American neo-Nazi demagogue Richard Spencer has again praised Israel as a model for the Aryan homeland he wants to create in the United States.
“The most important and perhaps most revolutionary ethno-state, and it’s one that I turn to for guidance, even though I might not always agree with its foreign policy decisions … is the Jewish state of Israel,” Spencer told an audience at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Thursday.
“The Jewish state of Israel is not just another country in the Middle East,” Spencer added. “It is a country for Jews and for Jews around the world.”
Spencer said he acknowledged the “moral legitimacy” of other “ethno-states,” naming Russia, Poland and Hungary as supposed examples.
Spencer and his backers faced big protests including cries of “Go home Nazis!” and “Nazi scum!”
Spencer’s appearance had prompted the governor of Florida to declare a state of emergency, fearing a repeat of the lethal violence that occurred in August when Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia.
An alleged vehicular attack by a far-right extremist in Charlottesville killed anti-racism activist Heather Heyer.
Leah Gorshein, president of the University of Florida pro-Israel campus group and a student board member with Hillel, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that she was concerned about “the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish movement that could arise” from Spencer’s visit.
Yet while the American far right unquestionably exhibits anti-Semitism, Spencer, like other contemporary Nazis, has been effusively positive about Israel and its founding Zionist ideology.
Spencer has previously referred to his desire for a European enclave in North America as “white Zionism.”
Last December, Texas A&M campus rabbi Matt Rosenberg publicly challenged Spencer over the white supremacist’s message of “radical exclusion.”
“My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion, as embodied by Torah,” Rosenberg said.
In an exchange caught on video and widely circulated online, Spencer responded, “Do you really want radical inclusion into the state of Israel?”
The rabbi was left almost speechless.
Rosenberg later conceded that he lost the argument with Spencer.
Israel and its supporters – like Spencer and his – are obsessed with demographics, albeit of different groups.
A mainstream view among Zionists is that too many Palestinian births would constitute a “demographic threat” to Jewish control of the ostensibly democratic Israeli state.
In March, a landmark report published by the UN found that Israel operates a system of apartheid over the entire Palestinian people, including using “demographic engineering, in order to establish and maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority in Israel.”
Spencer’s admiration for Israel fits in with a broader pattern.
Israel donor promotes anti-Semitic image
Separately, pro-Israel mega-donor Adam Milstein provided another clear signal of the growing affinity between the anti-Semitic far right and Israel’s staunchest backers.
Journalist Max Blumenthal noted that Milstein had posted an image on Twitter on Thursday of the face of financier and philanthropist George Soros superimposed on an octopus straddling the globe.
Blumenthal called it “indisputably anti-Semitic,” harkening back to the kinds of images frequently disseminated by anti-Jewish conspiracy theorists.
Far-right Israel supporters accuse the Hungarian-born Soros of funding groups critical of Israel’s human rights record.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has embraced Orban, a modern manifestation of the historical alliances between Zionists and anti-Semites.
Adam Milstein’s foundation funds a who’s who of right-wing anti-Palestinian groups. When Milstein was convicted of felony tax evasion in 2009, Israel’s consul-general in Los Angeles wrote a glowing letter to the judge in an effort to secure a lenient sentence.
He also has a history of Islamophobia. In 2014, for instance, Milstein tweeted an attack on then President Barack Obama, accusing him of “cuddling up to Islam.”
Milstein has deleted the octopus tweet and apologized, claiming he did not know the image was anti-Semitic.
But his Twitter account still shows that in September he posted another image targeting Soros that had been posted on Facebook by Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Israeli prime minister.
The younger Netanyahu also caused a controversy in August for suggesting that anti-fascists and activists with Black Lives Matter are a bigger threat to Israel – and perhaps to Jews throughout the world – than the neo-Nazis who rampaged in Charlottesville.