"A Spiraling Controversy Over Anti-Semitic Comments and Conspiracy Theories Has Roiled the Washington City Government"

Rothschilds, "fake Jews," "termite[s]," Louis Farrakhan, and more.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The AP (Ashraf Khalil) reports; read the whole thing.

Special bonus connection, for those intrigued by the rich tapestry of modern anti-Semitism: According to the theories of my Caucasoid correspondent, AP reporter Ashraf Khalil—who I understand is Egyptian-American—is likely, alongside me, a "Middle East Arab (Jew)." The plot runs deep.

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  1. Look, Professor, I need some nice weather for a picnic I’m having. Nothing scorching, but no rain. Gentle breezes, clear skies. Can you work your connections and make it happen?

  2. Anyway, they warned us that if we elected Trump we’d see anti-Semitism at the very seat of the federal government – now it’s happening!

  3. How Do I Tell My Children That Donald Trump Is Now President?

    “…As a progressive Jew, a longtime Israeli and a native-born American, I have gone through this so many times my soul drops like a rock just thinking about it. I will admit straight out that many years of parenthood in a nightmare haven’t taught me much….

    “Don’t tell them, for example, to get ready to say goodbye to the country they thought they knew. The laws that protect them, the democracy which keeps them safe and free. Don’t tell them ? even if it turns out to be true ? that this is a nightmare, and it’s not going to end.”

  4. It is possible that Trayon White’s statement was not anti-Semitic. He may have been unaware that conspiracies around the Rothschilds are often intertwined with conspiracies about Jews generally. But there is no avoiding the fact that this conspiracy is insane. If there were such a conspiracy, the Rothschilds would have to operate a weather machine in secret at a low enough cost that they can profit from controlling the weather.

    It is unfortunate that someone who has a position that allows him to influence public policy simply does not understand how the real world works. When people accept implausible conspiracies they read about on the internet, without any evidence, resources are devoted to addressing imaginary problems, at the expense of addressing real issues. That is the real scandal.

    1. That fact that he believes the Rothchild’s control the weather is secondary to his general belief that *anyone* may be using a weather machine, Jew or otherwise. Before his election to City Council, this man was on the DC Board of Education. Woe be to the already mostly poor minority underprivileged DC public school students under his guidance.

      Also, besides the weather machine debacle, don’t forget that Trayon White also somehow inexplicably managed to have difficulties in his tour of the Holocaust Museum, including leaving after 45 minutes of only a 1.5 hour tour, and may have further violated local law donating constituent serve funds to Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic rant-fest known as Saviors Day.

      We don’t need to decide if Trayon White is simply dumber than dirt or an antisemite. He seems to be both.

      1. Hey, maybe he just watched too much Kim Possible and assumed that there were weather machine dealers sitting around everywhere.

      2. I agree. The fact that this guy seems to be a complete imbecile is more troubling than his specific unhinged ravings.

      3. The other stuff makes him look insane, but I couldn’t even go into the holocaust museum, I tear up at the thought. I have no shame that my mom and sister told me about the shoes display and I cried.

        1. White’s problem wasn’t that he was emotionally overcome, but rather he claims he was annoyed by the presence of a reporter. A reporter whom his chief of staff told was welcome to come. White apparently just didn’t want any publicity.

    2. If there were such a conspiracy, the Rothschilds would have to operate a weather machine in secret at a low enough cost that they can profit from controlling the weather.

      Have you counted the percentage of science Nobel Prizes won by Jews? You’re going to doubt they could make an economical weather control machine?

      1. Nice try, Bigoted Right-Wing Mini-Me.

        Prof. Volokh and some other right-wingers may like your attempt to impersonate me, but better people will consider you just another representative of backward movement conservatism.

        Carry on, clingers. So far as your lousy educations, bigoted souls, and breathtaking gullibility can carry anyone.

      2. Have you taken into account that the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Obama before he did anything, not to mention dictators, terrorists, etc. receiving the same? Truly sad that it makes one wonder about all the Nobel Prizes!

  5. Too many commas. Eugene is not a middle eastern Arab Jew. He’s a Eastern European caucasoid Jew.

    And obviously, White was “unaware the Rothschild theory could be construed as Anti-Semitic.” Controlling the weather is a super power the Jews should be proud of. Afterall, “Storm controlling the climate to create natural disasters” isn’t a racist statement just because Ororo Munroe is black. It’s a useful tool in fighting crime and galactic threats.

    1. The US government considers both Middle Eastern and Eastern European people to be Caucasian Race of different Ethnic categories.

  6. If EV is part of a cabal that controls the weather, can we call him Stormy?

    1. Stormy Volokh?

      Jewish hero with legal superpowers?

      1. Attorney Volokh: “Chief Justice and the other Justices, I know I lost this argument before, but I am asking the court to revisit it . . .

        [Woosh…a tornado comes down and sucks up all 4 liberal justices.]

        . . . now!!!”

        The screenplay writes itself. “Mr. Smith goes to Washington and Levels it to the (ironically, swamp-like) Ground.”

  7. First, anti-semitism is very bad. My heart is for Human Rights and sometimes causes me to question heavy handed policies by governments. It provokes an immense amount of anxiety that some might see this criticism as Antisemitism. It plants seeds of doubt that I might be somehow implicated in the horrifying images of the Holocaust, and pains my chest.

    Asking my Dad why he thought Obama was a Muslim, he first responded “he’s a Muslim!”. Ok, sure, I say. What specific evidence is there? He shakes his head, and says no, that doesn’t matter. Do you believe or don’t you! Yes or no! It is then I realized conspiracy theories operate like religion. You either believe the Bible or you don’t. Any amount of testing doctrine with reason is intolerable. Doctrine is proved by the personal experience of divine revelation, which is in turn inspired by the divine revelation of others you know and love. While I disagree with my dads willful (and hateful) ignorance, I love him to death, I tell him it is a hateful belief.

    It is good for the fight against antisemitism, that if he is unwilling to answer questions of reason (as opposed to questions of belief), then he be made an example of by firing, based on the standard of being unwilling to reason in good faith.

    Thank you for the opportunity to try and defend myself, and speak my peace.

  8. If the city council member are looking for a thowdown, i would think a hilarious parade of one-line jokes could be put on placards, and paraded down the street to demonstrate the sheer idiocy of antisemitism.

  9. Others have said this better than I can, but it does seem strange to me that the emphasis is on the possible but implausible “Jews control … ” instead of the flatly impossible ” … control the weather”. He is just a city councilman, but there should be much more ridicule directed his way than Reagan got for having an astrology advisor. He deserves to be literally laughed out of office and to be such a laughing stock that he never runs for any political office again.

  10. Out of curiosity Professor should I take this comment to imply that you view Semites (Jews like yourself as well as Arabs) as white?

    I ask because I’ve had some arguments with Jewish friends who tend to think that no one regards arabs as white and it’s thus a kind of unfairness or slight when Jewish individuals are viewed as white. While I tend to believe that there is just a degree of variation in how the term is applied (even if there may be some bias involved as well) and some people simply regard white as including Semites and I’d like to get more information.

    1. No one regards Arabs as white? News to me. Put a random Arab in western clothes, western hairstyle, and drop them anywhere in the U.S. They’ll be sight classified as white. Unless they’re dressed as Arabs the typical man in the street won’t recognize them as Arabs. I recognize Hasidim as Jewish when I see them because they dress like Hasidim. Same way I recognize Amish or Mennonites. My HS graduating class was 25+% Jewish. (No blacks or Asians. Suburban NJ 1970s.) Except for the ones that continually wore yarmulkes you couldn’t tell Jewish kids from non-Jewish kids. Could be why Jewish are identified as white. There are some physical characteristics that Jews supposedly can be identified by, but they’re far from accurate. I need more than the fingers on both hands to count the times people have mistaken me for Jewish. Including Jewish people.

      Sort of like Puerto Ricans who insist they’re not white. Most Puerto Ricans I know would be classified as white if they wanted to be. Being Hispanic gives them a leg up on the diversity parade for promotions.

      It wasn’t until I moved here that I really recognized what a Roman nose was. It’s pretty easy to tell if someone in town is of Italian descent by looking at their nose. You can’t completely rule out Italian ancestry if they don’t have a Roman nose, but can be sure of it if they do. But they’re all white. Now. Once upon a time in U.S. history they weren’t regarded as such….

    2. I’d say that almost all American Jews, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, are white. The same is so of most middle Easterners, including Arabs and Mizrahi Jews.

      1. IAW US government race classifications; that statement is 100% accurate. Not to mention that Hispanic/Latino are other Ethnic categories, along with Middle Eastern and others, included in the White (Caucasian) Race.

      2. Thanks for your response.

    3. First of all, “white” is not an ethnic category, so asking whether group X is “white” is silly. Whites do not, across the board, share an ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, heritage.

      Second, the notion that Arabs and Jews are both “semites” in some sort of racial sense is based on a misconception. The whole idea originated with linguists who categorized both Hebrew and Arabic, among others, as Semitic languages.

      Third, as you probably know, the term “anti-semitism” was invented in the 19th century to refer specifically to anti-Jewish sentiments. It has nothing to do with Arabs, or semitic languages.

      1. White isn’t an ethnic category? Might want to tell the diversity police about that. White, Asian, Black are the 3 largest categories that most people fall into. Under your idea that white isn’t an ethnic category then neither is black. The UK, full of Scots, Irish, Welsh, English, and Cornish and Manx and some other small ethnic groups. And they can pretty much tell each other apart at a glance. We can’t. But if you have a crowd 2 of each, plus 2 Germans, French, Belgian and Swedes- the group isn’t considered diverse by people who rank such things because they’re all WHITE. The UK is considered non-diverse. Chad is much more diverse. From the CIA factbook,14 listed tribes, plus Arabs, plus tribes too small a percentage to be listed. Those 14 tribes are all black You could mix them altogether and neither we nor the Brits could tell the tribe members apart- but they can. Nigeria from the CIA factbook? Over 250 tribes and 500 languages. They’re very diverse. And all black. Search diversity map Washington Post for the diversity ratings. Link too long for comments.

        1. “Might want to tell the diversity police about that. White, Asian, Black are the 3 largest categories that most people fall into.”

          Those are racial categories, not ethnic categories.

          Ethnicity is about national/cultural origin not race. Each of the recognized races divides into many ethnicities.

        2. Under your idea that white isn’t an ethnic category then neither is black.

          African-Americans are an ethnic group, and would be if they had white skin. They have a distinctive history, place of origin, and culture, among other things, just like Italians, or Irish or …..

          White, Asian, Black are the 3 largest categories that most people fall into..

          So are short, medium height, and tall. Just because you can break people into groups on some basis doesn’t make your categories ethnic groups.

          In fact, the rest of your comment supports my point. You list various groups that have the same skin color, but not the same ethnicity.

          The reason the “diversity police” approach things the way they do is that skin color has been important in the Us, but for whites mostly as “non-blacks,” rather than as a unique group. I’m Jewish. I’m white. But am I a member of the same ethnic group as my Italian friend? No.

          1. “am I a member of the same ethnic group as my Italian friend? No.”

            Does that change if your Italian friend converts to Judaism?

            What if it turns out your Italian friend’s mom was impregnated by EV’s dad, not the guy she was married to?

            Jews aren’t an ethnic group at all, even if lots of Jews share ethnic origins.

            1. Does that change if your Italian friend converts to Judaism?

              No.

              What if it turns out your Italian friend’s mom was impregnated by EV’s dad, not the guy she was married to?

              Doesn’t matter.

              Jews aren’t an ethnic group at all, even if lots of Jews share ethnic origins.

              It’s complicated. Certainly not all Jews have the same ethnicity, with converts being an obvious example. Nonetheless, not only do many Jews share ethnic origins, those origins are significantly different from the majority populations they lived among.

              To take one example, if you look at pre-WWII Poland you find that about 10% of the population was Jewish. But the non-Jewish residents did not generally consider the Jews to be “Poles.” In fact, they were quite hostile. Jews practiced different occupations, obviously had a different religion, even to a large degree spoke a different language. Sounds sort of ethnic to me.

              I’m reminded of a story a former professor told when I went to a college reunion a few years ago. He was originally from a small southern town, and had gotten married to a woman from a decidedly different background. Not long after the wedding they went to his home town to visit his family for a few days. Upon their return he heard her discussing the visit with friends, talking about unfamiliar foods, strange religious practices, and so on. Startled, he thought to himself, “Gee. She’s talking about us as if we were an ethnic group.”

        3. The US government has 5 Race groups:
          Asian, Alaska Native/Native American, Black, Pacific Islander/Hawaii Native, & White.

          In each of those 5 Race groups are hundreds of Ethnic groups.

          BTW: Europeans, Middle Eastern (Arab, Jew, etc.), Hispanic, Latino, and others are Ethnic groups of the White Race.

  11. This reminds me of a lecture at law school in 1987. The lecturer is a current member of the Congressional Black Caucus. I needed to “shut up and accept that only white people can be racist”.

  12. I prefer to look at other people as ‘human’ and don’t really pay much attention to the qualities they were born with including race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender, etc.

    I don’t care what religion you are either, as long as you don’t shove it in my face or attempt to politicize it.

  13. Not sure that White is as much racist as clueless. For example, his comments while on his abbreviated visit to the Holocaust Museum.

    Museum visit

  14. Just to be clear, all four officials reported on in this piece are registered members of the Democratic Party, which the left-leaning Associated Press has chosen not to report.

    1. “White, 33, who like most city officials is a Democrat…”

      1. The article was corrected after people complained that it originally failed to indicate party affiliations.

  15. This is a country where we traditionally go the extra mile to get along with each other despite our various…eccentricities.

    When the Emperor Norton proclaimed himself Emperor of America and began issuing his own currency, other people were amused and generally were friendly to him (I’m sure there were exceptions). Some other country might have simply taken the humorless approach and hanged him.

    So if Americans can be kind and friendly to someone who says he’s an emperor, I’m sure there are ways to be kind and friendly to someone who says they’re a different sex.

    But putting it in terms of legal rights…I can’t really see how that makes sense. There’s the First Amendment right to call yourself what you want, but not a right to force the government and private institutions to accept your self-interpretation.

    Now, if we had a limited government, there would be fewer of these awkward encounters between people’s self-conception and government definitions.

    1. Again I posted in the wrong thread. I meant this for the bathroom thread.

      I blame the weather, and you know who controls the weather…

  16. Antisemitism runs deep in the African American community, and complaining about it just digs it in deeper. I recommend getting a gun and learning how to use it. Talking about human rights and the holocaust has as much effect on such people as licking their boots.

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