"I think what is different today is that we’re seeing a perfect storm, in that usually it comes from either the right or the left politically. Today we’re seeing it from the political right and the political left.’’
-Deborah Lipstadt on antisemitism
White Noise, The Atlantic’s new first-ever documentary, chronicles four years of investigating the roots of white nationalism in the U.S. and abroad. I hope you check out this trailer and go on to watch the full documentary too. When I read this Q&A between The Atlantic’s editor Jeffrey Goldberg, White Noise director Daniel Lombroso and executive producer Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, I knew this is a documentary I am going to watch.
Their conversation starts with:
Jeffrey Goldberg: White Noise is about the rise of far-right nationalism in the United States. Why did you start following the story?
Daniel Lombroso: I started covering the alt-right in 2016. I saw age-old hatreds—racism and anti-Semitism—bubbling up online, on chat forums, but also on college campuses, where I had been just a few years earlier. We started with a short documentary on Richard Spencer, who was then relatively unknown, and in filming a speech he gave in November 2016, we caught a room full of people breaking out into Nazi salutes. Then when Charlottesville happened, nine months later, we knew it had to be a feature film.
Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg: Charlottesville made it clear that these ideas hadn’t faded after the election. If anything, they were growing stronger.
Here is their full conversation.
AND, last week shortly after I finished the Bulletin I read "Stop Being Shocked" by Bari Weiss in Tablet Magazine. In this excellent piece Weiss points out how the likes of Linda Sarsour, AOC and Ibram Kendi are laying siege to American liberalism in general and what it means and could mean to us as Jews and to Zionism in particular. She writes about how a small vocal group of "sub-standard thinkers" can influence opinion and reshape what is acceptable in a way that makes speeches by former President Obama or friendships like that of RBG and Justice Scalia become unacceptable to anyone who wants to consider themselves anti-racist. In that world, attending an event honoring Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, who was assassinated for his efforts to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians, would be unacceptable.
The saddest thing for me is that when Weiss says stopped being shocked, I am not shocked at all. Not even a little. It is perhaps easier to identify and relate to the dangers of the alt right because of where and how they march and perhaps because approximately 70 percent of Jews are liberal. But the dangers progressives pose to agendas and conversations may end up in the next Atlantic documentary. Sadly as Jews we are most vulnerable to both