US Politics Jonathan Ofir on March 11, 2017
The Camp of the Saints, the novel Steve Bannon favors
“Everywhere, rivers of sperm, streaming over bodies, oozing between breasts, and buttocks, and thighs, and lips, and fingers.”
This is not a description of a hard-core porn-film. This is an excerpt from Jean Raspail’s 1973 French novel, “Camp of the Saints”.
The description is that of a fictional Indian ‘armada’ of 800,000 “wretched creatures” consisting of “scraggy branches, brown and black” with “fleshless Gandhi-arms”, who have come to take over France – that is white Europe – the ‘camp of the saints’.
The title is derived from St. John’s Revelation (20:9):
“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
Now get this: This rabidly racist novel is Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon’s model of perception.
Last week, the Huffington Post ran a piece, noting the numerous times (recorded in quote and audio) Bannon has referred to the white-supremacist cult favorite ‘Camp of the Saints’ as a model. It is noted that upon the novel’s release in the United States in 1975, the influential book review magazine Kirkus Reviews wrote:
“The publishers are presenting The Camp of the Saints as a major event, and it probably is, in much the same sense that Mein Kampf was a major event.”
Since October 2015, Bannon is on record for numerous references to the novel:
“It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe” (October 2015).
“The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration. It’s a global issue today — this kind of global Camp of the Saints” (January 2016)
“It’s not a migration. It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.” (January 2016)
“When we first started talking about this a year ago, we called it the Camp of the Saints. … I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?” (April 2016)
I can’t help doing a pun, and calling this one Bannon’s “My Camp”.
The narrative is perfect for Bannon and the Alt-Right, in that it mocks the left-wing and humanistic liberals who welcome the refugees. They too are tramped upon by the careless, selfish and cultureless savages.
The implication of the Christian-white-supremacist notion in the term ‘camp of the saints’ is not merely a demonization of the non-European and non-white ‘others’, but also a parallel aggrandization and sanctification of ‘us’ – the white, the western, the Christian… But wait, something doesn’t quite fit. Bannon’s “Judeo-Christian” narrative.
Bannon has regularly invoked a Judeo-Christian identity. An exchange between Bannon and now Attorney-General Jeff Sessions from last year, goes:
Bannon: “Do you believe the elites in this country have the backbone, have the belief in the underlying principles of the Judeo-Christian west to actually win this war?”
Sessions: “I’m worried about that….They’re eroding, regularly it seems to me, classical American values that are so critical to our success”.
Bannon gave a speech in 2014 at the Vatican. He said:
“If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian west struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing. [….] They were able to stave this off, and they were able to defeat it, and they were able to bequeath to us a church and a civilization that really is the flower of mankind”.
That should scare people, really it should – the notion of a fundamentalist ‘Judeo-Christian’ holy-war by the west, as a bulwark against a supposedly barbaric, uncivilized Islam.
But wait, where have we heard this before?
“For Europe, we would form part of a bulwark against Asia there [Palestine], we would serve as the advance post of civilization against barbarism.” – Theodore Herzl, Der Judenstaat.
Bannon’s racism is hardly worth discussing. But what about anti-Semitism? Could he be anti-Semitic even if he says ‘Judeo-Christian’? Ostensibly, the ‘Judeo-Christian’ narrative cancels that option out – I mean, Jews are in the ‘camp of saints’, right?
As Shane Burley noted in a coverage of the Alt-Right, when Richard Spencer was asked about the very essence of the Alt-Right, he answered it first with one word: Inequality. He then elaborated that the Alt Right was built on the truth that “all men were created unequal.”
Essentially then, for the Christian white supremacists, in the more liberal case, Jews could well be described as ‘separate but equal’.
Three months ago, when Spencer was challenged by Texas Hillel Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, the rabbi said:
“My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion and love. Will you sit down and learn Torah with me, and learn love?”
Spencer left Rosenberg speechless when he answered him:
“Do you really want radical inclusion into the State of Israel? And by that I mean radical inclusion. Maybe all of the Middle East could go move in to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Would you really want that?”, Spencer said.
It was as if Spencer had stuck a knife straight into Rabbi Rosenberg’s Jewish-Zionist heart, and Rosenberg kept losing that debate, because he really couldn’t reconcile those values of ‘radical inclusion and love’ with his other pet – Zionism.
Spencer makes no secret of his appreciation for Jews, when they are exclusivist. “Jews exist precisely because you did not assimilate,” Spencer went on. “That is why Jews are a coherent people with a history and a culture and a future. It’s because you had a sense of yourselves. I respect that about you. I want my people to have that same sense of themselves.” This is why Spencer calls his white-supremacy a kind of “white-Zionism”.
Usage of Jews in order to rebuff allegations of anti-Semitism can reach an appalling degree, as when President Trump last month (February 15th) dodged a question regarding a wave of anti-Semitic incidents, by using his family as human shields. He was asked:
“Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we’ve seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic — anti- Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder, what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the states and in Israel and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?”
After dodging the question with a long boast of his electoral victory, Trump turned to dodge it using his family: his Jewish son-in-law (and advisor) Jared Kushner, as well as his ‘beautiful [Jewish] grandchildren’.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even backed him in that. He simply injected more schmaltz to aid Trump:
“If I can respond to something that I know from personal experience, I’ve known President Trump for many years, and to allude to him or to his people, his team, some of whom I’ve known for many years too — can I reveal, Jared, how long we’ve known you? … There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.”
But Trump had never addressed the central question: the wave of anti-Semitic incidents. A day later (February 16th), a Jewish-Orthodox reporter made a sincere effort to clarify that this was NOT just personal to Trump:
“So, first of all, my name is Jake Turx. I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren — you are their zayde [granfather in Yiddish]. However, what we are concerned about and what we haven’t being heard addressed is how the government is planning to take care of it. There are reports that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to—”
But to no avail. Trump dodged it again, this time by attacking Turx for being a ‘liar’ (because the question wasn’t as ‘straight and simple’ as it was supposed to be, according to Trump), as well as attacking the ‘press’ as a whole.
“He said he was going to ask a easy question — okay sit down, I understand the rest of your question. So here’s the story folks, number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have seen in your entire life. Number two, racism. The least racist person. We did relatively well — quiet, quiet, quiet — see he lied about what was going to be a very straight simple question. I hate the charge. I find it repulsive, I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the Prime Minister, you heard Netanyahu yesterday. Did you hear him, Bibi, he said I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and said forget it so you should take that instead of getting up and asking a very insulting question like that. Just shows you about the press but that’s the way the press is.”
Thus, again, Trump uses ‘Bibi’s’ endorsement of him. If ‘Bibi’ said ‘forget it’, then everyone should forget it.
Former Anti-Defamation League chair Abraham Foxman is also running the same line about the anti-semitic incidents, as noted by The Forward last week:
“I’m telling them: ‘Cool it, cool it. But it’s very tough. People are very emotional.”
The Forward further notes that
“even though Foxman believes Trump empowered haters with his appeals to far right wing white nationalists, he does not think the president himself is a bigot. “He legitimized it, but he did not create it,” Foxman said. “Trump is not an anti-Semite.”
Oh boy. Read that sentence again: “He legitimized it, but he did not create it”. Neither did Foxman create Trump – but he just legitimized his empowering of far right wing nationalist haters.
Larry Solov, the Israeli-Jewish co-founder of Breitbart News, says in his own article that
“a lot of people don’t realize this but Breitbart News Network really got its start in Jerusalem”… “One night in Jerusalem, when we were getting ready for dinner, Andrew [Breitbart, ed.] turned to me and asked if I would de-partner from the 800-person law firm where I was practicing and become business partners with him. He said he needed my help to create a media company. He needed my help to “change the world.”
The cover photo for the article portrays what appears to be the founding group, with Netanyahu at the front.
The senior editor of Breitbart is Joel Pollak, an Orthodox Jew. Appearing a couple of weeks ago on the ABC program The View, Pollak was asked by Joy Behar to explain “the rise of anti-Semitism,”
Pollak framed the issue as an exclusively left-wing matter (which would conveniently conflate it with Palestinian solidarity and popular protests against Israel), saying:
“I’m really glad the media finally woke up to this phenomena. It started quite a long time ago, long before Donald Trump ran for president, particularly in California where I live, on college campuses, there’s been a rising tide of anti-Semitism linked to far left-wing criticism of Israel. It’s very tough to be a Jewish student on some of these campuses nowadays.”
Pollak did the same Jewish-human-shielding trick here:
“And I think that I feel very proud that Donald Trump not only is one of the most pro-Israel presidents that we’ve ever had, but his daughter Ivanka tonight will light the Sabbath candles just like my wife will, and bring in the Sabbath. To me, that is something extraordinary in America history”, he said.
Behar didn’t give up:
“But you know that phrase, one of my best friends is Jewish, it’s meaningless really. You can still be an anti-Semite and have Jewish relatives.”
Pollack, recovering from Behar’s near-knock-out, still tries to save his soul:
“I agree with you. When people say my friends are Jewish, it doesn’t cut it”.
Behar: “Or I have a black friend”.
Pollak: “But when your in-laws are Jewish, you have a little more credibility.”
Now isn’t that interesting? The ‘some of my best friends are Jewish’ thing doesn’t really cut it – but to be married in with Jews – that’s something. That gives credibility.
I think there’s something very central to be understood here:
The old-fashioned anti-Semitism from before Israel’s existence, has historically had a predominantly Christian-white constituency, which applied hate of Jews as a general religious-ethnic target. With the rise of Zionism, and particularly with the establishment of Israel, Zionists have found common cause with anti-Semites (even with Nazis), in the notion of an exclusivist nation-state (which would dovetail with anti-Semitic wishes to concentrate the Jews elsewhere as well as act against the notion of assimilation). With the growth of Israel’s military capacity, and particularly so from 1967, the Jewish State also proved as a military power asset (nuclear no less), serving as that “advance post of civilization against barbarism” as Herzl had envisioned. So the new white-supremacists have found a model that happened to be created by a certain stream of Jews – the ‘strong Jews’ of Zionism. And the advantage that this alliance creates is far more substantial in realpolitik terms for those power-seeking white-supremacists, than the redundant old anti-Semitism. Because the ‘new Jews’ (if to make analogy to 1930’s Europe) are now predominantly the Muslims.
We therefore need to make this shift in our notions. Many Jews are colluding with the most vile racists today, because although the ‘back yard’ of these racists is full of people who are more unabashed about hating Jews, the more savvy leaders manage to keep their front lawn ‘Jew friendly’, and this brings advantages to both sides. The ‘collateral’ of actual anti-Semitism, is carefully downplayed by Jews who see Zionism as a key element in their identity and ideology.
In the glorification of white supremacy and the ‘Judeo-Christian camp’, the Jews get to enjoy a ‘sainthood’ endowed upon them by Saint Bannon – they get to be in the ‘camp of the saints’, against those black and brown savages, whose resemblance of Gandhi is apparently beyond appalling, not only in the physical sense, but also in the ideological sense. Thus, the case is insidiously made, that left-wing ‘tolerance’ and ‘multi-culturalism’ is merely a naiveté, opening a gate to the destruction of the ‘camp’. The alignment of the administration of Trump and Bannon with Jews who seek Jewish exclusivity at the expense of Palestinians is thus no accident. Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a major fundraiser for the Jewish settlement of Beit El, which is built entirely on stolen Palestinian private property. Friedman is on record for considering the liberal Jewish-American J Street (which generally hold liberal-Zionist positions) as “far worse than kapos” (‘Kapos’ meaning prisoners of Nazis who were assigned as guards over other prisoners – the term is used colloquially to refer to Jews who have no loyalty to ‘their own’).
Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and White House Advisor Jared Kushner sits on the board of directors for the family Kushner Foundation, which for years has been funding rabidly violent settlements and radical religious settlement institutions, such as the radical Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar. This particular yeshiva was banned from funding in 2011 by the Israeli Government, as it has served as a base for launching violent attacks against nearby Palestinians villages and Israeli security forces, as well. The Yeshiva published the book Torat Hamelech in 2009, advocating that babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”The Yitzhar rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur further opined in the book, that the prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’ applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,”, and that non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination”.
These are the Jews who serve as part of the administration, of which Steve Bannon is Chief Strategist. The ‘shared values’ here are not to be missed. They are all about a walling out of the “barbarians from the east”, who have come to defile the Camp of the Saints. It is not clear how long Jews will retain their noble status as ‘separate but equal’ under this ideological arrangement, but it would appear that as long as they can offer the ‘Christian Whites’ that “advance post of civilization against barbarism”, then all will be well for them – at least that’s what some seem to believe. Meanwhile, the other ‘saints’ can go a bit wild back in the ‘camp’. But let’s not make a fuss. “Cool it, Cool it”, says Abe Foxman.
- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/03/bannons-christian-saints/#sthash.PuQLUEIh.dpuf