October 25, 2019

Taking Aim at Multiracial Democracy

Source: Political Research Associates

A memorial outside the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh. (Brendt A Petersen / Shutterstock.comAntisemitism, White Nationalism, and Anti-Immigrant Racism in the Era of Trump

The last thing White nationalist Robert Bowers posted to social media before his deadly attack on the Tree of Life synagogue was, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” That was October 27, 2018. Bowers’ killing of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Pittsburgh synagogue sent shock waves through both the U.S. Jewish community and all those concerned with the violence of bigoted politics. As shocking as it was, it is important to understand that Bowers’ attack was driven by an explicitly White nationalist ideology—an ideology that imagines that U.S. Jews are manipulating policy to use non-White immigrants as a weapon against White people. In his post, Bowers also declared that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish humanitarian aid organization for refugees that Bowers believed partnered with Tree of Life, “likes to bring in invaders that kill our people.”1

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