Analysis by Reporting San Diego
August 18, 2017 (San Diego). My first question, when I read this on my feed in the morning was, what the hell was Israeli Channel 2 TV thinking? Then I went, of course, Richard Spencer is news worthy, and reporters speak to people that are not always nice. You can watch the video at Ha’Aretz. Oh and social media was brutal.
What I will do though, is unpack it. It needs quite a bit of unpacking, and it marks a dangerous turn. Yes, Spencer was talking to some in the Israeli right, who cynically have been using the American religious right for decades. In particular, the millenarian, end of days, religious right. This is a little insight into Israeli politics.
They see people like John Hagee and fellow end timers as useful idiots. Why? They are a small, but very loud group in the Christian Right that sees the foundation of the State of Israel as the beginning of the end times. Meaning, when all the Jews go back to Israel, the final battle will come, and Jesus will return. Never mind that millions will die.
For the record, the Israeli left does not like these people. But both the Israeli Right, and the Israeli religious right, have found common cause with them.
The American religious right has an interest in the continued survival of the Jewish state, because in the end 100,000 Jews will see the light, after the last battle, and convert. The field for this final battle, is in Israel. It is at Tel Meguido, and this is the battle of Armageddon in the Book of Revelations. So they are very strong supporters, not in a healthy way if you ask me, and lobby all administrations constantly. Some of these ministers have had the ear of presidents.
In particular, Hagee has recently met with President Donald Trump.
That context, and trust me, I am simplifying this a lot, matters. Spencer was speaking to these people in that interview. Many in this millenarian movement do monitor Israeli media far more carefully than I do. You might even call this an attempt at recruitment.
Spencer, with a wink and a nod, is making common cause with keeping Israel going, as an ethno-state. It also supports his belief that whites need one too. Think for a second what I wrote about the end of days. Implied in all this series of toxic believes, is a second Holocaust.
However, this matters, Spencer is as popular right now as the plague. Hagee, and others like him, are far more mainstream. So this helps to spread the message of pure race based states, and recruitment within Millenarian Christians might be easier. It will help to validate the message with a group that otherwise might run away.
Yes, Spencer is trying to grow from the far fringes into middle class respectability. This is why I was scratching my head.