JOHN DERBYSHIRE Opposes House Anti-Semitism Bill—Asks “What About Anti-Gentilism?”
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act, giving the federal Department of Education the power to cut off funding to schools and colleges that tolerate “anti-Semitism”—as defined in the Act.

From the account given in the Washington Post, it seems that anti-Zionism could count as anti-Semitism under the law [House passes Antisemitism bill over complaints from First Amendment advocates, by Abigail Hauslohner, May 4, 2024].

This stuff soon gets knotty. Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism: Is there really any difference?

There sure is. Anti-Zionism has two main divisions:

Those two branches both subdivide.

A Gentile anti-Zionist may be an anti-Semite who doesn’t like seeing Jews get their way in anything; or he may have no issue with Jews per se—may even be a philosemite and a friend of Israel—but can’t see why we, the United States, should have any official policy of support towards a small country six thousand miles away.

Thus on April 23rd, a week before the House passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act, the House and Senate both passed a spending bill authorizing, among much else,

About $26 billion for supporting Israel and providing humanitarian relief for people in Gaza. About $4 billion of that would be dedicated to replenishing Israel’s missile defense systems. More than $9 billion of the total would go toward humanitarian assistance in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war.

A look at what’s in the $95 billion foreign aid package passed by Congress, AP, April 23, 2024

An American nationalist, even a well-wisher of Israel, might call that pointless governmental extravagance. He might ask:

Aren’t there enough wealthy Jews in the world to pony up $4 billion for Israel’s defense? And there are surely enough wealthy Arabs to keep the welfare queens of Gaza fed, clothed, and sheltered. Why should American taxpayers be involved?

Jewish anti-Zionists divide into the religious and the secular.

Religious Jewish anti-Zionists belong to a splinter sect of Orthodox Judaism called Neturei Karta. They believe it goes against God’s will to establish a Jewish state until the Messiah arrives—which, according to them, he so far hasn’t. Neturei Karta has, the ADL tells us, ”a strong base of support in the U.S.”

Secular Jewish anti-Zionists are also numerous, and surprisingly fierce in their hostility to Israel. Any time I wish Israel well, I get incoming emails starting with something like: ”I’m an ethnic Jew, but …,” then heading off into some heated rhetoric about the wickedness of the Israeli government and those crazy settlers.

For the most thorough exposition of secular Jewish anti-Zionism I refer you to the essays of Ron Unz. (I’ve been assuming that George Soros is another case; but reading his Wikipedia page just now to confirm, it’s not at all clear.)

So there are some fine distinctions to be made here. How would those fine distinctions be dealt with by our federal Department of Education under this proposed new law?

How do you think? How do the seat-warmers of our federal bureaucracy deal with any complex issue?

With about as much finesse and thoughtful consideration as the proverbial monkey trying to get intimate with a football, that’s how.

(By the way: What happened to conservatives wanting to get rid of the Department of Education? The damn thing is no use. Does Donald Trump have any stated policy on this?)

Sorry: back to the anti-Anti-Semitism bill. It is of course not law yet until the Senate votes and the president signs.

The first is not impossible: the House passed the bill on a vote of 320-91. Of that healthy 320 majority, 133 were Democrats. As to the president signing it, that will depend on exactly how terrified he is of Muslim voters in Michigan and Minnesota.

Where do I stand on this? 

I’m against the Anti-Semitism bill. As a legislative matter, I’m anti-anti-Anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism’s not nice, but it’s a point of view of the kind that is bound to exist at some level in a multiethnic society. It’s entitled to free expression, or else it will only fester in silence.

And what about anti-Gentilism? When, four or five generations ago, great numbers of East European Jews migrated to the U.S.A. and Britain, they brought with them the old ghetto hostility towards the brutish, drunken goy. Some of that survived down to our own time; in the Borat movies of Sacha Baron Cohen, for example.

Stirred by the Civil Rights movement and the great Thought Revolution of the 1960s, some of that anti-Gentilism morphed into anti-whitism. It was a Jew, Susan Sontag, who told us in 1967 that ”the white race is the cancer of human history” [Partisan Review, Winter 1967, p. 51-58].

Given that Ms. Sontag was as white as I am, what should we make of her usage of the word ”white” there?

Is it unreasonable to suppose that it is just lazy talk for ”Gentile”?

And so to the present. A few weeks ago everybody—including—was passing comment on a new book titled White Rural Rage, which according to the Amazon blurb warns its readers about the ”existential threat” posed to the USA by angry rednecks.

The book’s two co-authors are named… what? Can you guess? O’Flanagan and MacGregor? Cholmondely and Featherstonehaugh? No; they are Schaller [Tweet him] and Waldman [Tweet him].


What is really an existential threat to the U.S.A. is the Great Replacement policy being energetically carried out by the current administration. Key movers of the policy are Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, both Jewish.

Is it really far-fetched to see anti-whiteness as being in direct line of descent from ghetto anti-Gentilism?

My very strong impression from surveying current social and political discourse in the Western world is not that there are too many things our laws permit us to talk about, but that there are way too many things we’re not supposed to talk about.

So again: concerning this bill the House passed last week, put me down as against it—as anti-anti-Anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism, anti-Gentilism, anti-whitism, … I’m with Mao Tse-tung here: 百 花 齊 放, 百 家 爭 鳴  (Băihuā qífàng, băijiā zhēngmíng)—”Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.”

A footnote to the notion of anti-Gentilism:

Back in 1985, writing in National Review, the late Joe Sobran reminded us that where negativity between minorities and the majority in a multi-ethnic society is concerned, the negativity can go both ways.

I’ll just give you a sample from his article—it was the cover story, occasioned by the Bernard Goetz incident in which a white man with an unlicensed handgun resisted four black muggers armed with screwdrivers. I’ve actually lifted it from Chapter 5 of Peter Brimelow’s book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, where Peter works over the same territory.

Current American political language, Sobran said,

…abounds in words for the hostility of the native for the alien, the majority for the minority, the respectable for the marginal, white for black, Christian for Jew, and so forth. We have prejudice, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, nativism, xenophobia, bias, discrimination and so forth. But these words are themselves prejudicial: They sum up, one-sidedly, a vast range of sentiment and behavior without admitting reciprocal moral realities: the hostility of Jew for Christian, black for white, marginal for respectable, minority for majority, alien for native, abnormal for normal…

 …If we can sum up the worst attitudes of one side in the term ”Nativism,” then we ought to have some such term as ”Alienism” (with apologies to the psychiatric profession) to sum up those of the other.

The Natives Are Restless, by Joseph Sobran, National Review, February 22, 1985

(The word ”alienist,” I should explain for listeners who weren’t around in 1985, is an old term for ”psychiatrist”)

There’s more to be said, of course. There is for example the power balance: Which party most likely has the power to push the other party around? Of course, it’s the one with the most numbers—the majority.

That gives minorities a moral claim of sorts on their alienism that majorities can’t claim for their nativism, xenophobia, etc. That moral claim can then generate irrational guilt in the majority. I mean, it would only be rational guilt if they actually did push the minority around.

Somewhere down this road there’s an explanation for that weirdest of all social pathologies, white anti-whitism.

All that aside, Sobran was right to point out that ethnic negativity works in both directions, and needs more of a vocabulary than it had in 1985… or yet has.


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

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