Jay Michaelson at Forward presumes that “The NRA Has An Anti-Semitism Problem.”
This McCarthyite vision of a cancer destroying America, what Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics,” is classic populism. It posits a good, mostly rural, less educated, implicitly white Volk being undermined by a corrupt, mostly urban, over-educated, and foreign set of elites. Sometimes those elites are actual Jews controlling Hollywood, “the media,” banks, or political structures. Other times, they are “structural Jews” – foreigners, Communists, elites, or other outsider-insiders who don’t share the values of “the people.”
[NRA VP Wayne] LaPierre’s speech never mentioned the word “Jew.” And yet, nearly every example of the “enemy” was Jewish.“History proves it,” LaPierre said, to eruptions of roaring applause. “Every time, in every nation in which this political disease [socialism] rises to power, its citizens are repressed, their freedoms are destroyed, and their firearms are banned and confiscated. It is all backed in this country by the social engineering, and the billions, of people like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and more.”
Michaelson continues to conveniently infer disembodied and nefarious anti-Semitism. When you assume the role of perpetual victim, the world is predator, and every word and action can be construed as an assault if you willingly allow it.
Now, I’m quite sure that LaPierre would deny that any of what he had to say was anti-Semitic. Some of his best friends are probably Jewish. For that matter, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller are Jewish (though the “internationalist” Kushner has been hit with some of the same animus).
But anti-Semitism, like racism, is an implicit bias, often not understood consciously. (For a revealing look at your own unconscious bias, take the Implicit Association Test.) And, like racism, it is not simply about prejudice against certain people, but about deeply held beliefs about who is “us” and who is “them,” who is inside and who is outside.
And, crucially, it is about structures of society: whether a country is great because of its diverse citizenry and rule of law, or whether it is great because of its majority culture, its symbols, and its patriotic unity.
That does not imply a Jewish problem; it implies a cultural problem, of which Jews constitute an enormous part. But it’s not “personal.” White gun culture is at odds with the urban Jewish paradigm. Like it or not, in the United States, guns represent White Christian culture, something Jewish, and modern American Liberal-Elitist culture, cannot fathom or tolerate through its affectations of open-mindedness. At the forefront of the Liberal-Elitist and Jewish resistance to this American brand of White Christianity stands the Symbol of said autonomy: guns. Jews have a problem with the archetype of guns; Liberal Elites share the same instinctual abhorrence. Guns are the fulcrum of Liberal antagonism. If it wasn’t guns, it would be Ford pick-up trucks, and if it wasn’t trucks, it would be trailer homes. There will always be a White Christian archetypal trinket that urban elitist America will focus its wrath on. Guns are very convenient at the moment for they are deadly and this deadliness is amplified to exponential levels of fear by mass shootings. (Let’s disregard the fact that most guns simply are not involved in such dramatics).
Forward’s headline bespeaks of that yammering preachy victimhood which underlies most anti-gun hysteria. There’s a problem with guns, to be sure, but anti-Semitism is the least of it.