Some of the Worst People in Trump’s Government


First off, the entities at play:


VDAREPeter Brimelow

Founded in 1999 by anti-immigrant activist and author Peter Brimelow, the Center for American Unity has served to promote the work of white supremacists, anti-Semites and others on the radical right. This is most obvious in VDARE.com, which the foundation started in 1999 and funded until 2007. It is named after Virginia Dare, said to be the first English child born in the New World, in 1587. Brimelow says that he once planned to bestow Dare’s name upon “the heroine of a projected fictional concluding chapter in Alien Nation [his best selling anti-immigration book], about the flight of the last white family in Los Angeles.”

“VDARE” entry (via SPLC)

Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)John Tanton

While CIS and its position within the Tanton network has been on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) radar for years, what precipitated listing CIS as an anti-immigrant hate group for 2016 was its repeated circulation of white nationalist and antisemitic writers in its weekly newsletter and the commissioning of a policy analyst who had previously been pushed out of the conservative Heritage Foundation for his embrace of racist pseudoscience. These developments, its historical associations, and its record of publishing reports that hype the criminality of immigrants, are why CIS is labeled an anti-immigrant hate group.

“Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)” entry (via SPLC)

Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)John Tanton

FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content. FAIR’s founder, John Tanton, has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country. One of the group’s main goals is upending the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a decades-long, racist quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans. FAIR President Dan Stein has called the Act a “mistake.”

“Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)” entry (via SPLC)

American RenaissanceJared Taylor

Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website, which regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists. The foundation also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist “intellectuals” rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

“American Renaissance” entry (via SPLC)

American Free Press (AFP)Willis Carto

Although at one time he had access to leading politicians, Carto eventually became infamous for his pro-Nazi and rabidly anti-Jewish views and lost those connections. In 1978, he founded the first major American Holocaust-denial outfit, the Institute for Historical Review. Throughout his career, Carto has been known for his anti-Semitism, anti-black racism and the wild alternative health claims regularly made in his various publications.

[…]In 2001, after years of stalling and legal wrangling in an attempt to shield his assets from seizure, Carto was ordered by the courts to relinquish control of Liberty Lobby and The Spotlight and to vacate his long held Liberty Lobby offices in Washington, D.C. Soon after, Carto did shutter The Spotlight (its last edition was July 2, 2001). However, a month later, Carto and former staffers of The Spotlight created yet another newspaper, American Free Press. Today, the Press carries stories on Zionism, secret “New World Order” conspiracies, American Jews and Israel. Mixed in are advertisements for outfits like Pete Peter’s Scriptures for America and Kingdom Identity Ministries — practitioners of Christian Identity, a theology that claims that Jews are the biological descendants of Satan.

“Willis Carto” entry (via SPLC)

Breitbart NewsSteve Bannon

During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be “the platform for the alt-right.(my link)

[…]In an April 6 email, Allum Bokhari mentioned having had access to an account of Yiannopoulos’s with “a password that began with the word Kristall.” Kristallnacht, an infamous 1938 riot against German Jews carried out by the SA — the paramilitary organization that helped Hitler rise to power — is sometimes considered the beginning of the Holocaust. In a June 2016 email to an assistant, Yiannopoulos shared the password to his email, which began “LongKnives1290.” The Night of the Long Knives was the Nazi purge of the leadership of the SA. The purge famously included Ernst Röhm, the SA’s gay leader. 1290 is the year King Edward I expelled the Jews from England.

Joseph Bernstein for Buzzfeed News “Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream” (October 5, 2017)

Video:

(“Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos sings ‘America the Beautiful’ in a Dallas karaoke bar as admirers, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.”) Bernstein

(via Buzzfeed News)

H.L. Mencken ClubPaul Gottfried

When it formed six years ago, the founders of the H.L. Mencken Club envisioned a simple forum for the “intellectual right” to be filled with “young thinkers and activists” ready to tackle the tough issues confronting the country. In reality, though, the club was a gathering place for the country’s most prominent white nationalists.

And this weekend, the Club is at it again, gathering to discuss topics ranging from the state of immigration in the United States, to the so-called war on masculinity and the traditional family.

Speakers at this year’s conference, which is being held at “a hotel near Baltimore-Washington International Airport,” according to the website, include John Derbyshire, the white nationalist fired from the National Review for writing a piece for a separate publication suggesting that white and Asian parents should warn their children that black people pose a threat to their safety. He plans to give a speech with the puzzlingly bland title, “Politics and Intelligence.” William Regnery, who founded the racist journal The Occidental Quarterly and co-founded the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, is scheduled to give a presentation titled “Thrown Off the Bus.”

Ryan Lenz for SPLC “White Nationalist Academics Gather This Weekend for H.L. Mencken Club Annual Meeting” (November 1, 2013)

Trump’s “Very Fine” People:


Brett Talley

Position: Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy

Start date: January 2017 (via LinkedIn)
Associations: [N/A]
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 02: Brett Talley poses for a portrait at Holy Rood Cemetery on Tuesday December 02, 2014 in Washington, DC. Tally is a speechwriter and author. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
About:

Brett Talley had already been voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was on his way to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench when reporters discovered what he’d written about the Klan. Since 2005, Talley, a 36-year-old lawyer nominated for a seat on the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, appeared to have posted more than 16,000 comments on University of Alabama sports message board TideFans.com. Writing as BamainBoston, he commented on everything from race to abortion. He disparaged Muslims, joked about statutory rape, and, most notably, wrote approvingly about Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He defended the “first KKK” as something entirely different than the racist, violent organization it’s known as today.

[…]Even before Talley’s Klan defense posts became public, he had an unusual résumé for someone vying for a federal judgeship. Talley, who also writes horror novels, had been an amateur ghost hunter for a number of years in Alabama. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2007, he practiced law for less than three years and never tried a case. 

Stephanie Mencimer for Mother Jones “Trump Judicial Pick Who Blogged Favorably About the KKK Had to Withdraw. Now He’s at the Justice Department.” (July 2, 2018)

Stephen Miller

Position: Senior Policy Advisor to President Donald Trump

Start date: January 20, 2017 (via ProPublica)
Associations: VDARE, American Renaissance, Richard Spencer, Peter Brimelow, Breitbart News
Senior Advisor to the president Stephen Miller is seen during an immigration event with US President Donald Trump in the South Court Auditorium, next to the White House, on June 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
About:

In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch.

The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children.

[…]Before entering into politics, Miller was in contact with [Peter] Brimelow, the VDARE founder, and Richard Spencer, who went on to become arguably the most notorious white nationalist in America. Spencer helped build the alt-right movement and was a central figure of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

Miller knew and interacted with these men while studying at Duke University as an undergraduate, according to a first-hand account and email evidence. The interactions with Brimelow occurred about eight years after he founded the white nationalist VDARE.

Miller and Spencer, while serving together as members of Duke’s Conservative Union, a politics-focused club for students, arranged for Brimelow to debate journalist and University of Oregon professor Peter Laufer in March 2007 on Mexican immigration to the United States.

Michael Edison Hayden for Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch “Stephen Miller’s Affinity for White Nationalism Revealed in Leaked Emails” (November 12, 2019)

Jon Feere

Position: Senior Advisor at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security

Start date: January 27, 2017 (via ProPublica)
Associations: CIS, VDARE, American Free Press (AFP)
(Photo via C-Span)
About:

Feere is a senior adviser for ICE at the Department of Homeland Security. He also worked as an adviser on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and as a legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, a virulently anti-immigrant and nativist group that was founded by white nationalist John Tanton.

Feere also promoted the white nationalist publication VDare on Twitter and gave a 2012 interview about immigration to the anti-Semitic publication American Free Press.

Eric Hananoki for Media Matters “ICE senior adviser Jon Feere is an Ann Coulter superfan who loves her racist immigration writings” (February 7, 2019)

James McHenry

Position: Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) at the U.S. Department of Justice

Start date: January 10, 2018 (via U.S. DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs)
Associations: CIS
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 31: U.S. Justice Department Executive Office For Immigration Review Director James McHenry testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee questioned McHenry and other administration officials about the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border at the government’s efforts to reunify those families. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
About:

James McHenry attended an “Immigration Newsmaker” event hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in May of 2018.


Elizabeth Jacobs

Position: Senior Advisor to Acting Chief Counsel George Fishman at the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Start date: February 20, 2018 (via ProPublica)
Associations: FAIR
(Photo via plotagainstimmigrants.com)
About:

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Jacobs was a FAIR lobbyist who advocated for ending Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans, defunding sanctuary cities and reducing refugee admissions. She and the president have both claimed it is “far more costly” to resettle refugees in the US than it is to resettle them “closer to the home country,” despite an HHS draft report’s conclusion that the taxes paid by refugees far exceeded the cost of resettlement.

Laura Thompson for Mother Jones “Meet the Extreme Nativists Guiding Our Immigration Policy” (August 5, 2019)

Richard Grenell

Position: Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations

Start date: October 3, 2019 (via White House Press Release)
Associations: Breitbart News
BERLIN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 08: U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell waits for the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for talks with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at the Federal Defense Ministry on November 08, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Pompeo is on a two-day visit to Germany ahead of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
About:

In June last year, Grenell gave an interview to Breitbart London and spoke of his eagerness to support right-wing movements in Europe. “There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on,” Grenell said. “I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders.”

[…]In the same Breitbart interview, Grenell also spoke against George Soros, a favorite bogeyman of far-right conspiracy theorists (my link) and Trump’s inner circle. “Look, I think his policies are failed policies,” Grenell said of the billionaire philanthropist, adding: “I think that they’re very geared towards the elites, not for the silent majority.”

Eric Kleefeld for Media Matters “Another former Fox News employee has a cabinet-level position. Here are some things to know about Richard Grenell.” (February 20, 2020)

Grenell has also described Sebastian Kurz—the Chancellor of Austria who built a coalition party with the extremely antisemitic FPÖ in 2017—as a “rockstar.”

He also pushed Trump’s recent conspiracy theory alleging that Joe Biden won the presidential election due to “illegal votes.” When NBC’s Jacob Soboroff questioned Grenell about these assertions directly, he fled in a van.

(via MSNBC)

Steven Menashi

Position: United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Start date: November 14, 2019 (via U.S. Senate Roll Call)
Associations: [N/A]
UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 11: Steven J. Menashi, nominee to be a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
About:

Steven Menashi, a Stanford-trained lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, wrote dozens of editorials and blog posts in the late 1990s and early 2000s for a number of college and professional publications decrying “leftist multiculturalism” and “PC orthodoxy.” He complained about “gynocentrists,” wrote that the Human Rights Campaign “incessantly exploited the slaying of Matthew Shepard for both financial and political benefit” and argued that a Dartmouth fraternity that held a “ghetto party” wasn’t being racist.

He attacked academic multiculturalism as “thoroughly bankrupt” and, in 2002, defended then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi amid a worldwide controversy over comments asserting the superiority of Western civilization over Islamic culture — for which Berlusconi himself ultimately apologized.

Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck for CNN “Trump court pick denounced feminists, gay-rights groups and diversity efforts in 1990s, 2000s editorials CNN Digital Expansion 2018, Andrew KaczynskiAnchor Muted Background” (August 22, 2019)

The most debated aspect of Menashi’s record, just in terms of the amount of heat its generated among opinion journalists and pundits, is a 2010 academic article he wrote titled “Ethnonationalism and Liberal Democracy.”

That article was flagged by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last month, when she broadcast a lengthy segment claiming that Menashi argued that “democracy can’t work unless the country is defined by a unifying race.”

Ian Millhiser for Vox “The controversy over ‘ethnonationalism’ and a Trump judicial nominee, explained” (November 7, 2019)

Robert Law

Position: Chief for the Office of Policy and Strategy at the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Start date: February 3, 2020 (via USCIS Website)
Associations: FAIR
Robert Law of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Photo via Western States Center)
About:

Before joining the Trump Administration, Robert Law served as government relations director at the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) where he set the policy agenda for the organization and advocated for harsh immigration policies such as ending DACA and eliminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Law co-authored FAIR’s major policy report: Immigration Priorities for the 2017 Presidential Transition, in which he proposed indefinite family detention, the repeal of DACA, and an elimination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Weeks into Law’s job in the Trump Administration, the former FAIR staffer rewrote a recommendation memo on Haiti in an effort to terminate TPS for the country.

The Plot Against Immigrants, Western States Center

Sebastian Gorka

Position: Member of the White House’s National Security Education Board

Start date: July 14, 2020 (via POLITICO)
Associations: Order of Vitéz, Magyar Gárda, Breitbart News
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – FEBRUARY 24: Deputy assistant to President Trump Sebastian Gorka participates in a discussion during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC is an annual gathering of right wing politicians, commentators and their supporters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
About:

In a video obtained by the Forward of an August 2007 television appearance by Gorka, the future White House senior aide explicitly affirms his party’s and his support for the black-vested Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) — a group later condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for attempting to promote an “essentially racist” legal order.

Asked directly on the TV interview program if he supports the move by Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic party, to establish the militia, Gorka, appearing as a leader of his own newly formed party, replies immediately, “That is so.” The Guard, Gorka explains, is a response to “a big societal need.”

Lili Bayer for the Forward “Exclusive: Controversial Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka Backed Violent Anti-Semitic Militia” (April 3, 2017)
Video:
(via Forward)


Kathy Nuebel Kovarik

Position: Chief of Staff of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security

Start date: August 2, 2020 (via ICE Website)
Associations: [N/A]
UNITED STATES – MARCH 27: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, confers with staffer Kathy Nuebel Kovarik during a Senate Judiciary Committee mark up on immigration reform. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
About:

In August, in her former role as the policy and strategy chief at USCIS, Kathy Nuebel Kovarik wrote a memo to then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan recommending USCIS strip deportation protections to migrants undergoing serious medical treatment in the United States, instead of leaving that decision up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In the memo, originally reported by Politico, Nuebel Kovarik wrote that the deferred action policy was “subject to abuse” and was against “the president’s agenda to enforce our existing laws and potentially contrary to his goal of making sure aliens are self-sufficient.” The administration quietly implemented the policy in August, but USCIS eventually reinstated the program after public outcry.

Nuria Marquez Martinez for Mother Jones “The Trump Administration Keeps Promoting Stephen Miller’s Immigration Hardliner Allies” (November 19, 2019)

Anthony Tata

Position: Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense

Start date: November 10, 2020 (via U.S. DoD Press Release)
Associations: [N/A]
WASHINGTON DC – JANUARY 14: Anthony Tata, new COO of the District of Columbia school system, center, talks with Cheryl Wilhoyte, left, Principle, at Brent elementary school in SE DC as Alina Massey and Chum Chancharadeth follow during a tour of the school. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
About:

In May 2018, Tata tweeted at former CIA Director John Brennan, “Might be a good time to pick your poison: firing squad, public hanging, life sentence as prison b*tch, or just suck on your pistol. Your call. #Treason #Sedition #crossfirehurricane #Obamagate”

Andrew Kaczynski, Em Steck, and Nathan McDermott for CNN “Democrats on key Senate committee oppose top Pentagon pick as more inflammatory tweets emerge” (June 15, 2020)

Douglas Macgregor

Position: Senior Advisor to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller at the U.S. Department of Defense

Start date: (TBA)
Associations: RT (Russia Today)
(Screenshot via Fox News)
About:

new senior adviser at the Pentagon repeatedly said the United States’ support for Israel was the result of “Israeli lobby” money and accused prominent officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of becoming “very very rich,” from their support for Israel.

Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, who was appointed as senior adviser to newly installed acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller this week, made the comments in two media appearances in 2012 and 2019.”You have to look at the people that donate to those individuals,” Macgregor said in a September 2019 interview when asked if then-national security adviser John Bolton and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wanted war with Iran. “Mr. Bolton has become very, very rich and is in the position he’s in because of his unconditional support for the Israeli lobby. He is their man on the ground, in the White House.”
[…]
KFile reviewed additional comments from Macgregor in which he said that US involvement in World War II was a “disaster,” and incorrectly said there was no desire in the US to go to war with Nazi Germany. In 2012, he claimed there was evidence that conflict with Japan was engineered to end the Great Depression.

Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck for CNN “Pentagon senior adviser accused Pompeo and senior politicians of taking money and getting rich from ‘the Israeli lobby'” (November 13, 2020)

Darren Beattie

(Photo via CNN)

Position: Appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Start date: (November 18, 2020)
Associations: Peter Brimelow, H.L. Mencken Club
About:

A White House speechwriter for President Trump was terminated last week after revelations that he had spoken at a conference attended by well-known white nationalists, according to three people familiar with the decision who were not authorized to speak publicly. Darren Beattie, who was a visiting instructor at Duke University before he joined the White House speechwriting team, was fired Friday after a media inquiry about his appearance at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club conference (my link), where Beattie spoke on a panel alongside Peter Brimelow.

CNN’s KFile, an investigative unit, published a report Sunday on Beattie and his appearance at the Mencken event, which has been attended in the past by white nationalist Richard Spencer. Spencer is a prominent figure in the “alt-right,” a movement whose adherents are known for espousing racist, sexist and anti-Semitic points of view.

Robert Costa for Washington Post “Trump speechwriter fired amid scrutiny of appearance with white nationalists” (August 19, 2018)
(Archive: https://archive.is/yP58Q)
Part of Beattie’s job as a member of this commission entails preserving Holocaust memorial sites.

WASHINGTON — A former speechwriter fired from the White House in 2018 for attending a conference at which white supremacists were also present has been appointed to a commission tasked with preserving Holocaust-related sites across Europe.

The former speechwriter, Darren Beattie, will join the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, according to a press release sent by the White House on Tuesday evening.

Alexander Nazaryan for Yahoo News “Trump appoints speechwriter fired for attending conference with white nationalists to commission that preserves Holocaust memorials” (November 18, 2020)

Excerpt from Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s *The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology* (1985)

[Emphases my own.]

“This is an unusual history. Although it presents an account of past events relating to the origins and ideology of National Socialism in Germany, its proper subject is not the parties, policies and organizations through which men rationally express their interests in a social and political context. Rather, it is an underground history, concerned with the myths, symbols and fantasies that bear on the development of reactionary, authoritarian, and Nazi styles of thinking. It is also a marginal history, since its principle characters were mystics, seers and sectarians who had little to do with the outer realities of politics and administration. But such men had the imagination and opportunity to describe a dream-world that often underlay the sentiments and actions of more worldly men in positions of power and responsibility. Indeed, their abstruse ideas and weird cults anticipated the political doctrines and institutions of the Third Reich.

For historians trained exclusively in the evaluation of concrete events, causes, and rational purposes, this netherworld may seem delusive. They would argue that politics and historical change are driven only by real material interests. However, fantasies can achieve a causal status once they have been institutionalized in beliefs, values, and social groups. Fantasies are also an important symptom of impending cultural changes and political action. The particular fantasies discussed in this book were generated within an extreme right-wing movement concerned with the creation of a superman elite, the extermination of lesser beings, and the establishment of a new world-order. The nature of this movement has set it quite apart from the mainstream of rational politics in the twentieth century and demands answers relating to its deeper inspiration. An analysis of the fantasies underlying such a movement can provide new answers to old questions.

The following study traces these fantasies by presenting an historical account of the lives, doctrines and cult activities of the Ariosophists, namely Guido von List (1848-1919) and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874-1954) and their followers in Austria and Germany. The Ariosophists, initially active in Vienna before the first World War, combined German völkisch nationalism and racism with occult notions borrowed from the theosophy of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, in order to prophesy and vindicate a coming era of German world rule. Their writings described a pre-historic golden age, when wise gnostic priesthoods had expounded occult-racist doctrines and ruled over a superior and racially pure society. They claimed that an evil conspiracy of anti-German interests (variously identified as the non-Aryan races, the Jews, or even the early Church) had sought to ruin this ideal Germanic world by emancipating the non-German inferiors in the name of a spurious egalitarianism. The resulting racial confusion was said to have heralded the historical world with its wars, economic hardship, political uncertainty and the frustration of German world power. In order to counter this modern world, the Ariosophists founded secret religious orders dedicated to the revival of the lost esoteric knowledge and racial virtue of the ancient Germans, and the corresponding creation of a new Pan-German empire.

The Ariosophists were cultural pessimists. An obvious link exists between their fantasies and the grievances of German Nationalists in the Habsburg Empire of Austria-Hungary towards the end of the nineteenth century. Such factors as Catholicism, the rapid urban and industrial changes in society, the conflict of Slav and German interests in a multi-national state, the rise of the Austrian Pan-German movement under Georg Ritter von Schönerer, and the vogue of social Darwinism and its racist precepts were also crucial influences upon their thinking. The role and importance of occultism in their doctrines is principally explicable as a sacred form of legitimation for their profound reaction to the present and their extreme political attitudes. The fantasies of the Ariosophists concerned elitism and purity, a sense of mission in the face of conspiracies, and millenarian visions of a felicitous national future.

This introduction is intended to set the scene for a detailed examination of Ariosophy. The background against which Ariosophy arose was that of the contemporary nineteenth-century ideas of nationalism, anti-liberalism, cultural pessimism, and racism. Our point of departure will be the völkisch movement which combined these concepts into a coherent ideological system. In his study of the völkisch ideology, George L. Mosse has commented on the spiritual connotations of the word ‘Völk.’ During the nineteenth century this term signified much more than its straightforward translation ‘people’ to contemporary Germans: it denoted rather the national collectivity inspired by a common creative energy, feelings and a sense of individuality. These metaphysical qualities were supposed to define the unique cultural essence of the German people. An ideological preoccupation with the Völk arose for two reasons: firstly, this cultural orientation was a direct result of the delayed political unification of Germany; secondly, it was closely related to widespread romantic reaction to modernity.”

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: *The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology,* New York University Press (1985) [Pgs. 1-3]

The Holocaust – An Introduction (I): Nazi Germany: Ideology, the Jews, and the World — Module 1: Why the Jews?

Taught by Professor Havi Dreifuss and Dr. Na’ama Shik

Week 1

Module 1: Why the Jews? Traditional Anti-Semitism as a Central Background

The Holocaust stemmed from the anti-Semitic Nazi ideology, and yet antisemitism preceded Nazi Germany by more than 2,000 years. Moreover, Jews had a special place in European culture for centuries before The Shoah took place. This prompts us with some questions:

  • “Why the Jews? Why were persons who preserved the Jewish religion or belonged to the Jewish people so deeply hated for centuries by so many?”

  • “What were the motives for this hatred? And did it change or develop throughout history?”

  • “And, above all, was there anything special about Nazi anti-Semitism which contributed to its genocidal character?”

The widespread existence of well-rooted anti-Jewish traditions in modern Europe served as a necessary yet insufficient condition for The Holocaust.

Professor Havi Dreifuss

What is Judaism?

“Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion carrying unique traditions and customs which inspired other religions, mainly Christianity and Islam.” (Dreifuss)

Pupils and teachers in a traditional classroom (cheder), in Grondo, Poland. (Source: Yad Vashem)

“Today, Judaism includes many different notions– cultural, philosophical, and national– which are not of our interest in this course, but in its origin stands obligation to God and His commandments.” (Dreifuss)

The Yeshiva of “Chachame Lublin,” in Lublin, Poland. (Source: Yad Vashem)

“In Judaism, the followers, the Jews, are demanded to obey a detailed set of practical commandments which set the private and public life of the Jewish people and define society’s ethical norms.” (Dreifuss)

Prewar, The Marketplace, Suvainiskis, Lithuania. (Source: Yad Vashem)

“In ancient times, in the Pagan world, such conduct was considered to be very strange.” (Dreifuss)

Antisemitism In The Pagan World [Antiquity — 4th century]

Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, wrote in the beginning of the second century about the Jews:

Moses [the nation’s biblical leader], wishing to secure for the future of his authority over the nation, gave them a novel form of worship, opposed to all that is practiced by other men. Things sacred with us, with them have no sanctity, while they allow what with us is forbidden.

Tacitus, The Histories 1.2


Tacitus described Jews, as he grasped them, as evil strangers shaped by alien customs:

Among themselves, they are inflexibly honest, and ever ready to show compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals. They sleep apart.”

Tacitus, The Histories 1.2


Reading: http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/histories.html

Even in the Hellenistic and Roman world, Jews were viewed as “others,” and hated and feared as such. They were non-Pagans in a world in which Paganism ruled. Their monotheistic beliefs and practical customs were comprehended as suspicious, if not dangerous.

With the rise of Christianities, whose origins are Jewish, and its expansion throughout Europe in the 4th century, this hatred magnified and even further integrated into the theological worldview of Christianity. 

Antisemitism in the Middle Ages [5th century — 15th century]

Along the Middle Ages, a negative image of Jews, as individuals, and as a collective, has been built. It started in antiquity, it continued during the scriptures of the fathers of the church, and it was made of a number of aspects: religious, economic, and racial.

Professor Dina Porat

Religious Facets of Antisemitism

Jews were accused of having crucified Jesus Christ, of not accepting him, of not understanding that he and Christianity are the source of light. Jews served as an antithesis to the Christian conception of the good. They were considered to be the evil ones—the dark ones—both physically and mentally.

The Last Supper – Carl Heinrich Bloch (late 19th century)
Jesus disputes with the Pharisees and is rejected, from the Bowyer Bible (19th century)
An illustration from a medieval manuscript. Top: Jews reject Jesus. Bottom: Jews are being burned at the stake.



Additionally, the figure of Judas Iscariot—the one who betrayed Jesus Christ for the sake of money—this figure has become the symbol and the incarnation of betrayal for money.

The Kiss of Judas, by Giotto di Bondone
Judas being paid thirty pieces of silver, for the betrayal of Jesus.

Economic Facets of Antisemitism

Jews served as a middle class between the lower and upper classes. The lower classes considered them exploiters, who exploit [the lower classes] in favor [of] and for the interest of the upper classes.

Professor Dina Porat

Thus, more negative stereotypes emerged: The ability of Jews to handle money cleverly, and exploit others. And to have mental capacities that others didn’t have—such as the ability of Jewish children, from an early age, to read and write, which was unknown so far in Europe.

All of this was leading to a notion that—taking all of these characteristics together—the Jews, dispersed among the nation, must have some goal, something in common leading them, and this is hurting the Christian body, and the Christian mind, in a multitude of ways. This paranoid is exemplified in ideas such as the blood libel, the lie that Jews collect gentile blood for Passover, and the lie that Jews were poisoning the wells.

Painting of blood libel in Sandomierz Cathedral

This [anti-Semitic caricature of ‘The Jew’] serves until today as a possible explanation for revolutions, wars, and other calamities, including financial crises, because ‘The Jew’ could be held responsible for events that no one took responsibility for.

Professor Dina Porat
From an 18th century etching from Brückenturn. Above: The murdered body of Simon of Trent. Below: The “Judensau.”


As one can see, Jews and Judaism per se became a symbol of something vile, and were identified with a mysterious and mystical satanic power throughout history. […]Anti-Jewish stereotypes became part of the Christian world and penetrated its folklore, culture, and literature, thus becoming part of the general culture of Western society.

Professor Havi Dreifuss


Modern Antisemitism / Racial Antisemitism [19th century — Present Day]

Although the traditional hatred of Jews was shaped and crystalized in a medieval Europe, as a religious hatred, it continued to exist, and even intensified, in modern times of secularity and enlightenment.

Professor Havi Dreifuss

Charles Darwin’s ideas about natural selection were co-opted by so-called “race scientists,” and people throughout Europe started to view Jews as unassimilable aliens. As modern Europe begins to take form, we see the concretization of antecedents which ultimately led Europeans to seek a solution to the “The Jewish Problem.”

Starting at the end of the 19th century, towards the beginning of the 20th century, we see across the European continent, from Paris to Berlin to Warsaw to St. Petersburg, the wider general collapse of the liberal democratic dream of Jews entering European society as equal participants and full citizens, and the rise of social intolerance, political hatreds, tensions, and anti-Semitic movements. In Paris in 1894, with the Dreyfus Affair; in Vienna in 1895 and 1897, with the election of Karl Lueger to the position of head of the city, mayor of the city; and Warsaw, with the national democratic movement led by Roman Dmowski in 1906, 1912– we see time and again that mass politics or modern politics across the European continent embrace, propagate, and manipulate anti-Jewish prejudices and attitudes and turn into anti-Semitic movements. Indeed, across the continent, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Europeans knowingly or willfully embraced anti-Semitic ideologies and politics towards the end of the 19th and the early 20th century.

Professor Scott Ury

The rise of this new racist pseudo-science rendered conversion—one of the old Christian “remedies” to the so-called “Jewish Problem”—worthless.

Starting with Darwin and other thinkers towards the end of the 19th and the early 20th century, anthropologists, biologists, social scientists began looking at society and humanity as distinct groups of peoples and races, groups that were clearly different from one another, and which at times could not be intermixed or could not really be assimilated. In many cases, these racial scientists focused their lens on Jews in Germany, across the continent, and began to produce a series of studies claiming and stating that Jews were not only different from other Europeans, but were ultimately indelible or unassimilable. From this conclusion, many then realized the position that Jews were not simply different or other than their neighbors or other Europeans– in Paris, in Vienna, in Berlin, or Warsaw– but that they were, in fact, a completely different type of society, one that could not be assimilated into the European body of nations.

Professor Scott Ury

“Redemptive Antisemitism” Emerges

One of the more troubling developments of this new ideology of “racial” antisemitism was “that this new ideology carried a promising message. It claimed that the misfortune of so many different social strata in modern Europe was a result of Jewish actions and could be solved accordingly. Economic problems, which were created by industrializations and urbanization, communism, or capitalism– all evil of the modern society stemmed from the Jews. That is, in the turmoil of economic and social modernization, which radically changed European society in the 19th century, anti-Semitism became a political tool.” (Dreifuss)

Log 1: The Republican Party & Far-Right Extremists

1. “Local Idaho GOP urges US to let in Austrian neo-Nazi leader who was in contact with the mass killer in the New Zealand mosque attacks. Why let him in? The neo-Nazi’s girlfriend, a far-right YouTube pundit, wants to marry him there.”

2. “Rep. Steve King met with members of a far-right Austrian party with historical Nazi ties during a European trip to Auschwitz, financed by a Holocaust memorial group.”

3. “Matt Gaetz, a first-term Florida Republican, insisted that he gave the [State of the Union Address] ticket to Charles C. Johnson only by happenstance, telling the Daily Beast that the notorious alt-right troll just ‘showed up at my office’ on the day of the speech”

4. “[Former DHS official] Ian M. Smith had in the past been in contact with a group that included known white nationalists as they planned various events.”

5. “Giuliani appeared next to sanctioned Russian official Sergei Glazyev, a man with a history of working closely with some of the U.S.’s most notorious anti-Semites. The pair were on a panel at the Eurasian Week conference, an annual affair dedicated to the future of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus.”

6. “Miami Republican chairman [Nelson Diaz] reportedly planned Pelosi protest with Proud Boys”

7. “Two Republican congressmen [Phil Roe and Andy Harris] met with noted Holocaust denier and white nationalist Chuck Johnson to discuss ‘DNA sequencing’…”

8. “Email from 2007 ties Trump adviser Stephen Miller to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer”

9. “In a Snapchat video Juan Pablo Andrade, a former Trump campaign adviser who now works for the pro-Trump dark money group America First Policies, expresses support for Nazis, saying his only criticism is that they didn’t do more.”

10. “A Los Angeles attorney who advocates for the creation of a ‘white ethno-state’ is on an official list of Donald Trump’s Republican convention delegates published Monday night by state election officials.”

11. “Self-described Nazis and white supremacists are running as Republicans across the country. The GOP is terrified.”

12. “More than 56K People Voted for Holocaust Denier in Illinois’ 3rd District”

13. “Is a Neo-Nazi Running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in California?”

14. “Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins’ Auschwitz video draws criticism”

15. “GOP Senate candidate Lou Barletta did interview in 2006 with Holocaust-denying publication”

16. “Criminal Court Judge Jim Lammey recently went on Facebook and posted a link to an article by notorious Holocaust denier David Cole.”

17. “Eight out of the 10 most influential accounts for the Twitter discussion around the Great Replacement are French, including several high-profile, far-right politicians. The two non-French accounts on the list are the extreme-right site Defend Europa and, horrifyingly, the president of the United States.”

18. “A number of former FAIR employees now hold positions in the Trump administration. The organization, which was founded in 1979 by the white nationalist and eugenicist John Tanton, is designated an anti-immigration hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

19. “Student booted from Turning Point USA chapter for chanting ‘white power’ in video”

20. “Manhattan Republicans Are Defending Their Invitation To A Violent Far-Right Group”

21. “Roger Stone’s Proud Boys ‘Volunteers’ Have Been Defending Him Online After The Judge Entered A Gag Order”

22. “Emails Show DHS Official Katie Gorka Suggested Anti-Fascists Are ‘The Actual Threats’”

23. “White Nationalists And Nativists Want Americans To Pay To Keep America White”

24. “Clay Higgins was elected to his second term in the U.S House of Representatives. In 2017, Higgins attended an event hosted by the antigovernment extremist group Oath Keepers whose founder Stewart Rhodes boasted of Higgins’ attendance, writing, ‘you will be among thousands of like-minded American patriots from many groups and many states, with some excellent speakers.'”

25. “Young Fascists on Campus: Turning Point USA and Its Far-Right Connections”

26. “U.S. President Donald Trump caused a media storm when he retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by the deputy head of the far-right group Britain First. Jayda Fransen, a former recruitment consultant with a conviction for religiously aggravated harassment behind her, is a high-profile member of the ultra-nationalist grouping that likes to warn of an imminent ‘third world war’ with Islam.”

27. “Reddit User Behind Trump’s anti-CNN Video Has History of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia”

28. “Trump says he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if unfounded conspiracy theory about George Soros funding caravan is true”

29. “Trump’s ‘Caravan’ Is a Made-up Monster Fabricated by the Far Right”

30. “Trump’s Caravan Hysteria Led to This”

31. “Donald Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, former sheriff convicted in racial profiling case”

32. “President Trump has indicated that he is considering pardons for several American military members accused or convicted of war crimes, including high-profile cases of murder, attempted murder and desecration of a corpse, according to two United States officials.”

33. “Steve Bannon’s alt-right academy — and one village’s fight to stop it”

34. “Donald Trump Jr. retweets psychologist who believes Jews manipulate society”

35. “Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream”

36. “Right Side Broadcasting, The ‘Unofficial Version Of Trump TV,’ Forced To Apologize For Contributor’s Call To ‘Kill The Globalists’ At CNN”

37. “Donald Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn Has Called Islam ‘a Cancer'”

38. “Flynn retweets anti-Semitic remark”

39. “PHOTOS: Leaked Documents Show Government Tracking Journalists, Immigration Advocates”

40. “Border Patrol Union Endorses Extremist Video Featuring White Nationalists”

41. “Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC”

41. “Donald Trump campaign tweets photo with Nazi soldiers – then leads polls”

42. “Trump says he wouldn’t have removed ‘Star of David’ tweet”

43. “How Trump Took Hate Groups Mainstream

44. “An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website thatdirectly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,’ according to a letter sent by an immigration judges union and obtained by BuzzFeed News.”

45. “Arizona border agent pleads guilty to intentionally running over migrant near Nogales”

46. “WA House fired Shea aide after ‘bloodshed or Liberty state’ rally speech”

47. “A Louisiana Parish Jailed a U.S. Citizen for Being Latinx. We’re Suing.”

48. “‘No Blame?’ ABC News finds 36 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults.”

49. “Republican discussed violent attacks and surveillance with rightwingers”

50. “Trump Judge Pick Spread Anti-Muslim Pig Blood Bullet Myth”

51. “Alabama Holocaust Commission condemns Brooks’ use of ‘big lie'”

52. “Chair of the Multnomah County Republicans Will Represent Patriot Prayer Leader in Civil Lawsuit”

53. “Spokane GOP chair hosts white supremacist James Allsup at event, accuses media of ‘label lynching'”

54. “U.S. Government Plans to Collect DNA From Detained Immigrants

55. “Secret chats involving Republican lawmaker reveal fresh evidence of plots and paranoia

56. “Stephen Miller’s Affinity for White Nationalism Revealed in Leaked Emails

57. “GOP Senate candidate Lou Barletta did interview in 2006 with Holocaust-denying publication” (follow up here: http://archive.fo/wip/A3ZLz)

58. “Steve Bannon Secretly Met with Alexander Dugin in 2018: The Two Nationalist Firebrands United for a Summit in Rome.

59. “Madison Cawthorn’s Racist Website: GOP wunderkind attacks opponent’s attempt to “ruin white males.”

60. “A top Interior official has controversial views on race. He used a white supremacist website to support them.”