Prominent alt-right leader and white nationalist Richard Spencer told Israelis during a televised Wednesday evening interview that as a “white Zionist,” he deserves their respect.
Asked on Channel 2 news how he thought Jews should feel watching the far-right protest in Charlottesville on Friday where attendees chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Spencer justified the demonstrators’ rhetoric, saying that “Jews are vastly over-represented in… ‘the establishment,’ that is, Ivy League educated people who really determine policy.”
He argued that the white nationalists at the demonstration protesting the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee were merely venting their frustration over “being dispossessed.”
Channel 2 anchor Dany Cushmaro attempted to push Spencer on some of the anti-Semitic rhetoric being espoused by his movement, but the altright.com editor responded that he deserved the respect of Israelis.
“As someone who understands your identity…and the experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogue feelings about whites,” he said.
“You could say that I am a white Zionist in the sense that I care about my people. I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you want a secure homeland in Israel,” Spencer said.
The comparison saw no follow-up questions by Cushmaro, and Spencer went on to brag about his movement’s growth during the Trump era.
“[US President Donald] Trump and the alt-right movement are symptoms of a greater cause,” he said. “That is the demographic dispossession of white people in the United States and around the world.”
On Monday, Trump condemned white supremacists, including the 20-year-old who rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters killing one. But on Tuesday he doubled down on a statement he made immediately after the rally, telling reporters that “both sides were to blame” for the violence that unfolded at a neo-Nazi rally.
Trump’s depiction of the counter-protesters is similar to the narrative of victimization that has come from white nationalists since the bloody demonstration.
On Monday, Spencer told the Times of Israel that he found comfort in Trump’s initial blaming of “many sides” for the melee. “I think in his gut he knows that we are not the ones aggressing,” he said then.
Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.