Fear Of” Replacement”

It was in August of 2017 that the torch-bearing mob in Charlottesville, Virginia marched and chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

Sines v. Kessler is a civil case growing out of that episode; it was brought against two dozen neo-Nazis and white nationalist groups who organized the 2017 Unite the Right rally. There are nine plaintiffs, including people who were injured when James Alex Fields Jr., a white supremacist, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed Heather Heyer, 32. He injured at least 19 others.

The New York Times had a recent update on those proceedings. The article focused on the testimony of Deborah E. Lipstadt, a renowned Holocaust scholar, who linked the chant to the history of Nazi anti-Semitism.

The plaintiffs, who seek unspecified damages, say they want to show Americans how the chants of the marchers are connected to other forms of racism and have gained a renewed foothold in American politics. Dr. Lipstadt declined to comment for this article — attorneys for the plaintiffs barred her from interviews before her testimony — but in a 48-page report she prepared for the trial, she wrote that “this fear of active replacement by the Jew, derived directly from the historical underpinnings of antisemitism, is a central feature of contemporary antisemitism.”

“Two animuses — racism and antisemitism — come together in the concept of a ‘white genocide’ or ‘white replacement’ theory,” Dr. Lipstadt wrote in the report. “According to adherents of this theory, the Jews’ accomplices or lackeys in this effort are an array of people of color, among them Muslims and African Americans.”

The Right-wingers who marched in Charlottesville were protesting the removal of Confederate monuments. They did so while “wearing and displaying Nazi symbols, waving Confederate flags and chanting slogans associated with the Third Reich.”

But since then, their animating ideology, great replacement theory — the false idea that religious and racial minorities are bent on eradicating white Christians or replacing them in society — has moved from the fringes to the mainstream, Dr. Lipstadt and civil rights groups say.

Replacement theory has joined–and supported– conspiracy theories about voting fraud, about Jewish “globalists,” and warnings of “invasions” by black and brown immigrants.  The theory has been endorsed by Fox News commentators, by Republican members of Congress and–unsurprisingly–by former President Donald Trump, who insisted that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the chaos in Charlottesville. According to the Times, perpetrators of at least three mass shootings since 2017 have expressed belief in replacement theory.

In April, Fox News host Tucker Carlson espoused replacement theory on air. “The left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the third world,” Mr. Carlson said on the broadcast. “That’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

Carlson’s comments have been echoed by Ron Johnson, Republican Senator from Wisconsin, as well as by several Republican members of the House of Representatives, including the odious Matt Gaetz, lending the idea of “replacement” a faux legitimacy.

“There’s this kind of hate laundering that takes place, where fringe ideas move from the margins into the mainstream laundered by pundits, political candidates or even elected officials as if they are some kind of legitimate discourse,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an interview.

 Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism have persisted on both the political right and the far left, and have provided impetus for bigotries targeting other groups.

“When expressions of contempt for one group become normative, it is virtually inevitable that similar hatred will be directed at other groups,” Dr. Lipstadt wrote in “Antisemitism: Here and Now,” her 2019 book about the resurgence of antisemitism in different guises. “Even if anti-Semites were to confine their venom to Jews, the existence of Jew-hatred within a society is an indication that something about the entire society is amiss.”

I keep coming back to that speech in An American President, in which the film’s fictional President describes his opponent as someone who is “not in the least interested in solving your problems–he only wants to make you fear them and tell you who to blame for them.” Those lines are more relevant than ever.

Replacement theory is somewhat more sophisticated than space lasers funded by George Soros, but the intended effect is the same: to make White Christian Americans fear Jews and people of color, and blame them for whatever is going wrong in their lives.


  1. The right-wing jackasses have only hate to explain their pathetic and vacant lives. The marchers hate because they are compelled to back losers. The Confederacy and the Third Reich LOST. They identify with losers because deep inside, they know they are losers too. Isn’t it interesting that these aggrieved, white “Christian” males (mostly) make up the majority of these hate groups. This coincidental attachment to religion also explains why these pathetic wretches have virtually no intellectual capacity to understand the truth and facts.

    The right-wing politicians lack that intellectual capacity too. All they want is power, because they have NO intention of governing to the rule of law, the Constitution or even how they warp their religions to explain away they ineptitude. Incredible.

  2. “Replacement theory has joined–and supported– conspiracy theories…”

    I was spiritually enlightened when I sought my Master’s degree in leadership late in life. I was already writing about propaganda as well. It’s why I revolted from banking when the salespeople took over the financial world. I was good at detecting a con.

    Critical thinking and spiritual awareness are crucial in today’s world because we’ve been under a barrage of propaganda since about the 40s and 50s. It was bad before then, but I think it took on a sinister role in our society after WW2 and the advent of the CIA infiltrating the State Dept and Industry.

    Our shift into consumerism was all about manipulation – mass marketing. Buy, buy, buy….Corporations learned ways of convincing us we needed their product. It was done via our unconscious. It was oppressive and dark. Subliminal.

    The control the oligarchy and state enjoyed since the 50s is wearing off because of the democratization of knowledge. Awareness. Enlightenment. Waking up. It’s a process so it doesn’t happen overnight for everyone.

    History will refer to this time as the Second Enlightenment Period, but as this happens there will be great upheaval and pain.

    It’s amazing to watch COP26 this year in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s the most exclusive climate summit yet. Mass protesting around the world is being filtered out of view by the media. Greta Thunberg wasn’t invited. Barack Obama was sent to give speeches instead. China and Russia ignored it because they can see through the hypocrisy.


  3. “Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism have persisted on both the political right and the far left, and have provided impetus for bigotries targeting other groups.”

    The term “Holocaust” concentrated the centuries of anti-Semitism and determination to destroy Jews and their religion from the face of the earth in Germany; the Nazis provided an organized starting point and fear and hatred allowed it to succeed during Hitler’s reign. The end of Hitler, the Nazis and the European segment of WWII did not end anti-Semitism in Germany or anywhere else in the world.

    Dr. Lipstadt’s statement “this fear of active replacement by the Jew, derived directly from the historical underpinnings of antisemitism, is a central feature of contemporary antisemitism.” is based on thousands of years of these fears and claims. Exactly when is this takeover scheduled to begin?

    The United States has carried out the same concentration of hatred and fear of takeover by Blacks in this country since its beginning and the new Jim Crow laws approved by Trump’s Republican party with the use of violence as exhibited in the Charlottesville, escalated America’s widespread version of a Holocaust against all non-whites by claiming Christianity as their foundation. When is this takeover scheduled to begin? The Democrats haven’t even come to take away their guns yet.

  4. Organized Religion(s) has/have been the cause of so much hatred and violence worldwide ever since the first religion was created by humans.

    This is why so many of us have left the churches we grew up in. I am grateful that many younger people in our country recognize the hateful judge-mental brainwashing and choose to leave while they are young.

  5. I really can’t imagine any of my friends who are Jewish or people of color ever wanting to replace those khakied white boys at the used car lots where they currently work. Nobody wants to step that far backwards in their personal evolution.

  6. “Scapegoats are needed! Without them, what would we losers do?” The haters have no solution to the societal issues that made them losers, other than to “replace” themselves, at the bottom, with others.
    So, they focus their energy on pointing fingers at, and trying to keep the pointees at the bottom. they would do better to mimic things like the Anti-Defamation League, or the NAACP, or NOW- heaven forbid- and
    looking for positive solutions. But hate is so much more fun!
    The hate had been simmering in the dark underbelly of our culture, and then along came the Orange maggot….

  7. Mitch, whenever I (reluctantly) think of that PUSTULE…I remind myself that he’s only a catalyst. He’s like the hot packs people used to put on a ”boil” in order to ”bring it to a head.” Sorry for the disgusting comparison but….it’s true.

  8. Arabs and Jews are both semites ! so, one would have to look at Jewish anti-Semitism if we’re going to talk about Jews. Jews have been persecuted anywhere they’ve settled outside of what was considered their Homeland. Absolutely , there was a huge prejudiced because the Jews worshipped their God which was despised by most of the outside Gentile world. The differences in worship and social segregation was a huge driver oh suspicions and hatred in Pagan religions and the burgeoning Christian religion after the death of Christ. of course since the Jews only worship one God or were essentially monotheistic, the later Christian belief that took root after the death of the Apostles promoted Triune God in Christianity which was definitely not the original belief amongst Christ and his apostles and of course the early Disciples of Christianity. This difference in belief was also used to persecute and ostracize those of the Jewish race.

    Christ definitely taught to love your neighbor, to love God, and to love your enemy, not to take retribution upon ones self. Throughout the Millennia, there was a burgeoning hatred of the Jews because of their differences and perceived wrongdoing. Suspicion allowed countries such as Venice to place Jews into a segregated part of the city, which were of course some of the original, if not the original, ghetto. Religious dogmas about money handling, banking, jewelry precious metals and other things were misinterpreted or purposefully misconstrued. After all, everyone needs a boogeyman to support or coalesce their power in the political and religious realm.

    Those who throughout history used suspicion to consolidate their hold on power , learned that this was a valuable tack. And of course they applied it to other races of people mostly non-white. That’s why the value and humanity of Native Americans, African Americans, Asians and other ethnic groups were considered inferior and dangerous in this country. 3/5 human? And it definitely wasn’t this country alone, because the Germans really got the ideas of this modern form of semitism from America! The beginning of the twentieth century ushered in Eugenics by America , and it was gladly picked up by the German Nazi movement. Tens of thousands of individuals were forcibly sterilized and thousands more were institutionalized because of this Eugenics movement in the United States .

    Civilization as a whole has been careening towards This Global disaster for millennia .humanity is completely impotent concerning this problem. The attempt to eradicate discrimination and racial animus have failed in every part of the globe and every time in history it was attempted. After all, the hatred of one’s fellow man is so ingrained in it’s DNA, you could never extricate that hatred! And, why would they really? It’s worked for hundreds or thousands of years, except we’ve reached a point where it will definitely affect the viability of Life on this planet. All the while most are sleepwalking, race-baiting and flag waving as the world Burns right before their eyes.

    the age of information has not helped humankind 1 iota. Because all it has done is mislead and bamboozle the weak-minded who choose to find truth in untruth .

  9. Two observations from Sheila’s effort this day: (1) I thought Sheila would never get around to the current personification of anti-semitism, but she finally got to Soros in the last paragraph of her effort today, and (2) Todd’s insightful points in re evolving propaganda and mass marketing.

    I recall that I was once talking to a multi-degreed (and I thought liberal) Christian niece and that the subject turned to how Jews were treated in contemporary society. I was shocked at her response when I announced that I wouldn’t hesitate to marry a Jewish woman and she replied: “Well, I wouldn’t!” This from a well-educated daughter whose liberal father held a doctorate and was the principal of a school composed largely of Jewish students. It appears her generally liberal sense of things did not include the possibility of marriage to a Jewish man. I have since ascribed her shocking response to the possible effect of her having been in a minority during her educational upbringing.

    My now deceased older brother married a woman from Tel Aviv, the daughter of a Christian missionary who grew up there in a decided minority status. She told us of her experiences while growing up there in such a role reversal and how she was discriminated against by some of her contemporaries, which only proves that majority rule and its discriminatory handmaiden anywhere can be and is passed down from one generation to another.

    As for Soros, yes he is Jewish and has lots of money and funds some liberal initiatives; but non-Jewish zillionaires, who have lots of money and fund some liberal initiatives do not suffer the same PR fate – and why? Ancient hatred taught from one generation to another. Perhaps we need more sociologists and fewer priests and preachers to join the fray and break the chain of minority hatred since, if there is such a thing as race, there is only one – the human race.

  10. I turn 70 today. When I leave this earth, I hope someone replaces me who is a person that loves diversity and really knows how to love others. Who knows? Maybe that person will be Jewish. That’s okay with me.

    Having said that, I have never forgotten that Jesus really was a Jewish prophet. I remain of the belief that anti-Semitism arose from the belief that the Jewish authorities arranged for Jesus to be crucified. And then later anti-Semitism was fueled by the belief that usury(interest on a loan) was sinful and the simple fact that many Jews were more skilled at business than their Christian peers. I note that many Jewish people are now skilled musicians and artists. Many times a Jewish tune has turned into an ear worm in my head! There is much that Jewish people have to teach us from the Torah and their Midrash.

    I am saddened by the continued fear and ignorance that poisons us. It is my prayer on this my 70th birthday that over time the human race will evolve towards more global cooperation, a world that is much more child centered, and a human race that develops a deep reverence for life in all its forms. ( well maybe not mosquitoes)

  11. Sheila, you suggest that some on the “far left” are anti-Semitic. I don’t understand this comment. I can imagine–sadly–that there are bigots in every segment of society, of course. (I am glad, by the way, that our Canadian classrooms include topics like multiculturalism and inclusion so that we can reduce the size of these groups across the coming generations.) But, I don’t understand why people of the “far left” would be more likely to be anti-Semitic. It feels to me like the farther left the group, the more egalitarian and socially accepting they’d be. Is there some history I am missing, perhaps?

  12. John,

    ” the farther left the group, the more egalitarian and socially accepting they’d be.” You must have missed the “Squad” voting against the infrastructure bill….

  13. Lester – The Squad was in favor of the bill but miffed that it was not offered in tandem with the other bill as promised and voted no on principle only – and in my opinion only after they knew 13 Republicans would be voting for the bill, thus assuring its passage. There will probably be differences in opinion and voting in the future within the ranks of our party, but we are the party of the Big Ten, not robots, and will govern effectively.

  14. These United States, the union part being aspirational and not yet achieved, used to be proudly known globally as the first liberal democracy to emerge from the Era of Enlightenment into practical use. Wise people further regarded it as an experiment searching to establish if success at self-rule could actually be sustained. We still don’t know.

    Reflecting that there’s research actively underway now studying a new term, so-called hybrid forms of government, based on not yet resolved tension between liberal democracy and “competitive authoritarianism”. This is one such paper:


    I’m not much of a scholar in governance but I think the issue being studied is eminently visible in the US since Trump, who undoubtedly will go down in history as an inflection point building since Reagan, in the experiment of stable self-government of, by, and for, we the people.

    Now our elections have become competitions between those two schools of thought; can self-rule be stable or does it naturally incite authoritarianism based on the belief among some that they have a right, an entitlement, to rule.

    In other words, will the present competition resolve as a victory in the path of self-government or as a transition to replacement by authoritarianism of some kind.

  15. It’s a short walk from beating people on the field, to beating people in the marketplace, to beating people in elections, to beating people on the streets.

  16. Gerald – with all due respect, given what happened in Va and how critical the bill is for the people in their districts, voting for “principle” over country/constituents is pure ideology….might I remind you once again that, in 2020, 20 loud DEM “progressives” ran in competitive US House elections and each and every one lost and lost by a greater margin than the non-ideological DEM in the same district in 2018. How to set up the GOP for 2022 to take both the House and the Senate (and more governors and state legislatures…and then ’24…

  17. Mea culpa. Big Tent, not Big Ten. Lester, good point. We lost in Virginia due to big money, phony issues and low Democratic turnout, and our party’s apologists have had a field day in ascribing such loss to national level issues or any other issues where there was intra-party friction. My personal gripe is that we did not devote sufficient resources to the down ticket election in 2020 with our emphasis on the presidential race. I thought we could walk and chew gum at the same time. Three more senators and a half dozen representatives might well have put the fracus in our Big Tent in our wake months ago and released our political energy to tackling new initiatives on behalf of all the people. To do? Suck it up and persevere.

  18. I find it rather odd, some bible thumper’s I know are 100% behind the State of Israel. Through some thought process, the Jewish Temple must be re-built (which would entail, tearing down the Muslim Temples, to achieve the Armageddon and the Rapture) the Jewish State would just be a vehicle for this.

    Others see the difference between Antisemitism toward Jews as a whole vs the actions of the political State of Israel.

  19. Ignorance and, especially, fear and a sense of suppression drive a lot of today’s insanity. Unless we address the roots of these, the future is less bright than most of us would wish.

  20. Gerald, VA didn’t have “low Democratic turnout” in Virginia. Democrat McAuliffee had 1,598,603 votes in 2021. In 2017, Democrat Northam had just 1,405,041 votes. Dems turned out, it’s just that R voters turned out even more. And, unlike when Trump was on the ballot, R-leaning suburbanites didn’t scratch from voting Republican when it came to the top of the ticket.

    Lester, don’t you know that the Ds could win West Virginia statewide offices if they could just find an AOC-type to run in that state. By the way, that was sarcasm.

  21. Short notes

    John – Antisemitism is a purposely ambiguous term coined in late 19th Century Germany. It meant and means Jew-hating, not hating Semitic people or Semitic speakers. It was an attempt to say “it’s not Jew-hating, or religious – no we aren’t those people”. That is just what the term means, no matter what others pretend with flawed etymology.

    Robin – Welcome to the world of us septuagenarians – As a note, Jewish presence in the business world and banking for the past millennium is in a large part due to their being excluded from everything else, not necessarily their being “better at it”, although they did have some advantages as a diaspora population.

    Lester, Paul – you both miss one big factor in the VA election – McAuliffee was a lousy candidate.

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