Adolf Hitler was a famously provocative orator. Being the centerpiece of a movement for values that defy human nature takes charisma. Despite their nature, even neo-fascists and white supremacists need to convince themselves that what they’re doing is OK.
An effective leader can make the most heinous idea seem rational, which is precisely how these groups take shape. Richard Spencer, one of the best-known alt-right and white supremacist leaders of our time, did his best to do exactly that during a recent visit to Israel’s top-rated news program.
No Such thing as Bad PR
Part of what Spencer does as a thought leader for the alt-right movement is promote the cause by making appearances. While the majority of these are done on predominantly right-leaning media outlets, Spencer understands the value of an opportunity to preach his cause to an opposing audience.
He must have been at least a little surprised, however, to be invited for an interview on Israel’s Channel Two News. Like the professional he is, Spencer calmly stood in front of the camera and attempted to rationalize the alt-right movement, comparing it to Zionism.
Host Danny Kushmaro has received some criticism for not questioning Spencer more directly about the alt-right’s anti-Semitic stance. It should be noted that as a journalist, Kushmaro’s job is to share information, not spark a verbal conflict that might have deterred this man from giving a firsthand example of just how disconnected with reality he is.
“We don’t Know if [the Car Crash] was a Murder”
In a perfect example of the rationalization tactics we expect from such extremist groups, Spencer went to bat to defend the driver of a car that rammed into the crowd, injuring at least 19 and killing one leftist counter-protester, Heather Heyer.
The car’s driver, Alex Fields Jr., is currently being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, as well as malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
What other reason does one have for driving a car into a crowd at a protest than to do harm? Nevertheless, Spencer insisted that not enough information was available and that he would condemn the act if it was proven to be murder.
A Secure Homeland
Spencer also defended white nationalism by comparing it to Zionism. To make such a remark on Israeli television is not just unwise, but also useless. Zionism is just as racist and destructive as white nationalism, so the comparison doesn’t help his cause at all.
For those not familiar with the term, Zionism is the movement to create a Jewish state in the middle-east reflective of the historical lands of Israel. Zionists support the state of Israel, and the movement has faced criticism even within the Jewish community because it promotes confrontation with the Palestinian people and has caused the Palestinian people suffering. Zionism and white nationalism are one-and-the-same — both movements are fascist movements rooted in racism.
It’s plain to see, then, why Spencer’s claim that “I want [white people] to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel,” is preposterous.
White Supremacy and Zionists
At the core of Spencer’s statement is the assumption that “white” is a race of people, when it is well known that fair-skinned people come from all over the world. White people don’t lack a secure homeland, because white western Europeans colonized most of the continents in the northern hemisphere by the 18th century.
Even worse, the alt-right views that Spencer promotes expressly condemn the Jewish race. This is such a basic part of the white nationalist belief structure that it’s difficult to overlook even if you’re not familiar with Spencer. Remember the Nazis? Remember what they stood for? Spencer’s rhetoric is just an evolution of the same tune.
This Shouldn’t Be Allowed
It is shameful that America has allowed hate groups to flourish. To hear Spencer talk about whites being driven out of the country when nearly 80% of the US population is fair-skinned is appalling, and highlights just how devout this man is in his commitment to displacing Jews, African-Americans, and other non-white ethnic groups.
Watching Spencer undermine his own rhetoric on a global stage like this is a lesson every American, and every Israeli should study. Spencer is the classic definition of a sociopath; egocentric, charismatic only when it’s self-serving, and detached from the concept of empathy. He lives in his own little world.
We aren’t born hating other people for who they are, and Spencer knows that. It’s such an antiquated, pathetic worldview he’s dug up in an effort to get attention. Let’s assure him the real world isn’t buying it.
Kate Harveston is a political writer dealing mainly in issues related to politics and human rights. She has also written on a range of other topics, including technology and health. If you like her writing, you can visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.