By László Bernát Veszprémy
Translation by Sophie Mészáros
Shortly after Donald Trump was elected he decided to make Stephen Bannon his closest adviser, which was followed by a variety of criticism in the international media. Stephen Bannon is the owner and editor of a conservative paper Breitbart which is deemed as a white nationalist paper and he as a firm hater of Jews.
Chemi Salev’s lines in Ha’arec:
“Breitbart and other Jews working for his website exemplified the kind of radical right wing Jews who hate their liberal co-religionists most of all: in many ways, they are auto-anti-Semites.”
Perhaps the use of the word auto-anti-Semites derives from the label ‘self-hating Jew’ which Ha’erec often receives from its critics. However, currently the debate does not concern itself with the attitude of the international left-wing media to Israel, rather, if the accusation is true, namely that Breitbart – seemingly Trump’s number one media supporter – is anti-Semite.
Salev’s instant focus on the Jewish employees at the site is very telling, because in fact the real white nationalist websites operating within American portals consider Breitbart a ‘Jewish mechanism’ which ‘infects authentic rightwing views’. The paper was established by two men of Jewish origins Larry Solov and Andrew Breitbart – as the name of the paper. Sadly, Mr. Breitbart passed away since then, but Larry Solov declared the following when talking to Forward regarding the idea of establishing their paper, which was originally the result of a trip to Israel.
“One thing we specifically discussed that night was our desire to start a site that would be unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel. We were sick of the anti-Israel bias of the mainstream media.”
Solov as an American Jew added that he and Breitbart were “blown away by the spirit, tenacity and resourcefulness of the Israeli people on that trip.”
According to the publicist of the Ha’arec Benjamin Netanjahu, current president of Israel, has also contributed to the foundation of the site. A photo that has been published several times shows the president’s visit in the paper’s editorial office.
There is a certain tradition off calling each other anti-Semites in the Jewish public view and press. Also in Hungary the liberal and Zionist papers had a penchant to apply such terms on each other between the two World Wars. However, skimming through the pieces by Breitbart it would be rather challenging to accuse it of anti-Semitisms. The paper was founded by Jews, and when Stephen Bannon was appointed he stepped down from his editor in chief position and was succeeded by the also Jewish declared Israel friendly Alexander Marlow. In 2015 the paper opened an office in Jerusalem which has been edited by an American-Israeli journalist, Aaron Klein.
Breitbart’s American branches, which includes offices in Texas and California, also has numerous Israel friendly employees. An orthodox rabbi Shmuely Boteach has his own column. He ran as a republican congressional representative in 2008. If he had received a spot he would have become the very first rabbi in the House of Representatives as never before had a rabbi earned a mandate in the history of the institution. Boteach Rabbi knows his way around in the American media as well as in Hollywood. For that he receives harsh criticism for shaming his title. However, regarding our matter it is for sure that it would be a very unique occasion for a nazi paper to hire an Israel friendly rabbi.
A further member of the freelance stuff is Pamela Geller, who other than writing regularly for Breitbart is also a major libertarian criticizer of American radical Islam. Geller’s coloumn is named after Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged freedom oriented novel. Ironically Bannon declared his dislike towards the idealism of the work. This however, does not alter the fact that the paper has always offered space for the articles of Geller who shares strong Zionist and libertarian views. Yet again this behavior could hardly be deemed as intolerance.
Joel Pollak, an other freelance writer at Breitbart, a previous republican candidate has recently reacted to the accusation regarding Bannon and his paper with his article “Stephen Bannon: the friend of Jews, the protector of Israel”.
“I am an Orthodox Jew, and I hold a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Studies. My thesis at the Isaac and Jesse Kaplan Centre at the University of Cape Town dealt with the troubled status of Jews in an increasingly anti-Israel, and antisemitic, post-apartheid South Africa. I believe myself to be a qualified judge of what is, and is not, antisemitic.
It defies logic that a man who was a close friend, confidant, and adviser to the late Andrew Breitbart — a proud Jew — could have any negative feelings towards Jews. As I can testify from years of work together with Steve in close quarters, the opposite is the case: Steve is outraged by antisemitism. If anything, he is overly sensitive about it, and often takes offense on Jews’ behalf.”
The portal’s most emblematic supporter is the conservative David Horowitz who joined the American rightwing after a long carrier being an Israel critic and Marxist and today he fights with all his power for the freedom of speech at universities. This year’s march Horowitz – who until today published 27 volumes – referred to the extremely conservative William Kristol as a ‘renegade Jew’ in one of his articles. This article title was then taken over by the international press when they wanted to describe Breitbart as anti-Semite. It’s definitely worth to examine how Horowitz actually argued.
Horowitz’s prosecution is that Kristol does not support Trump – the latter described as the most Israel –friendly presidential candidate in American history by his supporters – and thus, he betrays the case of Israel and therefore he earns this title. To write something like this in the press is indeed not nice, but it only bothers the ones who have already familiarized themselves with the writings of Theodor Herzl. The mental father of the Jewish State also showed a tendency to refer to his Jewish opponents as anti-Semites in his article Mauschel from 1904 using terms that don’t differ from the ones used by a carter after having drank a couple of pints. As I have implemented it above the habit of anti-Semite cursing is not unprecedented in the Jewish media. If it is something positive or negative is left for each individual to decide – obviously best would be if these phenomenon were not present – but to assume real anti-Semite motivation behind these is clearly an exaggeration.
And last but not least I would like to present Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro, the paper’s onetime and present most popular and intelligent journalists.
If Milo – who is a brit-Greek catholic-Jewish, homosexual-conservative publicist and freedom of speech activist – is entertaining or outrageous depends on one’s temperament. The titles of his article are such as “contraceptive pills make women ugly and crazy” or “the solution of online stalking is very simple: women shall not use the internet!” were clearly intended to be bourgeois. It is to assume that even Yiannopoulos himself doesn’t take his views too seriously. His by today banned twitter account’s name was ‘Nero’, which suggests his self-image. Once an Americal homosexual magazine described him as a clown, and an other paper declared Milo’s tactics, namely that all he does is that he takes some absolutely outrageous views and then promotes them laughing.
A picture taken from Milo Yiannopoulos Instagram site. On his kipa stands a sign saying Donald Trump. If his other views are hardly acceptable, it is for sure that Milo – borrowing his own word –‘fu**ing loves the State of Israel’. He is also not afraid to elaborate on why today’s American Democratic Party is hypocritical to stigmatize Breitbart as anti-Semite. As in the video below, where he himself covers the microphones with the flag of Israel generously lend by a spectator, he articulates how democrats “don’t give a s*it about Jews, unless they want to attack the new rightwing”.
When the democratic – but freedom of speech supporter – Dave Rubin asked the The American Tablet Magazine Jewish portal in a talk show about the new rightwing’s anti-Semitism in sort of relation to Trump they quoted Milo’s words.
“Generation Trump, the alt right people, the people who like me, they’re not anti-Semites. They don’t care about Jews.”
By today Milo Yiannopoulos’ former mentor is his opponent, Ben Shapiro however, had a very different career path. He was the most talented stuff at Breitbart, until he did not express his disagreement about the paper “writing biased about Trump” – looking back now it is no doubt he was right – which resulted in a conflict with the editors of the site.
On the left of the picture is Joel Pollak on the right is Ben Shapiro, still as a journalist at Breitbart.
Shapiro left the paper, and today he leads his own conservative and Israel-friendly site called the Daily Wire http:/dailywire.com . This page represents classic American Constitution Party views, and attacks the on the basis of his statement anti-Israeli left regularly, as well as Donald Trump who in his opinion is a liar and betrays the conservative values.
Shapiro being an orthodox Jew is of course a strong supporter of Israel. It is worth taking a look at this video footage from two years ago, where Shapiro visited a student assembly aiming to boycott Israel on the campus of the University of California, UCLA, only to speak out against the boycott campaign.
And though Shapiro has left Breitbart, at the start of the year the paper published a report appreciating his event. The Shapiro’s speech was disturbed by radical left protestors who have also physically abused Breitbart’s reporter, the Iranian-American Jew Adelle Nazariant.
The Breitbart portal is highly complicated and it encompasses numerous point of views. Amongst their writers there are declared anti-capitalists – like Bannon himself- convinced libertarians – Milo, Geller and Klein – or writers following classical republican views, as is Shapiro. Nevertheless, anti-Semitism and anti-Israel views are far removed from the editors. Of course, it is for no one to know what their reader’s attitude is. Perhaps, the title of the article from Intercept was right, specifically that the writers at Breitbart are pro-Israel, but the readers are anti-Semitic.
Still, even if this statement was to be proven true it would be hardly the editor’s fault as demonstrated in this article. We did not focus on the heritage of the journalists but foremost on their explicit views. As once an iconic Hungarian author Ferenc Karinthy referred to it: unfortunately being a Jewish news writer does not equal a Zionist.
Whose value system echoes classical liberal or conservative views will surely enjoy the work of Breitbart. Whose value system aligns with social democratic ones, is defined by social fairness and political correctness will most probably hate them. Either way it is indisputable that never did Israel have such a significant friend in the American Press as Breitbart.