? That was a real Holocaust.”
Clearly, such a man should not be dining with a former American president. Trump has tried to claim that he did not know who Fuentes was, that he was an uninvited guest whom West had brought along. That isn’t much of an excuse, given that West, also known as Ye, is himself an avid and by now well-known anti-Semite with whom presidents should not dine.
Furthermore, and most telling, if Trump finds such ideologies repulsive and hateful, all he has to do is say so. He has not shown himself a shy man; when he disagrees with people he doesn’t hesitate to put them on blast. Yet in this case he has remained silent. At minimum, he acts afraid of offending and alienating Jew haters, because he wants their continued support.
Others in the Republican Party and conservative movement also seek that support. And it’s not just Trump of course. Earlier this year, Georgia’s own Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke at a political convention that was organized and hosted by Fuentes, who introduced her to the crowd by lauding the leadership of Vladimir Putin.
She got a huge applause. Like Trump, Greene brushed aside criticism of her appearance with Fuentes by claiming not to know about his ideology, as if she makes a habit of accepting speaking invitations to unfamiliar groups.
And of course, Greene has her own well-documented history of anti-Semitism. In 2018, for example, she “speculated” that the wildfires then ravaging California had been started with space-based lasers deployed by the Rothschilds banking family as part of a plot to destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of real estate so they could buy it more cheaply.
Wacko, but that’s what she said. As recently as June of this year, Greene announced that she had hired another far-right figure with a long history of anti-Semitism, Milo Yiannopoulos, as an unpaid intern in her congressional office.
As it turns out, Yiannopoulos plays a bit role in this latest controversy involving Trump. During the Mar-a-Lago dinner, West told Trump that he too was contemplating a run for president in 2024, a discovery that Trump did not take well and led to some friction. Afterward, West’s spokesman and campaign manager attacked Trump, accusing him of “continuing to suck the boots of the Jewish powers-that-be who hate Jesus Christ, hate our country and see us all as disposable cattle according to their ‘holy’ book.
“We’re done putting Jewish interests first,” the spokesman said. “It’s time we put Jesus Christ first again in this country. Nothing and no one is going to get in our way to make that happen.”
That spokesman was Greene’s former intern, Yiannopoulus. That’s the type of person with whom Greene chooses to surround herself.
In a healthy political climate, continued association with vicious anti-Semites would get a person “canceled,” to borrow a term. In Greene’s case, her presence in Congress is a humiliation and embarrassment for Georgia, but it doesn’t seem likely to change. Despite her behavior, or more likely because of it, she is highly popular in her district, defeating a qualified, well-funded opponent by more than 30 points.
And even after her appearance with Fuentes, Georgia Republicans have rushed to bask in her popularity. Herschel Walker, for example, campaigned alongside Greene in late October, an association that he needed far more than she did.
Fuentes is right: Historically, anti-Semitism goes from zero to 60 very quickly. And while I can’t see the speedometer from where I’m sitting, we’re a long way from zero, going faster in a bad direction than I ever would have thought possible, and we’re picking up speed.
>Jay Bookman is a columnist for the Georgia Recorder, a sibling site of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this column first appeared.
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