Twenty years ago, my book on Neo-Nazis: A Growing Threat (shown above) was published. Unfortunately, that threat is still real and it involves not just Neo-Nazis but the entire white nationalist/supremacist movement that is growing in the United States and worldwide. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederates, and Christian Identity are also white nationalists. They all focus on what they believe is the inferiority of nonwhites and their hatred of Jews.
Christian Identity (or simply Identity) is a religious ideology that is still preached in extreme right-wing circles. Using pseudo Christian teachings, Identity is based on a “two-seed” theory of humankind origin. In the biblical story of Adam and Eve, the couple had two sons, Cain and Abel. A jealous Cain killed Abel. But according to Identity, there were two sons named Abel and Seth. Supposedly Eve then had sexual intercourse with a snake and produced Cain who murdered Abel.
Many Identity believers “consider Jews to be the Satanic offspring of Eve and the Serpent, while non-whites are called ‘mud peoples’ created before Adam and Eve. Identity’s “virulent racist and anti-Semitic beliefs are usually accompanied by extreme anti-government sentiments. Despite its small size, Christian Identity influences virtually all white supremacist and extreme anti-government movements. It has also informed criminal behavior ranging from hate crimes to acts of terrorism,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.
In the past, Identity leaders have included Robert Miles (now dead), the KKK Grand Dragon of Michigan and Richard Butler (who died in 2004), founder of the Aryan Nations. Butler built a military compound in Idaho with hopes of establishing a whites-only homeland in northwestern states. Aryan Nations was an anti-Semitic and anti-black group that became one of the most dangerous white-supremacist organizations from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Today little has changed except for names and places. As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted: “Adherents of white nationalist groups believe that white identity should be the organizing principle of the countries that make up Western civilization. White nationalists advocate for policies to reverse changing demographics and the loss of an absolute, white majority. Ending non-white immigration, both legal and illegal, is an urgent priority.”
And there is no doubt that white nationalists/supremacists spread their hatred of Judaism, as almost anyone who follows the news is aware. Their hatred becomes the basis for manifestos like that of the nineteen-year-old who entered the Poway, California, Chabad Synagogue with the clear intent to kill as many people as possible. White supremacists beliefs also led to the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the mass killings of Muslims at Christchurch mosque in New Zealand.
There have been many more of these hate crimes and people have lamented and offered “thoughts and prayers” for the victims. Indeed, Trump called the rabbi at the Poway synagogue to offer his condolences and the rabbi publicly announced his gratitude and heaped abundant praise on Trump. However, the rabbi (fraught with grief) may not have known or been aware that Trump has done little to stem the increasing threat of white nationalism and anti-Semitic attacks. In fact, when asked whether white nationalism is a rising global threat, Trump said “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” Well if he would read or listen to experts studying white nationalism and white supremacists, he wouldn’t be guessing.
Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, told CNN: “From the White House to the House of Representatives, we have people trivializing and politicizing anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. It’s unconscionable…. It is time for the White House, for Congress, to apply the resources to this problem that we applied to the problem of Islamic jihadist terrorism since 9/11.”