On Saturday, the U.S. experienced what is likely the most deadly attack on Jews in American history. The attack was carried about by Robert Bowers, a white nationalist antisemite and xenophobe, who targeted Tree of Life because of the synagogue’s support for refugees. Bowers is part of a rising tide of emboldened members of the far-right. From Hungary to the U.S., these far-right groups have adopted Jews as a scapegoat for developments they see as problematic, such as immigration of Muslims and progress towards racial and gender justice.
The far-right is not a fringe group that has no broad base of support in American society. Rather, the mainstream American right is stoking the flames. Conspiracy theories about George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, have become mainstream on Fox News. Trump himself suggested that Soros funded the Kavanaugh protests. In the weeks before Tree of Life, prominent Republicans like Representative Matt Gaets of Florida and conservative commentator Matt Schlapp theorized that George Soros was funding the Central American migrant caravan, a theory disturbingly echoed by the man who murdered 11 Jews in Pittsburgh.
The re-emergence of the Stanford College Republicans in the past year has shown us that the far-right has found a place on the Stanford campus. Last November, SCR brought noted Islamophobe Robert Spencer to campus. They have defended Brett Kavanaugh, railed against abortion and claim that “Social Justice Warriors” are their “enemies.” Last year, at the California College Republicans Convention, SCR met with Milo Yiannopoulos, whom they described as “fun and inspiring.” Milo, of course, was banned in June from Paypal and Venmo after sending Nazi content to a Jewish journalist and, famously, sang “America the Beautiful” in front of a crowd of white nationalists performing the Nazi salute. Now, The Daily is reporting that SCR plans to bring far-right conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza to campus. D’Souza, who “accidentally” retweeted a tweet with the hashtag “#burnthejews,” is a prolific Soros conspiracy theorist, said that Adolf Hitler wasn’t homophobic and has compared the Jewish politician Bernie Sanders to Hitler.
SCR claims that “D’Souza is in no way, shape or form an anti-Semite” and that “no Stanford group has done more to combat anti-Semitism than SCR.” It seems like a joke. How can an organization that is inspired by Milo and invites D’Souza to campus claim to be fighting antisemitism?
SCR wants to be the Jewish community’s “right” saviors, but they are not. We, as Jewish students, must not allow SCR’s enablement of anti-semitism to go unchecked. We cannot let them claim to represent Jewish students. They attempt to divide us from our Muslim peers and other marginalized communities, but they cannot. We must stand clearly and unequivocally opposed to the alt-right and all who enable them … and that includes the Stanford College Republicans.
— Jewish Voice for Peace at Stanford
Contact the author of this piece, Jennifer Perry ’19 at jperry13 ‘at’ stanford.edu.