Elad Nehorai, an Orthodox Jewish activist who campaigns against racism through his organization Torah Trumps Hate, says that he has seen an alarming rise in the embrace of white nationalist rhetoric and ideology among some members of his community.
Writing in Forward, Nehorai claims that he’s seen an increasing number of comments made by Orthodox Jews that go beyond simple racism or prejudice, and instead suggest more of an ideological commitment to white nationalist views. In fact, Nehorai contents that “the philosophy of white nationalism that justifies racism” is “spreading like a virus among many Orthodox Jews.”
In particular, Nehorai says that he recently found himself horrified to see some members of the Orthodox Jewish community whom he knows defending President Donald Trump’s declaration that he doesn’t want to accept any immigrants from “shithole” African countries.
“It always boiled down to the same rationalizations, those used by [white nationalists Richard Spencer and David Duke]: Haiti and Africa are indeed shitholes, and Trump was right not to want people from those countries,” he writes. “Was it the majority of the Orthodox world? Doubtful. But was it a portion large enough to be concerned about? Absolutely.”
When trying to figure out why these views are spreading in the community, Nehorai points the finger at Orthodox Jewish conservative writers such as Ben Shapiro and Breitbart’s Joel Pollack, who both defended Trump calling African countries “shitholes.”
“Rather than Duke and Spencer, it’s these writers whose names you hear at shul,” he writes. “It is these voices that the average politically engaged and Orthodox Jew listens to.”