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Why the Right-Wing War on George Soros Matters

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Scott’s recent post opens with a David Weigel tweet, in which Weigel responds to Jeff Flake’s comments about birtherism on Meet the Press.

Per Weigel, Flake’s lament might carry a bit more weight if the junior senator from Arizona had voted against confirming John Bush‘s appointment to the Sixth Circuit Court. But Flake isn’t wrong, GOP officials had a window in which they might have excised birtherism’s racist fantasia of conspiracy theorizing and alternative facts; nothing forced Fox News to promote it. But the Republican establishment decided to ride that tiger of resentment and anger in its bid to reclaim political power after 2008. The cancer metastasized. Trump is a symptom of this failure.

Of course, the cancer that has engulfed the party involves much more than just birtherism. Why do Flake and other Republicans—who, however craven, really are appalled at Trumpism—focus on it? Because Trump used birtherism to launch his political career in the GOP. This suggests an obvious broader lesson: allow these fringe ideas to enter the mainstream at your peril.

On many fronts, it’s not too late. There are numerous festering conspiracy theories and modes of thought at various stages of moving from the right-wing fringe into mainstream conservatism. One is the notion of a “Deep State” out to destroy the Trump presidency. This particular conspiracy theory, which Russian information warfare actively promotes, is extremely dangerous in light of the non-zero chance that Trump—or at least his associates—will wind up being indicted by Mueller.

But I want to focus on a different cancer within the GOP, one that, in principle, it should be easier for responsible parties to vocally and vociferously stand up to: the repackaging of  old-school anti-Semitism under the rubric of “globalism” and attacks on George Soros.

Last week saw a few developments on this front.

First, Stephen Miller—the Jew who makes neo-Nazis smile—attacked CNN’s Jim Acosta as a “cosmopolitan” for pointing out, albeit with a bit of hyperbole, that making proficiency in English a criteria for immigration might have demographic implications.

Second, the Daily Caller published a promo for Dinesh D’Souzza’s new book—un-ironically entitled The Big Lie—in which he runs through the greatest hits of slurs on George Soros. D’Souzza closes with a variation on the claim that Soros was a Nazi collaborator. This time, D’Souzza accuses Soros of being just like Joseph Mengele. Because Mengele’s circumstances were exactly the same as that of a thirteen year-old Jewish boy being hidden from the Nazis by a man who was also responsible for accounting for seized Jewish property.

Third, this happened.

It’s come from all corners. Breitbart News, the website Bannon controlled as executive chairman before joining the Trump campaign, has produced a flurry of negative stories about McMaster over the past two days, accusing him of “purging” dissenters and kowtowing to “holdovers” from the Obama administration. Fox News host Sean Hannity has tweeted about McMaster, saying he might need to go. Radio host Laura Ingraham has also weighed in, tweeting that “Obama holdovers at NSC or State Dept who are leaking shd do real time for these leaks. Why has McMasters fired actual Trump supporters?” The Daily Callerpublished an interview with two former NSC officials attacking him, accusing him of undermining the president’s foreign-policy agenda. Circa, a site owned by the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting company, published a letter Thursday that McMaster sent months ago to his predecessor Susan Rice, in which he informed her that she could keep her security clearance. It’s a standard letter, but it has caused a furor in light of the ongoing controversy over unmasking.

The provocative right-wing blogger and activist Mike Cernovich has launched a sustained attack on McMaster, including setting up a website called McMasterLeaks.com. When it launched, the main page displayed a large cartoon of the Rothschilds controlling a George Soros puppet, which in turn controlled puppets representing McMaster and former CIA director David Petraeus. (The hand labeled “Rothschilds” has since been relabeled “Saudis.” Cernovich told me he changed it because complaints about the cartoon’s anti-Semitism are “not a hill to die on,” and “if everybody wants to complain, then fine—I’ll just put the Saudis at the top.”)

Here’s the original image:

Once controversy developed, Cernovich cropped the cartoon so that we readers couldn’t see who was controlling Soros. Later, he settled on the Saudis as a substitute. Because nothing says “integrity” or “not playing your audience for suckers” like swapping around conspiracy theories on a dime.

Here’s what Garrison writes about it:

We know McMaster and Petraeus met with Soros at the last Bilderberg conference. The question is, why? To drain the deep state we must start with those who are corrupted by globalists such as George Soros, who is sponsored by the Rothschilds.

This cartoon was commissioned by Mike Cernovich who is on top of the matter.

–Ben Garrison

Additional: There is absolutely NOTHING anti-semitic about this cartoon no matter what the ADL says. The head of the ADL is pro-Obama and pro-George Soros, therefore he smears those who criticize them. The Rothschilds have amassed trillions of dollars over the centuries by war and inside machinations. I criticize them for their foul deeds, not their religion. Soros collaborated with the Nazis. The ADL does not get to decide or dictate what hate speech is. If they think they can, then they’re also evil. ’nuff said.

I guess it’s a small victory that people drawing and writing Protocols of the Elders of Zion fanfic feel the need to insist that they’re not being anti-Semitic. That’s often the case now: the relevant discourse is structurally isomorphic with libels against Jews, but it’s ‘merely’ about Soros or ‘merely’ about the Rothschilds. Indeed, as Jennings Brown and Jacob Steinblatt note in a piece chronicling the rise of Soros as a boogeyman in the American right:

Less than two years later, Glenn Beck joined Fox News and made Soros one of his main targets. In November of 2010, Beck dedicated two episodes to exposing the “puppet master” George Soros. With the aid of three giant chalkboards, a wooden pointer, props, literal marionette puppets, and his signature condescending professorial tone, he explained the twisted web of corruption and deceit that George Soros’ “shadow party” (does that sound familiar?) has wound around the American political system. Soros’ ultimate goal, Beck explains, is to build “one world government” and then take power.

Beck concluded by explaining that he himself has stockpiled a year’s worth of food and he encouraged his viewers to do the same. Then Beck said if nothing extreme happens within two years, “mock me all you want.”

Seven years later, Soros still has not taken control of the world. But those special episodes — which were heavily promoted on Fox News — made perhaps one of the strongest cases against a single private citizen to an audience of more than two million Americans.

At the time, Michelle Goldberg, author of “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism,” wrote in The Daily Beast that the program “was a symphony of anti-Semitic dog-whistles. Nothing like it has ever been on American television before.” She states that a lot of Beck’s ideas “only makes sense within the conspiratorial mind-set of classic anti-Semitism, in which Jews threaten all governments equally. And as a wealthy Jew with a distinct Eastern European accent, Soros is a perfect target for such theories.”

Walker believes Soros’ Jewish heritage is the reason he inspires wilder conspiracy theories than other billionaire political donors. “It’s not just everyday Republicans who don’t like him; there are also, for example, anti-Semites, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories can get pretty baroque,” Walker said.

Since the Fox News hosts began dedicated segments and episodes to Soros, the man has become a permanent fixture in right-wing conspiracy theory forums, blogs, and radio shows. In the last six months there have been more than 800 Soros-related posts on the subreddit /r/conspiracy, one of the most popular conspiracy theory forums. A Google search for article about Soros appearing on Infowars.com, turns up about 19,300 results. They range from the obvious (Backstab: Republican Leaders Funded By Soros) to crude (George Soros Craps In America’s Punch Bowl) to apocalyptic (George Soros Is About To Overthrow The U.S. and Trump Pulls World From Brink Of Nuclear War: Soros Outraged)

You may not like what Soros stands for politically—a lot of which involves funding civil-society and human-rights oriented NGOs—but there’s no conspiracy. Indeed, a big reason why autocrats dislike him—and this rhetoric is all borrowed from them—is because he’s an open and public thorn in their side.

So what we’re seeing is the normalization of anti-Semitic tropes and rhetoric in the Republican party. It’s another cancer that’s on the brink of metastasizing; the window of opportunity to excise it is closing.

But I’m not holding my breath. Nothing in recent history suggests that Republicans will do the right thing. Moreover, the peculiar politics of Israel provide real cover here. Maybe your rhetoric is indistinguishable from actual neo-Nazis, but hey, how can you be anti-Semitic if you support Israel’s unfettered hand in the West Bank and unequivocally back Israeli policy in the wider Middle East? Of course, mixing pro-Israel politics with anti-Semitic tropes is nothing new for the American right.

To complicate matters, as Israel backslides, Netanyahu has also not merely targeted Soros but actively sided with right-wing aspiring autocrats.

But Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, raised the stakes in this feud last week when his foreign ministry issued a statement that, in effect, backed a Hungarian government propaganda effort against Mr. Soros and joined its denunciation of him. This contradicted earlier remarks by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Yossi Amrani, who had expressed dismay at the $21-million billboard campaign by the ruling party of Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, that has targeted Mr. Soros for his support of services for refugees and immigrants. The poster campaign, which has also attracted explicitly anti-Semitic graffiti, “evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear,” said the ambassador, referencing the fate of Hungarian Jews in the Holocaust.

The foreign ministry spokesman denied that the Israeli ambassador’s comments “meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros” by Mr. Orban’s government. Instead, the spokesman went on to attack the billionaire philanthropist for “continuously undermining Israel’s democratically elected governments,” by his funding of organizations “that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

Mr. Orban has personally accused Mr. Soros’s operations of “trying secretly and with foreign money to influence Hungarian politics” — a statement that appears to toy with an anti-Semitic trope about Jewish influence and yet strangely echoes the Israeli foreign ministry’s condemnation of Mr. Soros. It takes some gall on the part of Mr. Netanyahu to choose this moment to kick Mr. Soros while he’s down — not only because Mr. Soros is, once again, a victim of anti-Semitism in the heart of Europe, but also because he is being vilified in Hungary for trying to combat the same racist, anti-minority sentiments that led to the Holocaust.

Israel itself is playing with fire here.

Once upon a time, Orban’s praise for Horthy would have caused outcry across party lines in Israel, assessed Mudde, the Dutch researcher, who was in Israel this week. “The time has ended several years ago, when Likud and Netanyahu made the wrong assessment that Europe is anti-Israel and Israel should work with whoever is pro-Israel,” Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, said. “This has led to a formal and informal normalization of relations to the radical right in Europe and a bigger and bigger tolerance for anti-Semitic dog-whistles and historical revisionism by ‘pro-Israel’ forces.” This policy will immediately backfire, he predicted, “as it will weaken Israel’s critique of anti-Semitism or historical revisionism of ‘anti-Israel’ forces.”

Israel’s alignment is one of the stranger dimensions of the rise of transnational ties and rhetorical convergences among national right-wing movements. The effects Cass Mudde alludes to are not limited to Europe; they’re at work in the United States.

If there’s any ground for optimism about the GOP, it’s the anti-Semitism is a growing problem on the left as well—both in the United States and abroad. Perhaps attempts to use it as a wedge issue will encourage some Republicans to get their own house in order? Regardless, this is just one of many fronts that nominally responsible GOP officials and figures need to fight back on if they want to turn back the tide of Fascism Lite™ that’s swallowing their party.—and the country.

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  • Davebo

    I’m looking at “The Left” and not seeing the “growing problem of Anti-Semitism”. Am I missing something?

    • NewishLawyer

      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/faithbased/2017/07/the_chicago_dyke_march_and_chicago_slutwalk_aren_t_anti_zionist_they_re.html

      “On July 13, the Dyke March provided further proof that its
      intersectionality functioned as a flimsy pretense for anti-Semitism. A
      tweet from the group’s Twitter account used the term “Zio,” an anti-Jewish slur popularized by David Duke and his neo-Nazi followers. The Dyke March later sent another tweet apologizing for the insult—and adding,
      “We meant Zionist/white tears replenish our electrolytes.” Indeed, the
      group’s bizarre fixation on Jews frequently manifests itself as
      alt-right–style trolling. This is a mockery of intersectionality, not a
      defense of it.

      It has long been obvious that left-wing anti-Semitism is a problem
      and that an overwhelming abhorrence of Israel often blurs into a
      generalized anger toward Jews. Organizers of both the Dyke March and the
      SlutWalk have not discovered the praxis of intersectionality; they have
      merely dressed up their bigotry in updated argot. Their anti-Semitism
      is not academic or novel but almost depressingly familiar, and we do not
      need to overhaul the progressive worldview to address it. We need only
      remind ourselves that anyone who would hold Jews to a different, higher
      standard is anti-Semitic, full stop. Whether it happens at a far-left
      march or an alt-right convention,
      the creation of special rules for Jews is irrational and wrong. By
      creating a stringent litmus test for openly Jewish demonstrators, the
      Dyke March and SlutWalk did not protect the oppressed. They became the
      oppressors.”

      • wjts

        Not to defend what happened, but the Chicago Dyke March does not immediately spring to mind when I try to think of powerful, prominent liberal/left institutions.

        • NewishLawyer

          Fair enough but it is something that happened and was reported.

          • wjts

            Sure, but the fact that a woman shouted “Nice glasses!” at me from her car a few weeks ago is not evidence for the growing problem of female catcalling.

            • Were those the same glasses as in your profile pic because if so, NICE GLASSES!

              • wjts

                No, they’re not. But they’re still pretty nice.

        • NewishLawyer

          What are institutions that would count? WBAI in New York drove itself to bankruptcy partially by playing stories that alienated and isolated their Jewish listeners. The stories blamed the Atlantic Slave Trade on the Jews, more or less.

          • Big unions, State Dem parties, ACLU or SPLC type Non profits. It seems to be only present in extremly fringe groups on the left, even in sog-whistle form.

            • LeeEsq

              These are some pretty loud dog whistles from the Left fringe.

              • I’d consider the ones Newish lawyer cited as beyond the fringe. But I guess that is kind of just a trick of definition.

                • LeeEsq

                  Its not the fringe part I’m questioning, its the dog whistle part. They are making their opinions known loud and clear.

                • stepped pyramids

                  I think RYP was saying that it’s not present in dog-whistle form in more mainstream groups, not that what’s present in fringe groups is dog-whistle.

                • Not quite. But what I was calling “extremly fringe” should probably be mainstream with reference to the kind of groups like NL’s article mentioned.

                  So real mainline: D party, unions, Left non-profits– nothing anti-semetic as far as I can ascertain.

                  My concept of “fringe left”: berniebros, DSA, some weird Stein types. Yeah there are some dog whistles that come from then re:”anti zionism” occasionally that make me grimace, but nothing like corresponding to the Alt-right.

                  People in NL’s article: Blatant, like LeeEsq says. Though I consider them so far out that I can’t help discounting them as even belonging to the Left. Though, I may be wrong on that and have to think about it, since as wtjs says above: that is No True Scotsman-ing.

                • Hogan

                  But I read about them! In the paper!

                • That’s the most underhanded thing about those conspiracies.

          • destiny

            Many were involved, including Muslims in that slave trade.

        • rm

          The right wing decided to let Bircher-style paranoia, which was once considered an embarrassing fringe among Republicans, to fester and grow because it served them. Eisenhower called this fringe “a few Texas oil millionaires” who were “stupid.” G.H.W. Bush, who was obviously from the Texas oil millionaire wing of the party, still hated the true believer zealots. But now they’ve taken over completely.

          I think anti-Semitism on the left may be most visible now in places like local activist groups and campus activists. I think it’s very scary because I see it growing, and this seed will grow into a pretty damn noxious weed. It hasn’t spread to the formal institutions of liberal politics because the people young enough to fall prey to it are still in the ground-level activist stage of their political involvement. It would be nice if they could get educated in history, and in the complexity of the world, before they grow up and take over.

          • Hogan

            Well. If they graduate to far-left organizing, it won’t matter. If they go into something reality-based like union organizing or community groups. they’ll either learn better or fail miserably. I think we’ll be OK.

          • TJ

            This. There’s no reason to tolerate anti-Semitism or to downplay it . Any anti- Semitism is too much anti- Semitism. I’d hate to see American liberalism become as infested with anti- Semitism as the European left is.

            The Portland murderer was an outspoken Bernie supporter. Clearly not everyone on “the Left” is happy to just send a few dollars to the ACLU occasionally and staff a voter registration booth. We should let his type know anti- Semites are unwanted. (And before any one goes ape shit about connecting Bernie to the Portland murders, I was Bernie voter too.)

            • Cassiodorus

              I’ve heard the claim that the Portland murdered was a “Sanders supporter,” but he entered the courtroom spouting off like a Breitbart comments section…

        • the Chicago Dyke March does not immediately spring to mind when I try to think of powerful, prominent liberal/left institutions.

          Well, of course, that’s what the puppetmistresses want you to think.

      • Davebo

        At first I thought Dyke March was a person!

      • stepped pyramids

        Anecdotes of left-wing antisemitism != “growing problem”.

        • NewishLawyer

          But this is the kind of downplaying that causes Jews to feel unwelcome on both the left and the right. This was a real story. It got reported widely in the media and many did denounce it but the Chciago Dyke March just doubled down and started using blatant anti-Semitic terms from David Duke and mocking their critics on Twitter.

          I guess doubling down is just universal human nature but your response is a No True Scotsman fallacy or close to it.

          • Ithaqua

            No, it’s “the level of X =/= 0 does not imply the level of X is increasing.”

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Exactly. There is certainly antisemitism on the left. And it deserves to be called out whenever it appears. But its existence is not proof of its novelty or its increase.

              • ColBatGuano

                Right. It doesn’t have to be on the increase to deserve our scorn. The left doesn’t need allies like these.

            • rm

              Not proof of its lack of importance either. When does something noxious cross the threshhold from “ignore these kooks” to “call them out lest they keep doing it.”

              • stepped pyramids

                I didn’t say it wasn’t important. Nexon specifically said that

                anti-Semitism is a growing problem on the left as well—both in the United States and abroad

                and I wanted some evidence of that. This kind of antisemitism veiled as anti-Zionism has been an issue on the far left as long as I can remember. It should be rejected wherever it pops its ugly head out. But if there’s actually evidence that it’s increasing that’s a matter for concern that probably needs its own blog post.

          • stepped pyramids

            It’s nothing like a No True Scotsman fallacy. There are antisemites on the left. There were antisemites on the left 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago. If anything, anti-Zionism (which frequently rubs elbows with antisemitism) is a much weaker tendency in the American left than it was in the ’90s and early ’00s.

            • wjts

              Yes. The “No True Scotsman” response to what happened at the Dyke March would be to deny that the Dyke March was liberal/left.

            • CrunchyFrog

              As an older folk, when I hear anti-Semite I think of the stuff my bigoted step father used to rant about jews and greedy and money and cabals and the like. When I talk to young lefties about Israel I don’t here that kind of thing – instead I hear anger and fury about a violent, repressive regime.

              In theory these are very different – one is racist stereotyping, the other is anger at an evil government. But for those on the receiving end of this fury the distinction isn’t always clear, and often the blurring happens on the side of those showing the anger.

              I’m past the point of trying to have answers to this shit. The Israeli government shouldn’t do the shit they do AND people shouldn’t be discriminatory against Jews AND middle eastern and other governments shouldn’t do the shit they do either AND the cases of Jews in power tilting the rules to favor other Jews are bad. All of these things are bad. What the fuck do we do about them.

          • Mooser42001

            “But this is the kind of downplaying that causes Jews to feel unwelcome on both the left and the right.”

            That’s why Jews, both as individuals and organizations, have removed themselves from the American political scene and opted for a life of religious contemplation.

      • The Great God Pan

        It’s no use. Many on the left have decided that anti-semitism and anti-Zionism simply cannot coincide and they will not budge from this position.

        Thus, lighting a synagogue on fire is not an attack on Jews but a legitimate political protest against Israeli policy so long as the arsonists are of Palestinian descent, and chanting “Shoot the Jew! Shoot the Jew!” during a concert by a Jewish saxophonist is not anti-semitic so long as the chanters belong to an anti-Zionist student group, and pulling all kosher-labeled products off the shelves of a grocery store is just part of the BDS movement even if the products aren’t made in Israel, and how dare anyone suggest that is anti-semitic, and on and on.

        And if they do agree that any of these sorts of incidents are maybe a little bit tainted by some slight anti-semitism, nonetheless they are just isolated occurences that cannot count as evidence of a trend, no matter how many of them pile up. But if any of them were perpetrated by neo-Nazis, then of course that would be awful and inexcusable.

        • Ithaqua

          “Many on the left”? Well, I suppose, in a country with 60 million people on the left, you could find “many on the left are actual murderers” too. Many on the left voted for Jill Stein, but I’m not worried about her taking over the Democratic party. The question seems to me to be, are they an important part of what constitutes the “left” politically or are they a fringe that is widely condemned by the left at large? (Or somewhere in between of course.)

          • TJ

            How about this: If we condemn it loudly enough we’ll never have to worry about it being more than fringe…and it will make our Jewish brothers and sisters feel better.

            • Ithaqua

              Condemn it, yes. Stress out over it taking over the left, maybe not.

        • Mooser42001

          “It’s no use. Many on the left have decided that anti-semitism and anti-Zionism simply cannot coincide and they will not budge from this position.”

          Funny how Zionism can’t anticipate and handle that position. It was certainly to be expected.

      • Pseudonym

        Organizers of both the Dyke March and the
        SlutWalk have not discovered the praxis of intersectionality.

        Well, to be fair, neither did Ponce de León.

      • Fiona DeLaMere

        I’m not seeing the growing part. This kind of stuff has happened in fringe-lefty groups forever.

    • NewishLawyer

      There was also a protest where students at CUNY were marching against high tuition and crumbling buildings (which is fine) but blaming it on “Zionist administrators” (which is not fine and a barely hidden conspiracy theory that makes no sense).

      I get that a lot of Jews (especially American Jews who tend to be from European ancestry) just look white. But there are still only 14-15 million of us in the world and anti-Semitism was and is a very real thing even if American Jews are generally well to do and prosperous. There are times within living memory when Jews were denied admission to top universities because of their Jewishness and locked out of certain professions/companies because of their Jewishness. So it is dismaying to see people denounce the Holocaust as “white on white crime.” It shows a shocking lack of historical knowledge on how Europeans saw Jews (hint: we weren’t seen as white.)

      • Did European’s ever have a conception of “white” the way American’s do prior to WWII? I though that was kind of an American export and Europeans always had more specific ethnic prejudices.

        Even in the US, general “whiteness” didn’t seem to be a thing outside the South until the great migration.

        • Hogan

          Um, Andrew Jackson? Draft riots? Indians?

        • petesh

          Take up the White Man’s burden–
          Send forth the best ye breed–
          Go bind your sons to exile
          To serve your captives’ need;
          To wait in heavy harness,
          On fluttered folk and wild–
          Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
          Half-devil and half-child. …
          —Rudyard Kipling, 1899

        • wjts

          There were plenty of European racial theorists knocking around from (at least) the 18th century onward.

          • But their concept of race was pretty plural. They were “white supremacists”, but within Europe they had harsh intra-white ethnic racism as well.

            Colonialism probably had a lot to do with the downplaying of intra-white ethnic racism and move to more emphasis on skin color, now that I think about it.

            Jews seem to have had a singular history of consistent oppression in this regard. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a satisfying explanation of why this is.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              Yeah, early 20th century American eugenists and such usually divided Europeans into Alpine, Nordic, Mediterranean, and Eastern “races.” Take a look at Edwin Black’s “War Against the Weak” for more on the movement.

              • Lurker

                Yep. The main purpose of Finnish international PR was, from 1920’s until -60’s, to dispel the idea of Finns being part of yellow race, which was a an influential minority view held by scientific anthropologists. Instead, the majority of us are classified, by phenotype, to “Eastern Baltic” race, which was really nothing to be proud of in interwar era.

                • LeeEsq

                  There is a semi-amusing/semi-depressing piece of writing from Benjamin Franklin on small the white race is and it really only consists of people from the British islands. He refers to the Swedes as being swarthy in that letter, blonde haired blue eyed fair skinned Swedes.

                • Ithaqua

                  IIRC there were at one time two distinct types of Swedes, the majority stereotype as you have it and a minority shorter, dark-haired type (no doubt largely done away with by the usual processes.) I have no idea why I think this to be true, though, so maybe it’s not.

                • Lurker

                  Yeah. The second one is not really that inaccurate, as it describes rather well most Finns from inland, and also Swedes from Northern parts of the country. And Finland was part of Sweden at the time.

                  This image from 1915, taken in Swedish-speaking part of Finland, near Porvoo is a great example of latter stereotype.

                • Ithaqua

                  Interesting! Thanks!

                • Richard Gadsden

                  I was in Sweden last week. There are lots of dark-haired locals. It’s somewhat concealed by the fact that hair dye is enormously popular, judging by the roots I saw….

                • Lurker

                  You know, not every one in Sweden, even at the time, is blonde. We are fair-skinned in Nordic countries, but if we get sun, we get tanned, and the Swedes Franklin was used to were probably sailors who spent a lot of time in fresh air, and had traversed the triangle route from Africa to North America.

                  For example, personally, I can pass as a local anywhere in Europe and also in Middle East provided I keep silent. My hair and eyes are brown, and yet I hail from so pure Finnish stock that I don’t have a single foreign ancestor at least for seven generations.

                • Hogan

                  Franklin did occasionally travel beyond the Philadelphia waterfront . . .

                • Lurker

                  Indeed he did. However, it was probably easier to see Swedes on the Philadelphia or London waterfront than e.g. in Paris, where any non-upper-class Swede would have most likely been a journeyman or some such blending completely to the crowd. And upper-class people were not part of these stereotypes in the 18th century, as the common theory held that they would probably be offspring of later conquerors, different from the common stock of people.

                • Or the product of intermarriage among nobels.

                • N__B

                  Sure. There were women elsewhere as well.

                • Terok Nor

                  And the Saxons, as I recall. Since Saxony is in eastern Germany, and the Drumpfs hail from western Germany, Trump would be only half white. No whiter than Obama, TBT.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  This was around the time that Anglo and American racist pieces of crap scholars of great seriousity also attempted to make the arguments that Greek civilization collapsed when the Nordic people left Greece (the ancient Greeks were Nordic because projection) and that the Renaissance in Italy started when the Nordic people moved in and started the Renaissance. Barf.

            • Taylor

              Jews seem to have had a singular history of consistent oppression in this regard. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a satisfying explanation of why this is.

              My understanding was that Jews were singled out as The Other in Western history because they could be blamed for the crucifixion of Christ (never mind that the crucifixion was actually done by an occupying imperial force). You could probably date it to the time when Jews ganged up on Paul in a bath and he sought protection as a Roman citizen. Ironically, Paul’s crowd went on to persecute a rival sect that likely included the brother of Jesus.

              • applecor

                I recommend “Constantine’s Sword” by James Carroll on this topic.

              • Origami Isopod

                Before Constantine enshrined antisemitism in law, it was largely antipathy to a rival sect, combined with ambient Roman loathing for “barbarians” who refused to grovel to them.

                • Deborah Bender

                  Although there was also a strain of admiration of Jews (as an exotic group) in pagan imperial Rome, because of several cultural traits that Romans valued highly.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Interesting. Any relevant writings on this out there, either in books or online?

                • Deborah Bender

                  I can’t cite, but in the pagan imperial period Jews actively proselytized and were fairly successful despite the high demands that formal conversion required. This activity popularized some Jewish ideas, rather as Buddhist missionary activity did in late twentieth century America.

                  These are the cultural traits I have in mind; different ones appealed to different segments of the public: 1) Very old, strict, conservative religion with purity regulations. 2) Possession of ancient sacred writings. 3) Strong patriarchal families. 4) Monotheism. Monism, which borders on philosophical monotheism, was trending in late classical philosophy, so in some circles monotheist theology was regarded as an advanced view. 5) Martial prowess. I’m not sure how much this was a factor in Roman views of the Jews, but in the preceding Hellenistic period there were units of Jewish mercenaries, rather like Sikhs under the Raj.

                • LeeEsq

                  There is a lot of debate on how active Jews were in proselytizing. There isn’t a lot of direct evidence but there is a good deal of circumstantial evidence for both yes they were and no they weren’t. What most historians believe now is that Jews didn’t really actively proselytize but there is a community of Gentile God-fearers that were attracted to Judaism’s ethical monotheism but didn’t like the ritual rules like kosher eating. These God-fearers are where the first Christian Gentiles came from.

                • Deborah Bender

                  Definitely agree with you about the Gentile God-fearers. I had them in mind with my remark about Buddhism. In my neck of the woods Buddhism was the default religion for artists, musicians and poets until the 1980s when neopaganism became a thing, and there are many people who meditate, believe in reincarnation, and have a statue of Shiva or the Buddha at home, but aren’t practicing Hindus or Buddhists.

                  (I’m perfectly aware that neopaganism existed before the 1980s, but most people had not heard of it.)

                • LeeEsq

                  Buddhism is an excellent comparison. There was a lot of religious ferment in the Roman Empire and a lot of interest in Mystery Cults from the East. Many people were into Judaism in the same way that people were into Buddhism in the modern West from the Counter Culture onward.

                • Deborah Bender

                  And then some marketing geniuses combined parts of Judaism with a mystery cult and it knocked out all the competition. ;-)

                • LeeEsq

                  In addition to modifying some popular Roman festivals like Saturnalia to make conversion more palatable and plausible.

                • Deborah Bender

                  Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Unless you’re a Puritan.

                • LeeEsq

                  There is also a new translation of the New Testament from Yale University president. The translator more or less decided that what Jesus taught is really something like modern day Orthodox Judaism, a religion of law, moral obligation, and regular worship.

                • Deborah Bender

                  Hmm. I think that may be pushing Jesus’s Pharisaic leanings too far. Of course, I haven’t read the translation you mention. Does it include that fifth gospel?

                • Deborah Bender

                  Can you give the name of the translator? A quick Google search shows the current president of Yale being a professor of psychology. Yale University Press just published a new translation of the NT by someone named Lane IIRC, but the blurbs describing it say nothing about Judaism at all.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Thanks.

                • LeeEsq

                  Most of the enshrining anti-Semitism into law happened under Theodosius and not Constantine.

                • Deborah Bender

                  Picky, picky.

                • LeeEsq

                  Its the way of the pedantic history nut. Its the little details that are important,

              • Lurker

                The problem is deeper than that. The main problem in Christian-Jewish relationship is that these religions present completely different interpretations of Hebrew Bible. For Christianity in general, the fact that Jews did not convert to Christianity en masse was a real theological problem. Jesus is, in Christian thought, the Jewish messiah, and the whole Hebrew Bible is a prediction of His coming. Jewish interpretation of the same scripture rejects the Christian interpretation and presents something that is not compatible with the Christian understanding. This is an unsolvable problem.

                The problem was further increased by the fact that Jews were the only minority religion in most areas of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Both for theological and social reasons, they were complete outsiders, prime targets for persecution.

                • Deborah Bender

                  Very much this.

                • wjts

                  The problem was further increased by the fact that Jews were the only minority religion in most areas of Christendom during the Middle Ages.

                  I wouldn’t say that. Christianization was an extended process, particularly in chunks of northern and eastern Europe. Muslims were not unknown in Southern Europe. And there’s the question of whether or not Arians, Cathars, Bogomils, etc. should be counted as Christians for the purposes of this discussion.

                • Deborah Bender

                  The Arians considered themselves to be Christians and I think the Bogomils did.

                • wjts

                  Yes, but the Catholic and Orthodox Churches emphatically did not consider them to be so.

                • Lurker

                  No. The Nicean-Chalcedonian churches absolutely did consider Arians and even.Cathars Christians. They were heretics, not pagans. In fact, this was nothing good. In Christian theology, forcible conversion has been frowned at but forcing heretics to orthodoxy has always been A-OK. (Forcible baptism has never been considered useful by mainstream theology, though it did happen in the Middle Ages, while St. Augustine gives full support for forcible suppression of heresy.)

                • wjts

                  Aquinas, as I recall, considered heresy as a type of unbelief, particularly unbelief that opposed faith rather than reflected its absence. By putting themselves in opposition to the faith of the Church, heretics also put themselves in opposition to the truth of the Church and could not be considered a part of it.

                • Deborah Bender

                  I don’t think one can consider heretical Christian sects as minority religions for the purposes of the argument at hand. They were either Christian heretics or they were practicing true Christianity and the churches that tried to stamp them out were the real heretics or they were all different kinds of Christians.

                • wjts

                  I disagree. That’s a bit like saying Catholics in post-Reformation Britain weren’t a religious minority because the Church of England was also Christian.

                • Ithaqua

                  I’m not sure that “members of a religious minority” = “members of a minority religion”, but, upon staring at those two phrases, I’m not sure why I’m not sure.

                  Upon further thought, I can see that members of a small sect could be considered a religious minority if their beliefs differed enough from the parent religion, but it’s still part of the parent religion. It’s a matter of degree.

                • wjts

                  It’s also a matter of larger social context. In my town, (to pick an example wholly at random), there isn’t a whole lot of socially salient difference between Catholics and Orthodox Christians. That was not the case in (to pick another example wholly at random) Constantinople in 1182.

                • The remnants of Roman paganism aka “witches” also

                • Origami Isopod

                  There weren’t any remnants of Roman paganism by the time of the “witch” persecutions. They’d been gone for many centuries.

                • LeeEsq

                  The Christians couldn’t really even just outlaw Jewish practices as pagan like they could do with other polytheist religions, which made matters more frustrating for them.

            • Hogan

              Statelessness. See also Roma.

            • LeeEsq

              There is a long history in Western thought of creating an artificial Judaism to act as an antithesis to your system.

              https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Judaism-Western-Tradition-David-Nirenberg/dp/0393347915/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502054727&sr=8-1&keywords=anti-judaism+the+western+tradition

          • Hogan

            Racializing the Celts was as much a part of the Irish plantation as racializing the Indians was part of the Virginia and Massachusetts plantations.

        • Lurker

          We did. The idea that whites were superior was self-evident, and the question was simply which sub-race would be the most superior. This was, indeed, a bit problematic, as any serious anthropologist needed to confess that the population of Western and Central Europe was extremely mixed. The German Nazis answered to this by making up their “Aryan” race that was not really a scientific concept even at its own time.

        • NewishLawyer

          If not in the same words, they had something close to it. Houston Stewart Chamberlain is a prime example. Dr. Karl Leuger, Mayor of Vienna, was anti-Semitic in ways that would be similar to how Steve King and Trump are anti-black and Hispanic. There is the whole Dreyfuss affair and I think you can draw parallels to late 19th and early 20th century Jewish movements in ways that are comparable to Black Lives Matter, especially the more militant ones like Betar.

    • I’m not sure it’s a “growing problem” for the left. It is a problem on parts of the left, and has been for many years. Is it growing? In any case, calling out the left on this issue is complicated by the fact that some people- some powerful people- equate hostility to Israel with antisemitism. What makes it really complicated is that sometimes that hostility does cross the line into antisemitism.

      • Michael

        I think the “growing” part may be not in size but in volume, the way in which anti-anti-Trumpers like Greenwald are more and more comfortable near echoing the lines of the Alt-Right in their criticism of the “neoliberal neocon elite deep state.” And of course, they are anesthized to all critiques of antisemitism, having had it used against them as a way to dismiss their critiques of Israel (plus they support Bernie, of how could they be antisemtic?!?)

    • Veleda_k

      Growing? I don’t know. But there is anti-semitism. A lot of it supposedly founded on opposition to Israel, but it manages to grow beyond that.

      I attended a meeting of a local leftist group focusing on police brutality. During the meeting, one person launched into a Protocols of the Elders of the Zion level rant about the international Jewish conspiracy. She declared the that the Pulse massacre in Orlando was in fact a false flag operation done by Jews.

      Now, when you run an open meeting, kooks can just wander in. I certainly have experience with that. But not only was I the only person who pushed back against her conspiracy theory, but when I brought it up after the meeting, multiple people waved it away and while they admitted that Jews had not killed people in Orlando on that occasion, they were eager to tell me a bunch of other nefarious deeds Israel was up to in the U.S.

      I didn’t go back.

      • stepped pyramids

        This is relevant to what some of us were discussing the other day about “horseshoe theory” and how fringe political groups tend to attract people with conspiratorial worldviews. I spent some time volunteering for a labor group that did direct action and it was clear to me both that the group was doing some good work and that it could have been doing much more good work if the organizers weren’t incredibly paranoid and obsessed with the group being infiltrated and corrupted.

        They at least didn’t get into any stuff about Jews. I have a zero-tolerance policy for that kind of thing. Hell, even the Lyndon LaRouche meetings I went to (I was doing research for a paper) managed to keep the Jew-hate under wraps around the newbies — although it’s certainly in the pile of literature they throw at you.

        • Anna in PDX

          When I first came back to Portland (2006) from living in Egypt, I was wearing hijab and I was accosted by this 9/11 truther group who were openly trying to recruit me through appealing to my supposed anti-Jewish opinions as a Muslim. I was really taken aback to say the least.

    • nemdam

      My impression was that this is a much bigger problem in Europe, and that’s what dnexon is referring to. I don’t follow UK politics, but given the fact that I’ve vaguely heard of some anti-Semitism controversy with the UK left, I assume it’s a real thing over there even if it’s small. And if it’s happening in the UK, let’s just say, I don’t find it hard to believe it’s happening elsewhere.

    • LeeEsq
      • sibusisodan

        Louise Mensch, former Tory MP, fits within the left only by using world class contortions. She’s anti-Trump, but this is not the same thing at all.

        • Gwai Lo, MD

          She’s a nutso opportunist. The money for conspiracy theorist is on the Left since that ground has been well-staked on the Right.

        • wjts

          I’m prepared to accept Louise Mensch as “left” for the purposes of this discussion inasmuch as most of her audience these days leans that way. But her fanbase is, so far as I can tell, markedly smaller than the number of liberal/left folks who think she’s a crackpot.

          • guthrie

            What the fuck do you mean most of her audience leans that way? No left wing person I know would take her seriously; she was basically laughed out of the UK by centrists and leftists, we all know she’s a bit lacking in the brains department.

            • NewishLawyer

              See below. I’ve known way too many people to go for these conspiracy theories and these are people who I would describe as Democrats to the right of the average LGM poster.

            • wjts

              I should probably note that I haven’t looked at it in depth, but the impression I got from looking at the positive comments/responses to a few of her articles is that these were coming from folks like the one NewishLawyer describes (or other folks on the liberal/left end of the political spectrum) who believe (or want to believe) that the Marshal of the Supreme Court is going to issue a Writ of Impeachment to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and the White House Seneschal-in-Ordinary any day now. It’s not a particularly large group, but I think they can be counted as liberal/left.

          • NewishLawyer

            It is always hard to say. The first time I heard of Louise Mensch was when I was in my shared office and a woman in her 50s or 60s was talking about some kind of secret indictment against Trump. The woman had her office decorated with “I’m with her” posters and stickers. Not a Steiner, not a BernieBro but I honest to god Hillary fan.

            I think that there are a lot of liberals out there falling for conspiracy theories in the age of Trump and/or Obama nostalgia.

            • LeeEsq

              I’ve seen similar things on Facebook feeds from Hillary Clinton fans. My belief is that many of the women who were Hillary Clinton’s biggest fans, because first female President of the United States among other things, believe that the 2016 election was stolen from them. It was there time damn it. They are turning towards conspiracy theories in solace but therein lies the hazard.

              • mdupree

                Yeah, sure, lacking context, it sounds crazy, and yet as we speak, a sober Republican is impaneling a grand jury to investigate, among other things, a conspiracy to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign in particular and American democracy in general. When you put that alongside such things as Jewish conspiracies to control all the money or gay conspiracies to turn all the children gay, isn’t it possible to say, “One of these things is not like the others”? It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you.

                The dismissal of women who voted for Hillary Clinton is, among other things, so narrow. The election that was undermined goes beyond the Democratic candidate, beyond the women who voted for her. The election was also stolen from everyone who may not have been excited by Clinton, but who were conscientious enough to vote against Trump. It was stolen from everyone who was gerrymandered into districts so that their vote didn’t matter. It was especially stolen from people who couldn’t afford voter ID. It was stolen from the next generation to have to live under Supreme Court decisions tainted by Neil Gorsuch. It was stolen from the entire institution of the United States on behalf of its most sociopathic minority, their fellow travelers, and Russian oligarchs.

                Diminishing what was done to the U.S. and its small-l liberal allies abroad as a mere conspiracy theory promoted by pouting American females to console themselves is something out of Putin’s playbook.

                • I would like to see this comment making speeches like that on the floor of the Senate.

    • Ronan
      • Anna in PDX

        Most of the perpetrators were Islamic fundamentalists and they might not have been right as to whether the others were leftist or rightist

        • farin

          I wonder how much of the change is an increase in attribution of antisemitism to the left? Because until quite recently I would have identified it as, by definition, a rightwing authoritarian attitude and its purveyors, by definition, rightwing authoritarians. I don’t know if that’s a change in political discourse or just greater sophistication on my part.

    • Mooser42001

      It seems to me that the new antisemitism is a big problem for everybody except Jews. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t affected us much. Apart from the fact that it’s very distressing to think that not everybody loves us absolutely.

  • Deborah Bender

    I notice that the Rothschilds hand is warty and shaded green. Is this a lizard people suggestion?

    • Philip

      Zombie, I think

      • Hogan

        More likely a vampire. Bloodsucking parasite, doncha know.

        • Deborah Bender

          Vampires are pale white.

          • Hogan

            Oh, so the Bram Stoker lobby got to you too, huh?

          • What about Blackula?

            • N__B

              He was pale black.

      • wjts

        I was thinking just generally diseased.

    • applecor

      Right out of the Goebbels style book, I believe.

    • I noticed the pink triangle on its cuff. Or maybe it’s a cufflink. But I don’t think the shape and color are likely to be an accident.

      • Gwai Lo, MD

        The sleeve is pink, cufflink is gold.

        It may have more to do with the pyramid on the reverse of the dollar bill. Might as well pull an existing Freemason conspiracy theory into this conspiracy as well.

        • Are the illuminati and the Freemasons allies or enemies?

          • Wapiti

            Yes.

          • wjts

            Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati in 1776. He joined the Masons in 1777. Connect the dots.

            • N__B

              D-R-I-N-K-M-O-R-E-O-V-A-L-T-I-N-E

          • Gwai Lo, MD

            Depends if they’re on Team Kodos or Team Kang, because ALIENS.

  • NewishLawyer

    There has always been a strain of leftist thought that was anti-Semitic. This strain has existed for over 150 years. More recently, I don’t think the left really knows and some parts simply don’t care about how to classify Jews when it comes to a minority group or not. There have been disturbing tendencies to downplay anti-Semitism on the left when it happens in a kind of “This is bad but you have to give some slack kind of way. Or to try and make it an isolated incident(s).”

    That being said, I don’t think the Republican Party is going to get many votes from Jews. They have been trying since Bush II without success. Their greatest share of the Jewish vote was still abysmal.
    The few Jewish Republicans are the most ardently and serious anti-Trumpers. See Jennifer Rubin (well on the way to having the zeal of a convert for liberalism) and David Frum (not so much but fully aware of the rot in the GOP).

    What is likely to happen is that Jews are going to feel marginalized and unwanted by the left and the right. I’ve seen it happen among my friends where they loathe Richard Spencer and Trump but also see lefties single out Jews and/or Israel in ways that no other group would be singled out.

    • Deborah Bender

      “What is likely to happen is that Jews are going to feel marginalized and unwanted by the left and the right.”

      This is not a new feeling.

      Admittedly, there was a period of about thirty years when young American Jews were less likely to experience it directly. I had to be enlightened by some parental remarks and reading of history.

      • NewishLawyer

        I concur that it was not a new feeling but there are older Jews (as young as the Boomers) who can remember it from their own experiences and those of their parents.

        Hubert Humphrey spent a lot of his early political career fighting anti-Semitism in Minneapolis. Al Franken reflects on this in his early books.

        • Deborah Bender

          I think that because of patterns of immigration and other historical reasons, residual background antisemitism is stronger in some regions of the US than in others, and that it is weakest on the West Coast where I have lived most of my life.

          The thirty year period I am referring to is roughly 1960-1990. During this period, overt antisemitism had been banished from mainstream discourse on broadcast TV and radio, newspapers and Hollywood. The Internet barely existed, conservative talk radio was new, and the channels for getting mass exposure for fringe ideas were limited compared to today.

          William F. Buckley’s efforts to check antisemitic discourse on the Right were still influential.

          The rightward trend in Israeli politics was not as deeply established and Israel’s military dominance in the region was not as obvious, so it was possible for a Jew to be involved in left wing activities without constantly having to defend Israel’s right to exist.

          • applecor

            I mostly agree with this, with one tweak – i believe Israel’s victory in the Six-Day war was very popular across the US political spectrum and helped “normalize” Jews among those Americans who revere military valor, decisively challenging the stereotype of Jews as physically weak and thus dependent on their “wiles”. In other words, Israel’s military dominance c. 1967 was initially a plus, not a minus. Very few Americans, even on the left, thought of the Palestinians as oppressed and the Israelis as imperialists until long after that.

            • Deborah Bender

              I agree with all of that.

        • elm

          It hadn’t disappeared as early as you seem to think. I’m 40, so in the latter half of Gen X, and I grew up in a mostly blue-collar middle class town in Central Jersey. I had pennies thrown at me in the lunch room at middles school and was singled out as a “Christ killer” by neighborhood kids in elementary school. The country club in town where the rich and powerful of the town hobnobbed may not have technically been exclusive, but it certainly discriminated against Jews as well as other minorities.

          The discrimination and bigotry I experienced was never as bad as Blacks, Latinos, and Indians experienced in my town, but I wasn’t considered fully white, either. Sometime in my adult life, I do think I, and Jews more broadly, began to be considered fully white by society at large, slough I also think that is starting to slip away.

          Most of this is the doings of the right, but I agree with Dan that it feels like antisemitism is rising on the left, too, even if I don’t have data to support that feeling.

          • Origami Isopod

            I want to say it was the late ’80s/early ’90s when cheerleaders from Sharon, Massachusetts, a town with a significant Jewish population, had pennies thrown at them when their team was playing away from home.

            • Deborah Bender

              Yow.

          • NewishLawyer

            I’m not that much younger than you and the same thing happened when my predominately Jewish town would go play sports against the non-predominantly Jewish towns.

            But we weren’t denied college admissions because we were Jewish. I can’t think of anyone below 65 who has a story about job discrimination because they are Jewish. Etc.

    • Ithaqua

      I think conflating Jews and Israel is more a mistake than otherwise; it is not anti-Semitic to despise the current Israeli government, regardless of what the current Israeli government would like everyone to believe, and “Israel” as a shorthand for “the Israeli government” is no different than how every other country is usually referred to.

      • NewishLawyer

        Yes and no. There is plenty to criticize about current Israeli right-wing policies but a lot of people seem to veer into very classic anti-Semitic language and tropes when criticizing Israel and they do like they just can’t help themselves.

        How do students learn to criticize high tuition by blaming it on “Zionist admin.” Are there a lot of Jewish professors and admins at CUNY? Probably. Are the students using Zionist as a code for Jews here? Quite possibly.

        • Ithaqua

          I’m not totally disagreeing with you, hence the “more mistake than otherwise.” I was restricting my comment to the impression one might (erroneously) get that you think that singling out Israel for something was itself an anti-Semitic act, as many people actually do think, as opposed to – as you observe – sometimes, but not always, due to anti-Semitism.

        • farin

          For what it’s worth, that CUNY protest appears to have been Students for Justice in Palestine, a single-issue anti-Zionist group with a history of dubious rhetoric, attempting to hijack concerns about funding. It’s still a really offensive tactic, but it’s coming from the usual home of anti-Semitism on the left trying to appear more mainstream. It’s not a case of previously reasonable orgs picking up anti-Semitic rhetoric.

      • The Israeli right and Zionist extremists in the U.S. are happy to perceive, and exaggerate, anti-antisemitism in the U.S. and Europe because it validates their project. That’s pretty straightforward, actually. I somehow wound up on the e-mail list of the Zionist Organization of America and believe me, those people are completely insane.

      • Gwai Lo, MD

        I’m Jewish and 100% anti-Netanyahu and Likud. And I’m definitely anti-corporate.

        But this Rothschilds shit is totally anti-Semetic. I had a friend who was Bernie Bro who eventually converted to Trump. He would share a lot of memes about Anonymous, the Rothschilds, etc. And I don’t honestly think he himself IS anti-Semetic (I’ve known him long enough to judge that), but he’s 100% bought into the political narrative. He’s the only person I’ve ever unfriended on Facebook.

        He is my mental model of how the far-Left has allied with the far-Right.

        • Anna in PDX

          This is true, anti Semitic in using older european tropes like “cosmopolitan,” international finance etc. is very much a thing on the left and it needs calling out.

          • farin

            Wait, I thought the (contemporary, non-Stalinist) left was all about cosmopolitanism?

      • Anna in PDX

        Thanks for this

    • jam

      “What is likely to happen is that Jews are going to feel marginalized and unwanted by the left and the right.”

      If they choose that, I can’t stop them, but it’s a false analogy.

      Yes, there exists leftist anti-Semitism. No it’s not fair to compare the Chicago Dyke March to the U.S. President or the entire alt-Right to a CUNY student protest.

      The issue on the left is, at present, contained and something people push back against. On the right, it’s sitting in the Oval Office.

      • Origami Isopod

        No it’s not fair to compare the Chicago Dyke March to the U.S. President or the entire alt-Right to a CUNY student protest.

        Agreed. You can condemn antisemites on the left while keeping their threat in perspective. Not to mention that “the left” is far broader than those types.

    • Anna in PDX

      See “Jews and/or Israel” is a pretty broad brush though, a lot of people on the left are opposed to Israeli policies and if merely bringing that up is “anti Semitic,” that’s kind of… not ok? Why is Israel not to be subjected to criticism?

      • Joe in Australia

        I don’t think anyone says that Israel shouldn’t be criticised. The problem is that antisemites on the Left use “Israel” and “Zionism” as politically palatable stand-ins for “Jews”, and left-wing movements generally have been unwilling or unable to police themselves for anti-Jewish sentiment when it’s expressed that way.

  • osceola

    Great post. This stuff seems like the newest iteration of stuff that’s been around since the Illuminati conspiracy theory of 200 years ago. Rothschilds? Check. Bilderbergers? Check. In the 1950s the JBS used to ominously intone the term “Insiders” to describe what they now call “The Deep State.”

    These cranks used to get laughed out of serious discourse, and even Barry Goldwater distanced his campaign from most of them. But they have gradually worked their “ideas” into the mainstream through new media AND Republican politicians seeing that these nutjobs vote. So guys like Flake may disdain the nutjobs, but do so silently. I guarantee if Flake and others meet people like this in their district, they just silently nod their heads to whatever gibberish the nuts are saying to them.

    • rudolf schnaubelt

      Did you notice the cartoon Rothschild puppeteer is wearing an Illuminati cufflink? Check it homes.

  • Steve LaBonne

    They can’t drop this stuff. It’s the only tool they have left to square the circle of getting enough people to vote for them while pursuing highly unpopular policies that harm nearly all of their voters. They have become a classic right wing authoritarian party- feel free to insert the f word here if you like- that can’t operate in any other way.

    • ColBatGuano

      I am pretty interested in how they are going to try and sell their “tax reform” package in the fall. It will be, be definition, horrible.

      • Hogan

        They’ve just had practice trying to pass major legislation without selling it at all, and they came pretty close.

        • ColBatGuano

          True, but cutting taxes on the wealthy is far less popular than “repeal Obamacare” was.

          • Paul Thomas

            I find it hard to believe that this is even mathematically possible.

            • farin

              If they had stuck to repealing Obamacare they would have been fine, but they had to try and get rid of the ACA at the same time.

    • Fuckers

      • gyrfalcon

        If the Doughy Pantload wants to write an entire book about the secret Liberal origins of Fucking, I for one would be happy to adopt the label and even provide some reference sources.

        • Liberal Fuckingism: From Ben Franklin to Anthony Weiner

          • Hogan

            I’d go with Eliot Spitzer. I don’t know whether Weiner ever actually did . . . you know . . . thingy.

          • Origami Isopod

            The Trumpkin is the Jew of Liberal Fucking.

  • Hogan

    In every part of the cavern, dwarfs had stopped work. There was hesitancy in the air.This was only one man, after all, and the thought in many minds was: What is someone else going to do about this? It had not yet progressed to: What am I going to do about this?

    • Steve LaBonne

      There truly is a Pratchett quote for every occasion.

  • sigaba

    I love how the Saudis and Rothschilds are basically interchangeable in right-wing propaganda.

    • Hogan

      Full-spectrum anti-Semitism.

    • petesh

      Maybe that’s why Trump thought his Jewish friend could easily solve the Middle East?

    • Paul Thomas

      Not “basically,” literally.

  • Jim Harrison

    In the interest of accuracy, shouldn’t the top sleeve be labeled Karl Popper? The infamous author of the Open Society, the Mein Kampf of Falsificationism, is the true puppet master here. Some one must warn the good people!

    • NeoliberalBanksterCaptainHowdy

      I just love how preëminent philosopher of music Theodor Adorno became a boogeyman.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Could GOP officials have excised birtherism and still won elections? I think white supremacy is far more central to modern conservatism and, especially, Republican electoral success than you suggest in opening of this post. White supremacy isn’t just an unhappy path that conservatives accidentally stumbled down. It is the only pathway to victory for politicians who support policies that are otherwise massively unpopular with the public. Too many folks on both sides of the aisle are still avoiding grappling with this fact.

    • Steve LaBonne

      The Republican Party will either be destroyed in its current form or it will destroy what’s left of our democracy. I just don’t see a third option. And I’m not optimistic.

      • sibusisodan

        Yup. They have had chances to reform, when the stakes were lower, and spurned them.

        The stakes keep increasing, and the habit of going along with all the ghastly stuff is ever more institutionalised. They’re driving into a dead end and accelerating.

      • The end of Republicans or the end of the Republic

        • Oh, I’ll have the former, thanks.

        • DJTBABY

          The end of Democrats for sure.

    • Alesis

      “Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble. We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”
      Avik Roy

      There may be genuine discomfort with this among reformicons but the base is what it is

      • The essence of conservatism is the protection of inherited privileges by the groups that inherited them. Economic conservatism and white nationalism are not nearly as disentangleable as reformicons (or hopeful centrists for that matter) believe.

        People don’t remember just how economically conservative the Southern D’s were, even during the New Deal.

        • gyrfalcon

          The essence of conservatism is the protection of inherited privileges by the groups that inherit them.

          And in principle, as long as the inherited privilege is not a cruel or harmful one, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that so many of the Republican party’s present policies run massively counter to continued economic security for the middle class – income inequality that strangles middle-class wealth, corporate power-grabs that remove job security and personal ability to contest fraudulent business practices, science policies that place fossil fuel profits over the survival of the ecosystem. There are a lot of things the Republican party could be doing to promote actual economic conservatism aimed at the bottom 80%, but in practice it’s all dog-whistles while their actual paymasters get on with the breaking and looting.

          • Hogan

            And in principle, as long as the inherited privilege is not a cruel or harmful one, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

            Except for, you know, the race thing.

            • gyrfalcon

              Except for, you know, the race thing.

              I would be very very surprised to discover any racism anywhere that was not at its core cruel and harmful.

              • Hogan

                If you start from the John Locke assumption that every current distribution of (especially) landed property is where we should start as far as justice goes, then we need to ignore slavery and Tulsa and Rosewood and redlining and all sorts of evil shit that I would REALLY prefer not to ignore,

              • And here we can point out the rhetorical essence of modern conservatism: “Don’t believe your lying eyes–these economic privileges are actually not cruel or harmful, but actually helpful because…(insert bullshit from George Mason econ department here). It’s not racist! It just so happens that these special economic privileges also correlate 98% with race. You’re the real racist because you keep dismissing our “working class” white voters, who aren’t racist themselves–they’re just patriotic and intuitively understand the importance of us keeping our economic priviliges, even if it means they don’t get a living wage or healthcare. God bless them and God bless America.”

                If there’s one positive about the Trump presidency it’s that he’s made this charade transparent to everyone.

          • “There are a lot of things the Republican party could be doing to promote actual economic conservatism aimed at the bottom 80%”

            I’d say they’re doing just that. “Actual economic conservatism” is just as much about keeping the little guy down as much as helping the high ups stay on top.

            • farin

              I guess if they’re conserving the economic momentum of the lower classes, they’re doing it right.

          • Modern conservatism is reactionary extremism disguised as mainstream

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Roy’s recent stint as the point man for the GOP health care push suggests a little white nationalism is tolerable, as long it results in helping your party tap dance all over its dick on national TV for 6 weeks.

      • Paul Thomas

        I don’t know whether this is delusional or he’s just lying. Conservative policies have always polled atrociously; indeed, if people actually voted according to their stated policy preferences, the Republican Party would be a fringe organization clinging to power only in a few barely populated mountain states. Ignorance and prejudice are essential elements of Republican success.

    • NewishLawyer

      I think they could but maybe I’m an optimist. I’ve said it before but the Democrats do suffer from a not-Republican problem and you do have plenty of people who vote and identify as Democratic but would be center-right in a more sane political system. I’ve known Wall Street Lawyers who vote Democratic because they hate the social conservativism of the GOP but these people are not exactly friends of Labour either.

    • BigHank53

      I think white supremacy is far more central to modern conservatism

      It’s not just the white supremacy, though. They can’t give it up, though, for two reasons: the first one is the legacy of the Southern Strategy: without the racists they don’t have enough members. The other reason, and you can see this spilling over into the GOP’s tactics elsewhere, is their absorption of the Religious Right in the 80s. They thought they were just getting some more reliable voters, but they also contracted an utterly inflexible approach to politics. Our position is endorsed by Jesus, which implies that the Democratic position is inspired by Satan. Can’t negotiate with the Father of Lies, can you?

      It’s not the whole party, not yet, but there’s a significant cohort that would rather burn America down than let the Demoncrats run it.

      • AMK

        So much this. The GOP’s embrace of the religious right is by definition an embrace of antisemitism. Fox News got its start by harping on “controversies” like Hanukkah menorahs in public long before any of these mouthbreathers knew who George Soros was. A generation before that it was Goodman and Schwermer getting it in the back of the head alongside Chaney in Mississippi. Same people, same culture, same shit.

      • Lurking Canadian

        I was just thinking last night that there is one phenomenon in US politics where “both sides do it” is true. Partisans of both parties at this point believe that their opponents in the other party are an existential threat to everything that makes America great.

        And both groups are correct. If you think America’s value comes from democracy, human rights and freedoms and opportunity for all, then you’re right: the Republicans are trying to destroy all that.

        If, on the other hand, you think of America as some kind of white-supremacist Christian Zion where the government doesn’t interfere with the amassing of immense personal fortunes, well you’re right too: the Democrats are trying to destroy all that.

        In th currrent state of polarization, every election is the Flight 93 election, for both sides. I don’t know how you get back from that brink.

        • AMK

          The saving grace is that most people’s political views and concepts of American nationhood are not anywhere near as clearly defined. If they were, the country would have split up already. For every person who fits one of your two descriptions here, there are ten who don’t vote or vote on the basis of which candidate they would want to go drinking with.

  • Thanks for this. I’ve found this to be one of the more alarming and less often discussed aspects of the modern Republican Party, and since I’ve been reading Richard Evans lately, it’s particularly unnerving. The parallels are difficult to avoid noticing.

  • MariedeGournay

    God this is so depressing.

    • Deborah Bender

      Here’s a mildly cheerful thought, prompted by the discussion we had yesterday about George Orwell.

      1984 predicts a future in which the entire industrialized world has been absorbed by three hegemonic totalitarian states. These states have created a political ecosystem in which all three survive indefinitely, resistance is crushed and no other kind of society can arise. The novel is incisive in its analysis of the workings of totalitarianism on every scale.

      At the time the novel was written, a great totalitarian state had just been defeated, another had recently increased its territory and power, and a third was arising. Fewer than seventy years later, authoritarian states are as widespread ever, but the great totalitarian systems are no more. Just one totalitarian state exists; it is small, poor, and dependent on its authoritarian neighbor.

      • NewishLawyer

        Semi-OT: I still think 1984 is not what to worry about because there are very few hard totalitarian governments like Orwell describes as 1984. And I don’t know if this is cheerful.

        The things we need to worry about are soft-authoritarianism/quasi-authoritarianism) (which is easy to do) and the Brave New World scenario where too much information and entertainment gives us distraction to anti-democratic government.

        This is why I wince wince when I see Buzzfeed listicles taking Trump quotes and imposing them on pictures of Lucille Bluth. Some quick lulz but the damage is still being done.

  • Philip
  • stepped pyramids

    On the topic of anti-Zionism on the left, the Democratic Socialists of America recently voted to endorse the BDS movement:

    https://theintercept.com/2017/08/06/dsa-democratic-socialists-bds-israel-palestine/

    Yes, I intentionally linked to a Zaid Jilani piece because I’m a sadist.

    • Gwai Lo, MD

      There are a large number of Leftists who can’t differentiate between forging a mutually-beneficial Israel-Palestine peace and being entirely pro-Palestine (cast off the oppressors, etc.). And they all seem to read The Intercept. I went into the Facebook comments for a second and immediately noped myself out of there.

      • Steve LaBonne

        In the world of the simple-minded there can be no complex, compromise solutions to complex problems. No shades of gray allowed.

        • Gwai Lo, MD

          They are our Trumpistas and would be the first to vote for our version of Hugo Chavez.

        • Ithaqua

          Yeah, I’ve long thought these people approach multi-criteria decision-making in a lexicographic way; identify which dimension is the most important, and base your decision 100% on that, ignoring everything else. Since it’s now only a one-dimensional problem, it’s simple, and there’s no reason for compromise any more!

      • Deborah Bender

        I stopped donating to KPFA about fifteen years ago because of how biased their coverage of Israel and Israeli domestic politics was. You would think that a station that gives air time to all sorts of leftish factions and spokespeople would give at least cursory mention to lawyers bringing civil liberties and anti-settler cases on behalf of Arabs and Druze to the Israeli Supreme Court (and winning!), retired generals denouncing Likud security measures, and that sort of thing. But no; it might be international news but it didn’t fit the Pacifica narrative.

        I was reluctant to give up on KPFA, because the station had been good on live coverage of local demonstrations and no other journalists were doing that job.

        • The Lorax

          The one good thing on Pacifica nowadays is Ian Masters, and that mainly because of his guests.

      • LeeEsq

        A lot of allegedly Pro-Palestinian people seem to be more anti-Israeli than Pro-Palestinian in that any solution that doesn’t result in some poltiical-metaphysical punishment for Israel and the Israeli Jews is out of bounds to them.

  • uykhvasdrvtjyku

    Cernovich told me he changed it because complaints about the cartoon’s anti-Semitism are “not a hill to die on,” and “if everybody wants to complain, then fine—I’ll just put the Saudis at the top.”

    That is hilarious. It doesn’t matter what bad guy we claim is secretly controlling the world, any bad guy will do! It’s not like this shit is based on evidence or anything.

    • Gwai Lo, MD

      Has anyone replaced Saudis with “Cernovich” and unleashed it upon the Alt-Wrong?

    • Hogan

      It’s the international conspiracy of Jews, Communists, bankers, and Saudis.

      • sanjait

        Closely aligned with those corporatist socialist atheist muslims.

  • JDS

    Soros deserves everything thrown at him. He is pure evil. His day off reckoning is soon to come. Same for his followers.

    • sanjait

      Is that so?

      • JDS

        That’s right, pussy.

    • gyrfalcon

      His day off reckoning is soon to come.

      So what, they’re going to audit his vacation and sick leave requests?

      • JDS

        No, he’s going to be killed.

    • Can we assume this is an official position of the John Douche Society?

      • JDS

        Shut up, faggot, or you’ll be next.

    • Try posting when you’re sober next time around, Poindexter.

    • randomworker

      /yawn.

    • Dr. Acula

      Ah, I see someone has wandered over from Breitbart.

      • wjts

        Ooh, a chance to try out the fancy new “flag comment as inappropriate” buttons.

        • stepped pyramids

          This one actually has a long history of stuff about beating “monkeys” with baseball bats. Also: “Bernie Goetz was right.” Not just a local troll, one of the ones that Disqus drags in from time to time. Reporting him is a good idea.

  • Mike Travers

    The notion of alliance between the extreme right of Zionism and anti-semitic fascism is nothing new, unfortunately.

  • Mike in DC

    All I have to add is that it can’t be a coincidence that the vanguard of the Republican NeverTrump movement (such as it is) is heavily populated by Jewish conservatives like David Frum, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, John Podhoretz and (even) Jonah Goldberg. It’s a weird feeling to find oneself nodding in agreement with something they say about Trump or his supporters.

    • Deborah Bender

      They helped get us into this. I’m glad to hear that their survival instincts are not entirely selfish. Maybe they can do some good.

      I read Frum now and then and sometimes agree with him. He’s sort of like Brooks but more incisive.

      • applecor

        I like Frum better also. He was bashing the GOP long before Trump took over, and he doesn’t come across like a concern troll. Frum wants to rescue conservatism; Brooks wants to “fix” liberalism.

      • Steve LaBonne

        I’m not impressed by his current concern trolling about leaks, though.

      • Frum has gotten a lot better since his days as a speechwriter for W. Jen Rubin has also gotten far better lately.

    • and (even) Jonah Goldberg

      Halakhically speaking, Jonah is Episcopalian.

      And he’s not really #neverTrump, either. The mark the fence he’s sitting on is going to leave will, given the doughhiness factor, be a deep one.

  • sanjait

    I just realized that Godwin’s Law has become a totally obsolete principle.

    • Hogan

      All day. All night. All Hitler.

      • LeeEsq

        Worst radio station ever.

        • wjts

          Also known as the History Channel ca. 1995-2001.

      • gocart mozart

        33% more Hitler than our nearest competitor

    • Revised Godwin’s Law: A conversation by anyone in the Trump administration will eventually allude positively to a position held by Hitler.

      • Deborah Bender

        Godwin’s Corollary.

    • Yeah, it can be used but mostly to take away the comparison to such an important time in history (never past etc) was foolish, IMO

    • Godwin is not only dead, it was beaten like the guy Joe Pesci killed in Goodfellas, wrapped in a tarp and buried in a shallow grave down by the reservoir.

      • Richard Gadsden

        I distantly know Mike Godwin, and I didn’t appreciate that metaphor at all.

  • Solar System Wolf

    Wasn’t Black Lives Matter indulging in some anti-Semitic rhetoric lately? I don’t remember the particulars, I just remember reading about something some of the leaders said about Israel and thinking, “No one needs you to have a position on this. Please don’t go there.”

    • Steve LaBonne

      There is no monolithic “Black Lives Matter” organization.

      • osceola

        NOT TRUE!!! George Soros created it! That’s what conspiracy radio (Infowars, Power Hour) tells people. So there.

        • Veleda_k

          Sounds legit.

          • Cheap Wino

            Listen, my check from Soros for riding the buses into New Hampshire for our illegal voting clearly indicated that BLM, the ACLU, Solyndra, Hollywood, and Planned Parenthood are in on the fix. Doubt all you want but my check cashed for every penny it was written for.

            • Veleda_k

              Man, everyone but me is getting that sweet Soros cash. I am missing out.

            • rea

              Didn’t you forget the reverse vampires, the saucer people and the Rand Corporation.

    • Hogan

      Can you vague that up some more for me?

    • Origami Isopod

      You may be thinking of Alicia Garza. However, while she is a co-founder of BLM, she is not the entirety of it.

    • LeeEsq
  • Michael

    Great piece. I’d add two small points. The first is that this anti “gloabalist” rhetoric is increasingly common on the alt-left as well. Indeed, in the comments of Greenwald’s latest you explicitly see someone saying this goes back decades to the Rothchilds. It’s legitimately terrifying that Greenwald thinks “standing up to” the media, commentators, and democratic strategists is the brave move.

    Second, Israel’s alliance with Authoritarian leaning states extends beyond Hungary – it also includes Saudi Arabia, who both view Iran as an existential threat. To say this is playing with fire is a gross understatement – it’s often forgotten that one of the major things that spurred Osama Bin Laden was the establishment of US bases in Saudi.

    • Anna in PDX

      Ughh the people who are fans of GG are really a disturbing echo chamber of conspiracy-mongers. It is awful how they use these old Nazi anti-Semitic dog whistles and deny the obvious when called out. Rothschild? Seriously?

      A couple of years ago I saw an exhibit at the Holocaust Museum in DC about the history of the publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery. I sure wish they taught everybody a lot more about this stuff in school, so they would not buy in to it.

      • Michael

        I used to be a huge Greenwald fan. I think his criticisms during the Obama years were invaluable and obviously the Snowden reporting was spectacular. His writing deeply shaped some of my political convinctions during my 20’s. I think that’s why I’m so aghast that this is how he has chosen to respond to the Trump era.

  • kuroda

    I see everyone here is well and truly greenstar-pilled. Come on, the real thing going on here is Soros’s attempt to impose Esperanto as the One World Language. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was ginned up to distract from the actual, Esperantist, global conspiracy, since they realized after crushing Volapük that their ‘Granda Plano’ was getting way too much attention. Sure, Soros ended up as one of their current public faces, and their antisemitism scam is coming back at them. Esperanto, great for brainwashing, lousy for historical foresight (and everything else too, really.) The fact is, Zionists and anti-Semites are BOTH puppets of the Esperantujo global elite.

    Don’t even get me started on the real story behind William Shatner and Esperanto cinema; you’re not ready for it, man.

    Anyone who actually wants to end antisemitism and bring peace to the Middle East has to accept there’s only one solution: fight the Fina Venko! reject the Esperanto lies and learn to speak Novial, you cuckophones!!!

    (Inspired by an actual IAL rant I got blasted with years back. Way too closely inspired.)

    • That is brilliant stuff altogether. You really should edit to delete the reveal at the end, though; the comment would work much better without it.

    • Matty

      I have never wanted anything as much as I want “Granda Plano” to be a valid Esperanto phrase.

    • Hob

      The popular comic book Saga, which features outer-space elves who unleash their magic powers through spells in Esperanto, is clearly another Soros effort.

    • kuroda

      — It doesn’t deserve to be edited, because I forgot to work in “beta”; it’s a failure already! But thank you.
      — Is ‘Granda Plano’ invalid in terms of Esperanto grammar or Esperanto culture? I’m only an onlooker to either one, so I really don’t know.
      — Hob, exactly! And what do we know about elves? Tolkien and his fans have been normalizing their mush-mouthed drivel for decades. I leave it to you to make the obvious conclusions…

  • mdupree

    I had taken the broad anti-Soros campaign as an example of, “Accuse the other side of what you are guilty of.” They accuse Soros, who acts in the open, of the things that the Kochs and the Mercers do more quietly: astroturf and conspire on a grand scale to control nominally democratic institutions. Probably because I’m not Jewish, the anti-semitism angle wasn’t what first leapt to mind so much as that “Let’s distract the base from how the super-rich Kochs and Mercers are pulling their strings” thrust, but now that it’s been pointed out to me, it fits into the overall construct of xenophobic cis het white male Christian nationalism all too well.

  • Thomas the Corfiot

    Think the anti-semitism focus distracts a tiny bit from the more basic premise you started and ended with–BS conspiracy tropes in general. There will be reckoning however; there always is. It’s just a question of how many of us will pay the price and how deeply…

  • Carpe Vagenda

    But Weigel is absolutely part of the solution and not at all using his platform to pimp brobait trolls as his personal brand.

  • gocart mozart

    This 50 year old video will explain everything you need to know about the “DEEP STATE”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X_xB1JJ_Es&t=231s

    • Geri Ungurean

      WOW gocart!! What a video this is! I am writing an article on this today, and will insert this video. Thanks again! God bless you.

  • Geri Ungurean

    What a bunch of garbage. The LEFTwing Globalists run to the defense of George Soros, and they also repeat the lie over and over that Soros is just a philanthropist and do-gooder, when he is evil incarnate. Real Jews see him for what he is – a self hating Jew who would kill his own mother to bring the world closer to the New World Order. Victor Orban is attempting to keep his country and his borders – he knows what Soros is about. Ultimately, globalism will prevail and will lead this world into a time of GREAT TRIBULATION as the Bible clearly states. But I will speak out against Soros and globalists all over this planet because they are EVIL. Oh, and by the way – I’m a Jew.

    Watch Soros in 60 Minute’s interview talk about the pleasure of turning his own people into the Nazi’s during WWII. He said he would do it again.

    https://grandmageri422.me/2016/11/16/the-face-of-evil-george-soros-should-be-on-the-fbi-most-wanted-list-2/

  • destiny

    We all are aware of Soros nazi collaboration and stealing from fellow Jews. You cannot whitewash that slimeball.

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