According to the Main Stream Media consensus, Breitbart.com, a site
named after a Jew (Andrew Breitbart
) whose CEO and President Larry Solov is an Orthodox Jew,
is now an openly anti-Semitic publication. Its sin: posting an article by well-known Jewish conservative David Horowitz
accusing another Jewish conservative
, Bill Kristol, of being a “Renegade Jew” for opposing Trump. Horowitz's argument: the “Never Trump” movement weakens the GOP,
which he says is all that stands “between the Jews and their annihilation, and between America and the forces intent on destroying her” [Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew
, May 15, 2016]
Not exactly Der Sturmer
. Reading the responses to this piece, however, one would think Breitbart had committed
a blood libel
against Kristol.. A few examples from the Left:
- FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten Tweeted that “ Whatever line was left by Breitbart has now been crossed. Straight up anti-semitism there. My goodness.”
- The New Republic's Jeet Heer claimed that Breitbart has moved Republican bigotry from “a dog whistle” to a “screeching train whistle” using a “deployment of anti-Semitic tropes (a shadowy, wealthy, elite group led by the Jewish Kristol is trying to thwart the will of Republican masses).” [Breitbart’s “renegade Jew” headline is a perfect example of how Trumpian rhetoric works., New Republic, May 16, 2016.]
- Michelle Goldberg [Email her] while acknowledging that the piece was objectively pro-Jewish, accused Breitbart of playing a “double game, covering anti-Semitism with a tacky sheen of philo-Semitism,” because to “define someone as a ‘Renegade Jew’ in a column about scheming elites written for an audience full of white nationalists is to signal to the sewers.” [Breitbart Calls Trump Foe “Renegade Jew.” This Is How Anti-Semitism Goes Mainstream., Slate, May 16, 2016]
And, of course, Conservatism Inc. was more than willing to pile on:
- Conor Friedersdorf [Email him] echoing Heer, claimed “That isn’t an anti-Semitic dog whistle—it’s a human whistle. You’d have to be deaf to miss it. And no, it doesn’t matter that the author of the article is himself Jewish.” [Breitbart's Anti-Semitic Attack on Bill Kristol, The Atlantic, May 16, 2016]
- Similarly, Red State’s Ben Howe [Email him] Tweeted “I apologize to every lefty I ever laughed at for saying “racist dog whistle.” They’re real. They’re used. And they’re gross.”
- Former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro (more on him below) kvetched, “since my departure, they’ve become something far worse than Trump’s Pravda – they’ve become a cite [sic] that openly panders to alt-right anti-Semitism and soft white supremacism.” Hilariously, Shapiro cites the pathetic cuckservative Jack Hunter as an erstwhile right wing extremist who couldn’t take their bigotry, “It’s gotten so bad that even Jack Hunter, former paleoconservative, has written how the alt-right supported by Breitbart ‘turns you into a racist asshole’” [Breitbart, ‘Renegade Jews,’ And The Anti-Semitic Wing Of The Trump Movement, Daily Wire, May 16, 2016]
Almost all these complaints focus on Horowitz’s using the term “Renegade Jew” in his headline (which in a defiant follow-up he confirms he wrote himself— Horowitz: No Apologies for Calling Bill Kristol ‘Renegade Jew’
, May 16, 2016). Merriam-Webster defines
renegade as “a deserter from one faith, cause, or allegiance to another.” Horowitz was clearly calling Kristol a Jew who deserted the Jewish faith and people. However, without any context you might see it as meaning a Jew who was a renegade to America. At worst, then, the title was intentionally provocative—mission accomplished. But the idea that this was naked anti-Semitism is absurd.
Personally, I think Horowitz’s argument is lacking. While Horowitz may believe that Trump is the best candidate for the Jewish community, the vast majority of Jewish institutions and personalities
from the neoconservatives to the far Left have been hysterically anti-Trump
. Trump, of course, has surrounded himself with Jews, his own daughter converted, and many prominent Jews support him. Nonetheless, being a pro-Trump Jew is clearly a minority position.
Furthermore, as an American Jew
who does not believe that America’s strategic interests always align with the Likud Party, I don’t share Horowitz’s fear that Hillary will be insufficiently bellicose against “Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS, and Hamas,” who he claims have all “openly sworn to exterminate the Jews.” In fact, ISIS is fighting against
Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, while it has largely left Israel alone.
That being said, the Left and neoconservatives themselves have regularly accused Jewish Trump supporters of betraying their ethno-religious cause. For example, after Breitbart published a sympathetic
profile on the Alt Right by Milo Yiannopoulos
(whose mother is Jewish), John Podhoretz
tried to shame Jewish Breitbart staffers, particularly Solov and Senior Editor Joel Pollak:
(“Shondeh” is Yiddish for "a great shame.")
So why is this provocative, but obviously not anti-Semitic headline, causing such hysterics?Because, along with the Drudge Report, Breitbart has been alone as one of the few established outlets on the Right not openly anti-Trump
Since Trump announced his candidacy, Breitbart has treated him fairly, though it still was positive to other candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Overall, Breitbart was far less pro-Trump than National Review, The Blaze
, Conservative Review
, Independent Journalism Review
or any other typical Conservatism Inc. outlet was anti-Trump.
Due to a combination of anger at the Breitbart ’s refusal to toe Conservatism Inc.’s Party Line and jealousy—perhaps not coincidentally, Breitbart has solidified its position as the most popular conservative content provider on the internet—it has been mocked as “Trump’s Pravda”
At the same time, many Breitbart staffers were typical Conservatism Inc. hacks
who became upset that the site was insufficiently anti-Trump.
Rather than simply put up with the site’s editorial policy or resign, they seized on an even bigger non-story: Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's allegedly jostling Michelle Fields
, Fields, and four other Breitbart Staffers—half of them Jewish—quit the publication.
The entire episode was clearly designed to embarrass both Trump and Breitbart, but it failed spectacularly. To any objective observer who saw the videos,
it was clear that, at worst, Lewandowski gently moved Fields’s arm out the way. What was more important than the actual story was how Fields, Shapiro, and the other staffer coordinated the attacks with their friends at Leftist websites like Buzzfeed and the Daily Beast.
As an outside observer, I think “jostle-gate” actually helped Breitbart by freeing it from self-interested hacks like Shapiro and Fields. Hopefully these new self-evidently false accusations of anti-Semitism will further embolden the site to free itself from the albatross of Conservatism Inc
Dare I say—Breitbart may become a Renegade!