Five years ago today, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a group of far-right fanatics chanting “Jews will not replace us” faced off against a group of counter-protestors chanting “Black lives matter.” The irony that the latter slogan has been adopted by a movement that believes that Jews—uniquely among all the world’s peoples—have no right to sovereignty in their native land was of course lost on those present. As for the first slogan, it did not indicate that the participants in the “Unite the Right” rally were worried that their place in society would be taken by Jews, but instead that Jews would nefariously “replace” white Americans with Hispanics and other non-white immigrants. In race-focused America, this particular combination of anti-Semitism and racism is often misunderstood. James Loeffler, drawing on evidence presented at the civil trial of some of the leaders of the Charlottesville march, adds some clarity:
The Charlottesville defendants were charged with civil conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence against the victims. Their defense strategy consisted of a repeated insistence that they were the true victims, the actual minority pursuing historical justice. They had come to town only to defend a Confederate statue, exercise their First Amendment rights, and confront the totalitarian Left. Any resulting violence was self-defense. The rise of non-white America, through mass migration, Democratic voting machinations, and Communist plots, genuinely imperiled their future.
Given this color-based binary, white Jews might seem irrelevant as a threat. Yet precisely because of their pseudo-whiteness, in supremacists’ telling, Jews constitute racial imposters, who have taken over American society. The proper transformation of American society would restore the demographic and political hierarchy and remove the “Zionist Occupied Government.” Barring that, though, violence was inevitable.
So, why did the Charlottesville marauders skip the town’s synagogue (the community was no less traumatized) to focus on pitched street fighting with Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists? The answer lies in the second dimension of replacement theory. Our enemy, said defendant, Michael Hill of the League of the South, is the “Jew-directed Communist horde” that threatens to destroy the white race.