Jared Taylor’s refusal to condemn anti-Semitism
Jared Taylor of American Renaissance has written an article purporting to respond to the anti-Semitic manifestations that occurred at the American Renaissance conference in Virginia this past February. He also responds to, or, rather, he loftily dismisses (as a “mistake”) a letter that was sent to him by a group of AR subscribers and conference attendees last month calling on him to cease inviting anti-Semitic speakers to AR conferences, to discourage anti-Semites from attending, and to write an article in AR condemning anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The letter said that while rational criticism of the role of Jews in leftist and anti-white movements is legitimate, blaming the Jews for all the problems of Western civilization—which is what the more committed anti-Semites do—is not. (In addition to the AR subscribers and attendees who signed the letter, I and several others signed the letter as “non-AR subscribers/attendees who are in support of this letter.” I spoke at the first AR conference in 1994, but have not subscribed to AR or gone to an AR conference in over ten years.)
While there are many ambiguities in this situation that I will explore below, the bottom line is that Taylor’s letter is a stunning disappointment. For example, he describes David Duke, who delivered an anti-Semitic diatribe from the floor, as merely “one participant well known for strong views.” Taylor does not admit that it was an error on his part to allow Duke, America’s most outspoken Jew-hater and a well-known publicity hound, to attend the conference, where it was inevitable that he would act out in the manner that he did. Taylor does not mention the most shocking incident at the conference—widespread applause at a speaker’s remark that Israel would not survive its first 100 years, with much of the applause coming from Stormfront followers, many of whom appear to have attended the conference after it became known that Taylor was permitting Duke to attend. These same people also said to some Jewish attendees that they did not belong there. Taylor evidences no sense of responsibility over allowing the situation to develop in which the anti-Semitic behaviors at the conferences occurred.
Perhaps most disappointing is Taylor’s moral equivalence between Duke’s anti-Semitic diatribe and Michael Hart’s retort: “You f***ing Nazi, you’ve disgraced this meeting.” In Taylor’s book, both were “disgraceful behaviors” that will not be allowed.
Yet—and here’s where the complexities begin—the AR readers commenting on Taylor’s article do not see it as I’ve just described. There are basically two sides among the commenters, one more or less pro-Jewish, or at least not anti-Jewish, the other anti-Semitic, and both sides see the Taylor letter as a strong statement against anti-Semitism. The pro-Jewish side praises it for this, while many on the anti-Semitic side have announced in a huff that they are withdrawing from AR because of it. What did Taylor say that so enraged them? First he said: “Jews have a valuable role in the work of American Renaissance, and are welcome participants and speakers. Anyone who thinks otherwise has the choice of staying home or keeping his views to himself.” But of course this has always been the case. Four of the ten speakers at the first AR conference were Jews, and there have been Jewish speakers and participants at subsequent conferences. So the anti-Semites’ rage on this point will probably die down when they realize that Taylor is not saying anything new. Second, Taylor said that openly anti-Semitic statements, such as telling Jewish participants that they shouldn’t be at the conference, would not be welcome. But surely that also has been understood all along. There have always been anti-Semites at AR conferences, but prior to this year’s conference they did not engage in anti-Semitic behavior toward Jewish participants. Third, Taylor said that “the role of Jews in a society” would not be discussed at AR. But this again is nothing new, as both the American Renaissance newsletter and the AR conferences have strictly avoided the Jewish question over the years. Fourth, Taylor expressed his own view that Jews are not the main cause of the West’s undoing, that gentiles have often done this to themselves. But this also is nothing new, since Taylor of course has never singled out Jews as a problem, and has always discussed the white West’s racial catastrophes as something whites as whites are doing to themselves.
Yet, amazingly, both the pro-Jews and the anti-Semites thought that these restatements of long-time AR policies were ground-breaking steps against anti-Semitism.
Some will conclude from the anti-Semites’ rage at Taylor’s letter that the letter is not as weak on anti-Semitism as I am saying, but is a document skillfully crafted by Taylor to get the anti-Semites to leave AR without his telling them to do so. Unfortunately, as already pointed out, the situation is more complicated than that. Taylor was not saying anything that has not already been tacitly the case for many years, and the anti-Semites will be mollified when they understand this. Furthermore, the online comments following Taylor’s article reveal, more than ever, the amazing number of serious anti-Semites—people who simply and unabashedly speak of Jews as the enemy—in the AR online community. And not all of them are leaving AR in a huff either. So, as a result of Taylor’s refusal to draw a line against anti-Semitism as such, AR (or at least its online discussion forums) will doubtless continue to be a community rife with anti-Semitism, a community where anti-Semitic statements are routine and accepted. Also, as objectionable as the viciousness of the anti-Semitism on display in the discussion forum following Taylor’s article, is the deeply moronic quality of so much of it, like something emerging from a sub-humanity. Yet these are the people who see themselves as the defenders of our civilization. In another sad irony, many of the “pro-Jewish” commenters at AR do not seem to react to or even to notice the extreme anti-Semites among them; many of the “pro-Jews” seem to be as non-judgmental about Jew-hatred as Taylor himself.
So here’s the situation. Instead of refuting and abandoning anti-Semitism, as Nick Griffin has been doing (though whether Griffin will ultimately succeed in cleansing the BNP of anti-Semitism remains to be seen), Taylor has opted for an in-between course. He says that Jews are welcome, even as he refuses to condemn anti-Semitism. The latter assures that anti-Semitic views will also continue to be welcome. Though some of the anti-Semites will leave, because of Taylor’s explicit welcoming of Jews, many others will stay, because they will recognize that, despite his welcoming of Jews, they, the anti-Semites, still have a forum for anti-Semitism at AR. Even if the online forum is closed in the future to anti-Semitic comments, as appears to have often been the case in the past, fierce anti-Semitism will continue to bubble in and around the AR circle, because Taylor has never taken a stand against it. In particular, AR conferences will continue to be gatherings for prominent and obscure Jew-haters, as is made clear by a biased but fact-filled account of the 2006 conference appearing at the “anti-racist” website Searchlight.
Another signer of the letter to Jared Taylor, calling himself Invictus, expressed at the AR forum his disappointment at the fact that the AR commenters thought Taylor’s article was strong, when in fact it was weak. In response, a commenter at the neo-Nazi website Stormfront wrote the below (no link):
To get directly back on topic, I feel that Yggdrasil, Patrick R, Cjay and others are locked onto the gist of the AR situation. Jared Taylor is under assault by agents and Jewish infiltrators who are trying to pull off a direct palace coup if they can get away with it, or intimidate the hell out of him, and drive wedges between him and his genuine white nationalist base, at a minimum. My initial and instinctive reaction to the article by Taylor is in a prior posting, however, my assessment must now be modified by breaking events at AR. See the dastardly and clearly disruptive posting there by a Shylock named “Invictus”.The Stormfront commenter proves my point. This person, for whom the world consists of a war between whites and the “viral kosher pathogen,” is a supporter of AR, indeed he sees AR as a battle-front against the evil Jews. Virulent anti-Semites such as this are the kind of people Taylor has and will continue to have in his orbit. In our letter to Taylor we said he needed to repudiate anti-Semitism, in order to end the connection between himself and such people. He has refused, and so AR will remain a home to extreme anti-Semites.
There is more to be said about Taylor’s non-judgmental, relativistic approach to anti-Semitism. In his article, he says over and over that he has avoided the Jewish issue at AR because it is so contentious and he doesn’t want to divide the right. But this assumes that rabid anti-Semites are a legitimate and desirable part of the movement that Taylor wants to hold together. Thus Taylor writes:
AR has deliberately avoided taking positions on questions about which racially-conscious whites are likely to disagree…. By taking no position, AR has served readers who may be sharply opposed on these questions but who agree on the central importance of race, and are committed to our survival…. AR has likewise taken no explicit position on Jewish matters. Readers have always included both Jews and people who believe Jews play no useful role in a movement that promotes white interests…. There has always been a minority in the AR constituency that has criticized me and AR for welcoming Jews, and there has been another minority that has criticized me and AR for not denouncing the first minority…. The role of Jews in a society … should … be discussed openly in a free society, all in their appropriate places. AR is not that place. We cannot afford dissension that distracts us from our goal.Now someone reading this might think that this sounds reasonable; in the American tradition, Taylor wants a big tent, where all ideological camps can be included. But then you realize that one of the camps he’s talking about, one of the camps he wants to appease and keep in the fold, is the camp of insane anti-Semites who support David Duke, who support Stormfront, who think that the Jews were behind the 9/11 attack, who think that the Jews are the source of all the problems afflicting the white race. These are people so bent out of shape about the Jews they’d rather spend all their time attacking Jews than do anything about immigration or racial quotas or the other problems that they blame on the Jews. What do such people have to offer that is useful to anyone? And what do we, as civilized Westerners, have to do with these low-level, hate-filled anti-Semites? We should have nothing to do with them. We should simply shun them.
A few years ago, when serious anti-Semites would post comments at VFR, I would engage with them and get them to express their positions plainly. And when they had revealed, as they invariably did, the moronic anti-Semitic place that they were coming from, which never took long because their real beliefs were never more than a millimeter below the surface, I would draw lessons from their statements, while excluding them from my site and having nothing further to do with them (see this and this). And that, in my view, is the way all of us should deal with anti-Semites. (Nick Griffin is a special case as he is someone coming from an anti-Semitic background who is seriously criticizing anti-Semitism, an effort that is beyond Jared Taylor’s ken.)
By touching on the Jewish issue in print for the first time in his writing career, Taylor has made explicit the very thing which I began, to my distress, to see about him in the mid ‘90s, and which was the chief reason I dissociated myself from him and American Renaissance exactly 10 years ago: while he himself does not promote anti-Semitism, he has no objection to anti-Semites, no barrier that he will ever put up between himself and anti-Semites—with the caveat, which he now adds, that they refrain from making anti-Semitic comments directly to Jewish attendees at AR conferences.
Jared Taylor is a talented and impressive person. His contributions to the understanding of racial realities have been indispensable, if also at times limited in their value by his racial reductionism. In his courteous, gentlemanly manner, he gets along with everyone. He is personally comfortable with Jews and never articulates anti-Semitic positions. But he also has absolutely no problem with people who do, and no grasp of why others find this objectionable.
A recognition of racial realities, and a natural loyalty to the white West, are key elements in any effort to save our threatened civilization. But nothing good can come from people who have allowed their love for our civilization to be linked, if merely by the consistent refusal to say no, to the evil of anti-Semitism.
I used to subscribe to American Renaissance, and it had some very interesting articles about race and crime and other connections, with lots of supporting references that were credible. I finally stopped subscribing when he ran a poll of the readership on who had done most for the white race. Adolf Hitler won, and my suspicions were confirmed that many in the readership are Nazis.LA replies:
I had forgotten that poll. That shows more than anything the evil and stupidity of the white racialist anti-Semites. Hitler did more to harm the white race than any man in history; it was Hitler who through his extreme racism discredited any normal racial consciousness and led to the current Western suicide. He was not even a white racialist, but a German racialist who planned to enslave, degrade, and destroy white European peoples such as the Poles and the British. But he sought to destroy the Jews, therefore, in the minds of the anti-Semites, he’s a benefactor.Matthew writes:
I cannot help but feel that you are holding AR to a standard that a political party should be held to, and not what AR is, which is a very loose group of subscribers of AR magazine that share a narrow interest about one issue. Except for the conferences, there is no ‘AR organization’ to speak of. If Jared Taylor is banning anti Semitic commentary at the conferences (it certainly does not appear in AR magazine), then I cannot see how AR could be used as a tool for anti Semitism.LA replies:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 15, 2006 05:25 PM | Send