Revealing the Antisemitism at the Core of White Nationalism

“Antisemitism has become integral to the architecture of American racism.” – Eric K. Ward, “Skin in the Game”, 2017

In 2017, PRA published a first person narrative penned by Eric Ward, a long time civil rights strategist and Executive Director at Western States Center, titled “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism.” As a Black man organizing against White nationalist violence in the 1990s, Eric was struck with the profound realization that “antisemitism forms the theoretical core of White nationalism” and that organizing against antisemitism, in an era of growing White nationalism, is key to protecting Jewish communities, dismantling White supremacy and ending anti-Blackness. Later that year, PRA worked with partner organization Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) to contextualize historical and contemporary antisemitism as a form of oppression, and as a rhetorical lynchpin of anti-Black White supremacy.

The following year, a White nationalist shooter stormed the Tree of Life (L’Simcha) synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing 11 Jews and wounding six others who were gathered on that Saturday for Shabbat morning services. The shooter’s motivations were deeply rooted in the belief, central to White nationalist ideology, that the world’s Jewry are the architects of a strategy to use immigrants and “liberal” policy to undermine White civilization and challenge White existence.

In the wake of the shooting, PRA worked within the U.S. Left to build solidarity around the analysis that fighting antisemitism needs to be an important part of the Left’s project and that Jewish activism and Black, Muslim, and immigrant activism must unite in a mission to weaken and block the White nationalist movement and its foremost champion President Donald Trump. Through political education offered to Fight Back Table—a coalition of 70 Left and progressive organizations including Color of Change, MoveOn, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and People’s Action—PRA brought antisemitism analysis to key groups of national and local organizers. We delivered briefings on how antisemitism is deployed by the Right to fracture racial justice movements and detailed how Left movements can recognize and thus avoid reproducing the antisemitic dog whistles and narrative tropes that have worked their way into national, public discourse.

In partnership with Bend the Arc, JFREJ, and Jews Against White Nationalism, PRA developed a framework of understanding of how antisemitism is key to broader right-wing organizing and helped in the construction of a public-facing campaign for Jewish activist organizations to focus their organizing around combatting White nationalism and the Trump administration.

In pursuit of a united front on the Left, designed to counter the behemoth intersectional and opportunistic Right, we helped establish a movement-wide framework for understanding and combatting the antisemitic roots of White nationalism. As a united racial justice movement, we will create the space necessary to building long-term power together. We will find safety–and ultimately, victory–in solidarity.